AUSTIN - Austin's paid sick leave ordinance was supposed to go into effect October 1, but was blocked in August after business groups filed a lawsuit saying the ordinance violated state law. The matter now resides in Texas's third court of appeals and both the city of Austin and small business owners are anxious to see how this plays out.
Annie Spilman, Director of Texas' National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), says Texas is a business-friendly state but that doesn't mean it's not a worker-friendly state. Spilman adds, "How much regulations can really not just hurt our members prospectively, but can damage the state economy."
Spilman says there are about 20,000 small businesses in the Lone Star State and they employ nearly four million workers, so these businesses cannot afford to fight municipalities in court every time they're trying to add another layer of regulations. They're looking to push the legislature to come up with standards that would apply statewide and could not be circumvented for city ordinances. Spilman explains, "Understand the need to codify into state law that these municipalities cannot expand their scope as regulators."
We reached out to the City of Austin to see why they'd like the ordinance to be on the books and were sent this statement:
“The City looks forward to the expedited resolution of the issues currently before the Third Court of Appeals, and the lifting of that Court’s temporary stay of the City’s ordinance."
San Antonio has a similar ordinance that's slated to go into effect on January 1, 2019.