AG Paxton Issues Statement After Court Ruling Blocks City of Austin’s Unlawful Sick Leave Ordinance

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Friday, August 17, 2018 – Austin

Attorney General Ken Paxton today issued the following statement after the Court of Appeals for the 3rd District of Texas entered an order enjoining the city of Austin’s unlawful paid sick leave ordinance pending appeal. 

“The minimum amount of compensation established for workers, including the minimum amount of paid time off, is a decision entrusted by the Texas Constitution solely to the Texas Legislature,” Attorney General Paxton said. “I’m confident that an appeals court will recognize that the law expressly preempts cities from passing a different law simply because they disagree with the judgment of our state’s elected representatives.”

Attorney General Paxton intervened in a lawsuit filed by the Texas Association of Business, National Federation of Independent Business, American Staffing Association, LeadingEdge Personnel, Staff Force, HT Staffing, and Burnett Staffing Specialists against city of Austin’s sick leave ordinance. Austin is the first Texas city to pass such a law. The ordinance is scheduled to take effect on October 1.

When the Legislature enacted the Texas Minimum Wage Act, it intended to set a single, uniform policy for the entire state. The policy it set made no mention whatsoever of requiring employers to provide paid time off from work. 

Approved by the Austin City Council in February, the sick leave ordinance broadly applies to a variety of employers – including companies, nonprofits, individual households, churches and charitable foundations. It mandates that small businesses with 15 or fewer employees provide workers with up to six days of paid sick leave per year. All other private employers are required to allow up to 64 hours of paid sick leave.