Small business owners have cause for alarm, as the Austin City Council is pushing for a mandatory paid sick leave ordinance by February.
Austin’s city council passed a resolution to initiate a public comment period over enacting an ordinance that would allow all employees in the city to earn paid sick days, according to Weatherford Democrat. The ordinance could be adopted as early as February, and would affect nearly 37 percent of the city’s workforce, or 223,000 employees, who currently aren’t offered paid sick days.
Should the ordinance win approval, Austin would join the other 40 cities in the United States that have similar earned sick leave policies. However, passing paid sick-leave ordinances is hardly met without opposition, and there will be a push for legislation preemptively preventing a mandatory sick leave ordinance.
“Certainly here in Texas, we will be pursuing preemptive legislation,” said NFIB/Texas Executive Director Will Newton about the mandatory sick leave ordinance. “It’ll be a priority,” he confirmed.
Over the 2018 legislative session, many paid sick leave bills were proposed, and NFIB opposed every one, according to NFIB Legislative Director Annie Spilman. “It doesn’t fit for small business,” Spilman said.
Mandatory sick leave measures, like the one proposed in Austin, hinders competition and increases costs for small business owners. It also puts owners in a difficult position, having to decide whether to cut hours or benefits to workers in order to comply with the mandatory paid sick time.
“As with any mandate from government, business owners get very upset by them,” Newton told the Weatherford Democrat. “It makes it harder to work with your employees.”