Lawsuit Filed to Stop August 1 Effective Date of San Antonio Paid Sick Leave Ordinance
Published: July, 2019
Submission: August, 2019
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UPDATE III: Judge Agrees to Delay San Antonio Paid Sick Leave Ordinance
At a hearing this morning, Judge Sol Casseb entered the Agreed Order submitted by attorneys for the City and the businesses that filed suit regarding their agreement to delay the effective date of the PSL ordinance from August 1 to December 1. Entry of the Agreed Order eliminated the need for a hearing on the businesses’ request for an injunction prohibiting the ordinance from going into effect on August 1 and should, hopefully, allow sufficient time for the Texas Supreme Court to determine whether it will consider the enforceability of the City of Austin’s PSL ordinance, which case is currently pending before the Supreme Court.
UPDATE II: San Antonio Sick Leave To Be Reviewed By Court
It appears that arguments challenging San Antonio’s PSL ordinance may be heard by the Court on Wednesday, July 24. An attorney representing an activist group, the Texas Organizing Project (“TOP”), argued yesterday that it had not been given the required three days’ notice of the emergency hearing seeking approval of the Agreed Order memorializing the agreement between the City of San Antonio and the businesses that filed the lawsuit to delay enforcement of the ordinance until December 1. Based on opposition by TOP, Judge Monique Diaz refused to sign the Agreed Order at the emergency hearing on Tuesday. Reportedly, the Agreed Order will now be heard on Wednesday, July 24. If the Agreed Order is not signed by a judge, the businesses will be able to move forward with their hearing on their request for an injunction prohibiting the ordinance from going into effect.
At this time, absent a Court’s decision to enter the Agreed Order, another agreement between the parties regarding postponement of the effective date of the ordinance or an injunction prohibiting the ordinance from going into effect, the ordinance will go into effect in San Antonio on August 1.
For those employers with employees working in Dallas, it is worth noting that the City of Dallas has made available various materials that may be helpful in preparing for the Dallas PSL ordinance to go into effect on August 1. These materials, which include the required poster, “Frequently Asked Questions” and “Rules for Administering Chapter 20,” are available through the City of Dallas’s website.
UPDATE: San Antonio Delays Paid Sick Leave
Although not reported on the Paid Sick Leave webpage for the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District as of this weekend, it has been widely reported that the City reached an agreement on Friday with the businesses that filed a lawsuit challenging the ordinance to delay the effective date of the Paid Sick Leave ordinance until December 1. The agreement was announced on Friday—the same day on which the Texas Attorney General filed a motion seeking to join the businesses’ lawsuit against the City.By agreeing to delay the effective date of San Antonio’s PSL ordinance, it is hoped that the Texas Supreme Court will reach a decision on whether such ordinances are enforceable, in light of the appeal to that Court regarding the City of Austin’s PSL ordinance.At this time, there is no indication, that the City of Dallas will delay enforcement of its PSL ordinance, which is scheduled to go into effect on August 1. As a result, businesses with employees working within the City of Dallas should continue to plan for that ordinance to go into effect.
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 apage 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 apost 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.
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