State appeals court temporarily blocks Austin’s paid sick leave ordinance

Work Strong Austin holds on Feb. 15, ahead of City Council's vote to approve a paid sick leave policy in Austin.

Work Strong Austin holds on Feb. 15, ahead of City Council's vote to approve a paid sick leave policy in Austin.

By Emma Platoff

Amid a legal challenge from a slate of powerful business-aligned groups, the city of Austin’s ordinance requiring employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave has been temporarily blocked from going into effect.


The city voted in February to allow workers at most private Austin businesses to accrue up to 64 hours of paid sick leave annually. But the measure quickly drew opposition from local and state leaders, including a lawsuit filed in April by the right-leaning Texas Public Policy Foundation claiming that the city measure violates the Texas Minimum Wage Act.


An Austin-based state appeals court ruled Friday to temporarily block the ordinance from going into effect while other parts of the case are litigated. The ordinance had been set to take effect Oct. 1.


“Without this stay, Austin business owners would be forced to incur significant costs implementing the requirements of the ordinance while its legality was in serious doubt,” said Robert Henneke, general counsel and litigation director for TPPF’s Center for the American Future.


Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who has lent support to the lawsuit, also praised the news, saying the issue of minimum wage is “entrusted by the Texas Constitution solely to the Texas Legislature.”


The news comes a day after San Antonio became the second city in Texas to passsuch a measure at the local level. Even at that vote, council members acknowledged how unlikely the city’s ordinance — slated to go into effect Jan. 1, 2019 — was to actually take effect, given challenges from the courts and the Legislature. Dozens of Republican lawmakers have lined up against local paid sick leave ordinances.


“I believe this is dead on arrival in Austin,” San Antonio City Councilman Manny Pelaez, a lawyer who has worked on employment issues, said at the vote on Thursday.







Reporting is provided as part of Community Impact Newspaper’s partnership with The Texas Tribune


MOST RECENT

The new 35-story building overlooks Lady Bird Lake and Shoal Creek. (Trent Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Workers celebrate topping out of Austin 'sailboat building' concrete structure

Workers who contribute to the construction of the Block 185 building celebrated topping off the structure, a big milestone for the development project that began in 2019.

A system to identify at-risk Austin Police Department employees has not been effective. (Maggie Quinlan/Community Impact Newspaper)
Audit finds Austin police system to flag at-risk officers is failing

Austin's city auditor and police chief agree the police department's computer program to identify at-risk officers is not fulfilling its mission.

A rise in COVID-19 cases has Travis County back in stage 4. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Austin reverts to Stage 4 guidelines with rising delta variant cases

As delta variant COVID -19 cases are sending more young people to local ICUs, The Austin-Travis County Health Authority has moved the area back to guidelines that require masks indoors.

Opening day at Q2 Stadium
US men’s soccer team to visit Q2 Stadium this fall

The U.S. men's national team will host Jamaica for a FIFA World Cup qualifier game on Oct. 7.

Capital Metro is hosting a series of virtual meetings to hear feedback from the community on the latest Project Connect designs. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Capital Metro seeks community input on latest Project Connect design

Want to have your voice heard about Project Connect? Tune in to the upcoming virtual meetings.

Leander Marketplace PUD would be located at the northeast corner of Hero Way and US 183. (Screenshot courtesy city of Leander)
Leander eyes development with restaurants, retail; Bin Drop opens in New Braunfels and more top Central Texas news

Read the top business and community news from the past week from the Central Texas area.

Dozens of Austin residents spoke virtually and in person July 22 to share their thoughts on the city's proposed fiscal year 2021-22 budget. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Police funding again takes center stage in public hearing on Austin's proposed FY 2021-22 budget

Dozens of city residents calling into or appearing at City Hall on July 22 shared their thoughts about policing and the city's spending plan.

Mortgage purchase applications are down year over year, but the Austin housing market remains hot. (Benton Graham/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin housing market still hot but showing signs of slowing down

Experts say that a decrease in mortgage purchase applications points to “a reversion back to norm” in the Austin housing market.

Peter Lake (left), chair of the Public Utility Commission of Texas, and Brad Jones, interim president and CEO of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, provided an update on state regulators' electric grid redesign efforts in Austin on July 22. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Regulators: Texas electric grid prepared for potentially record-breaking demand next week; 'once-in-a-generation reforms' underway

The heads of the agencies in charge of the Texas electric grid met in Austin on July 22 to provide updates on their grid reform efforts.

Z'Tejas margarita
Where to celebrate National Tequila Day this year around Austin

From mezcal bars to frozen margarita specials, here is a list of places to celebrate National Tequila Day on July 24.

Photo of men at a restaurant
New American restaurant 1417 launches on South First, plus more openings in South Austin

The bistro comes from the team behind downtown French gastropub Hopfield's.