Effective August 1, employers with more than five employees working in the City of San Antonio must provide to all such employees paid sick leave (“PSL”) of up to 64 hours per year (for employers with more than 15 employees) or 48 hours (for employers with 15 or fewer employees) for a variety of reasons related to themselves or family members; employers with five or fewer employees are not required to comply with the PSL ordinance until August 1, 2021.
The requirement to provide PSL includes both full-time and part-time employees, as well as those who are paid by the hour or otherwise “exempt” within the meaning of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Employees must be provided with a monthly statement of available PSL, and they must be notified of the availability of PSL through any employee handbook provided to employees and through the posting of a poster prepared by the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District (“Metro Health”), which is responsible for enforcement of the ordinance. Metro Health has created a page on its website related to the PSL ordinance, which includes links to, among other things, the required poster and “Frequently Asked Questions.”
Following the lead of business groups who filed a lawsuit last year to successfully prevent the City of Austin’s PSL ordinance from going into effect, various business groups and staffing agencies filed suit in San Antonio on Monday, July 15, alleging, among other things, that the ordinance is preempted by the Texas Minimum Wage Act and unconstitutional and asking that the Court first enter an injunction prohibiting the ordinance from going into effect and, ultimately, find that the ordinance is unenforceable. A hearing to determine whether a temporary injunction should be entered by the Court will be held on July 24. The case involving the City of Austin’s PSL ordinance is currently pending before the Supreme Court of Texas, which should decide whether or not to hear that case in coming months. A similar ordinance was also passed by the City of Dallas soon after San Antonio’s PSL ordinance passed.
For those employers with employees in San Antonio and/or Dallas, efforts to comply with the August 1 deadline should continue, as there is insufficient time for the Supreme Court to (possibly) decide to hear the case involving the City of Austin’s PSL ordinance and make a decision on the case. Absent an injunction by a Court in the lawsuit filed in San Antonio, employers with San Antonio employees will be required to comply with the ordinance beginning August 1, and employers with employees in Dallas should be prepared to comply with the upcoming deadline regardless of what happens in San Antonio, unless a similar lawsuit is filed in Dallas or the City Council in Dallas votes to delay the effective date.
Information regarding general PSL requirements was provided in a post on our Labor & Employment Law Blog of August 29, 2018. Since that time, additional information regarding interpretation of the San Antonio PSL ordinance has been provided by Metro Health, which should be helpful to those employers preparing to meet the upcoming deadline.