Austin Small Business Owners Encouraged to Speak Up About Paid Leave Impact
(AUSTIN, TEXAS) Feb. 2, 2018 — National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB)/Texas, the state’s leading small business association, is asking small businesses in the Austin area to reach out to the City of Austin City Council regarding the Paid Sick Leave ordinance to be considered this month.
On February 15, 2018 the Austin City Council is scheduled to consider enacting a mandatory Paid Sick Leave policy for all private sector employers regardless of size or number of employees. This proposed ordinance mandates that employers give every employee on the payroll one hour of Paid Sick Leave for every 30 hours worked. The ordinance does not set a limit on accrued time.
The Paid Sick Leave can be used for: the employee’s personal mental or physical illness, preventative treatment, the care for the employee’s relative, or to attend to court ordered action related to certain forms of abuse. The ordinance applies to all employees that work at least 80 hours in a calendar year including employees working through a temporary or employment agency. The ordinance has no provision for reasonable notice to employers regarding the employee’s absence. Failure to fully comply with this ordinance will lead to civil penalties. The ordinance takes effect May 2018.
Those proposing this job killing measure simply don’t understand what it takes to own and operate a for-profit, private business. Many businesses already have a policy for taking care of sick employees either with a written policy or on a case-by-case basis. This measure goes too far in dictating small businesses’ internal policy and interfering with the employer-employee relationship. Make no mistake, smaller “mom and pop,” iconic Austin businesses are being targeted with this ordinance. Larger “big box” national businesses may be able to absorb the cost of a Paid Sick Leave ordinance across their multi-state operations.
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.
“During the 86th Legislative, 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 2017 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 said. “It makes it harder to work with your employees.”
To learn more about the ordinance and what other businesses in Austin are saying about it, visit Austin Independent Business Alliance.
NFIB/Texas has nearly 20,000 dues-paying members representing a cross-section of the state’s economy from agriculture, construction, and manufacturing to wholesale, retail, and services. Additionally, NFIB/Texas membership is 96 percent comprised of businesses who have 40 employees or less and is the largest association advocating for small business in the Capitol.