Austin Local News
Challenges and changes to ATX proposed Paid Sick Leave mandate
Part of Austin Councilmember Greg Casar's paid sick leave pitch is dozens of other cities and even states have already passed similar ordinances, but fellow Councilmember Jimmy Flannigan says Casar's proposal reaches much further than any in those cities and states and wants to see that changed.
So Flannigan formed an amendment to reel in Casar's version, and match it up to "successful" ordinances. The amendment introduced makes it so businesses with up to five employees still have to offer sick days, but doesn't have to pay for them.
As Austin is a start-up mecca, his amendment also gives new companies a delayed enforcement period.
And by his staff's math it looked like part-time employees who worked 20 hours a week, Flannigan explained, would accrue more hours of paid sick time than full-time employees. So he want's a tiered system in place to even things out.
Flannigan also makes it so labor union's can negotiate around such a mandate.
While proponents would celebrate if council passed the mandate, studies from one of the cities Casar frequently mentions show show it could force small businesses to slash other costs:
Including things like bonuses and pay raises. A University of Washington study in Seattle where a sick pay ordinance has been on the books for about six years, reported 3% of businesses moved away and took employees with them. Consumers have ended up paying more due to roughly
8% of employers rolling their new costs downward to customers. This is a mandate for the private sector, but the Austin Chamber of Commerce believes the public sector will find itself mired in a host of new costs as well. Combining the City of Austin, Travis County, and Austin school district, the Chamber estimates an additional $9.5-million in expenses.