There’s paid sick leave turbulence in the Lone Star State. Austin passed its PSL ordinance in February, the first PSL law in the South. Last month, PSL advocates in San Antonio submitted signatures to support their effort to have voters decide in November whether to enact a PSL ordinance. And this week, PSL advocates in Dallas have submitted signatures in support of a similar November ballot initiative there.
PSL opponents have been busy as well. In April, a cadre of business interests sued to enjoin the implementation of the Austin ordinance, which is effective in October. It claims the ordinance violates the state constitution and is preempted by the Texas Minimum Wage Law which requires employers to pay the federal minimum wage under the FLSA and does not require employers to pay for time not worked as the Austin PSL ordinance does. The State of Texas has intervened in support of the minimum wage argument. PSL advocates have intervened to defend the ordinance.
Beyond that, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has been vocal in his displeasure with local PSL laws (see here), raising the possibility that if the Austin ordinance survives the litigation, the next threat to its existence may be a preemption law. Texas preemption laws have recently banned local ride-share regulations, fracking bans and sanctuary cities.
The first PSL ordinance in the South, two ballot initiatives, a PSL litigation cloud , and a possible preemption law combine to create PSL turbulence in Texas.