Texas Supreme Court rejects appeal over Austin paid sick leave ordinance

Talk 1370 Newsroom
June 05, 2020 - 12:07 pm
Sick leave
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AUSTIN (Talk1370.com) -- The City of Austin's attempt to enact a mandatory paid sick leave ordinance has been blocked again, with the Texas Supreme Court declining to hear an appeal from the city - leaving in place a lower-court ruling that found the city's ordinance unconstitutional.

The ordinance, which was passed by City Council in February 2018, called for most private employers to allow workers to accrue 64 hours of paid sick leave per year. The Texas Public Policy Foundation and a group of Austin business owners sued the city over the ordinance in 2018, arguing that it was pre-empted by the Texas Minimum Wage Act, winning a ruling from the Third Court of Appeals in November 2018 that found the ordinance unconstitutional.

"The Texas Supreme Court’s denial of the city of Austin’s appeal leaves undisturbed the Third Court of Appeal’s opinion that the Austin paid sick leave ordinance is unconstitutional because it is preempted by state law," said Robert Henneke, general counsel for the Texas Public Policy Foundation. "Once again, Texas courts are unanimous that cities in Texas lack the lawful power to mandate paid sick leave that interferes with the ability of employers and employees to negotiate wages and benefits. Today’s denial by the Texas Supreme Court is a clear signal that cities across Texas should withdraw these unconstitutional ordinances."

The court did not offer any explanation or reason for its denial of the appeal in its order.

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