City Council to vote on paid sick leave ordinance Feb. 15

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Following a citywide public input process Council Member Greg Casar, Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo, and council members Delia Garza and Ann Kitchen have sponsored a paid sick leave ordinance that would apply to private employers in Austin. The ordinance draft was released Jan. 19. City Council will vote on it Feb. 15.

More than 220,000 Austin workers stand to benefit from such a policy.

Casar’s ordinance requires employers to grant one hour of earned sick time for every 30 hours worked by an employee, with accrual beginning at the start of employment and carrying over from one year to the next.

The draft allows paid sick leave to apply in instances of physical and mental illness or injury, chronic health issues and preventive treatment of either the employee or his or her family members. It also covers absences due to “legal or court-ordered action related to an incident of domestic abuse, sexual assault or stalking involving the employee or employee’s family member.”

Business owners are allowed to instate “reasonable verification procedures” to confirm that an employee’s paid sick leave adheres to the above rules. If businesses already provide paid time off to employees that meet the ordinance’s standards, they will not be required to provide additional paid sick time.

“I have been a part of many democratic processes, but personally, this ordinance is the culmination of one of the most thorough and demanding processes I’ve every participated in,” said Casar, who represents District 4. “I’m grateful for the working families, small-business leaders and advocates who have been engaged in this policy process to ensure no one in Austin has to choose between paying their bills or taking care of themselves or a loved one when they are sick.”

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  1. The reporter states, as a matter of fact that “More than 220,000 Austin workers stand to benefit from such a policy.” This is an example of media bias that the public must regularly endure. Evidently, the editor failed to recognize it. To state that anyone “benefits” from a proposed ordinance where the effect will be to deny workers choices is patently absurd. As the other comment shows, employers and employees mutually decide what compensation is acceptable. If the City mandates one type of compensation, that will diminish choices for employers and employees. Paid leave for ANY use at the discretion of a worker is far more beneficial than paid leave restricted to sickness only. Yet, this proposed mandate will mean reducing or eliminating unrestricted paid leave for paid sick leave. Where no paid leave is offered, the added cost for employers may result in a less hourly wage rate, again denying workers the right to choose what is best for them.

    • Did You Read The Draft?

      You appear to misunderstand the position of this ordinance. A link to the draft is in the article. No retaliation.

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Emma Freer
Emma Freer began covering Central Austin for Community Impact Newspaper in 2017. Her reporting focuses include employment and economic development. She graduated from Columbia Journalism School in 2017.
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