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Appeals court temporarily blocks Austin paid sick leave ordinance

August 17, 2018 - 10:36 pm
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AUSTIN (KJCE) -- The City of Austin's paid sick leave ordinance is on hold, following a court ruling Friday.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued a statement Friday night after the Court of Appeals for the 3rd District of Texas temporarily blocked the ordinance pending appeal. It was set to take effect on October 1.

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"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," 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."

Several groups took the City of Austin to court over the ordinance, including the Texas Association of Business, National Federation of Independent Business, American Staffing Association, LeadingEdge Personnel, Staff Force, HT Staffing, and Burnett Staffing Specialists.

A state district judge denied an injunction against the ordinance in June.

Austin is the first Texas city to pass such a law; San Antonio became the second on Thursday. San Antonio's ordinance is set to go into effect January 1, 2019.

Approved by City Council in February, the Austin 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.

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