Paid Sick Leave Consideration in Three Cities Likely Pushed to 2018

In September, I noted the possibility that Austin, TX or Portland, Maine might pass a paid sick leave law this year. It now appears that any action in either city will be a 2018 story. Both are collecting views from the citizenry on such an ordinance

Austin has held two “input sessions” this month and a third scheduled for November 30. The city staff will then submit a recommendation to the City Council for its consideration.

The Portland City Council referred the Earned Paid Sick Time for Workers bill to the Health and Human Services Committee. That Committee reviewed the bill initially at its November 14 meeting. The Committee’s agenda noted that it anticipates holding a public hearing on the bill early next year.

I also noted recently that the Duluth Sick and Safe Time Task Force submitted its recommendation to the Duluth City Council on November 20. The Council is scheduled to have an “open discussion” on that topic on November 30. To move from an “open discussion” to an enacted ordinance by the end of the year would be quite speedy and I anticipate Duluth will be a 2018 story as well.

With decisions on these local ordinances pushed to next year, it is likely Rhode Island will be the one and only PSL law enacted in 2017. This is the fewest number of PSL laws enacted nationwide in the past five calendar years.


Portland, ME and Austin, TX to Consider Paid Sick Leave Bills

Just when I thought, and posted, that Rhode Island and Albuquerque were the only two jurisdictions that might enact a paid sick leave law in 2017, now come Portland, Maine and Austin, Texas to the table.

Labor Day was the kickoff for paid sick leave campaigns in both cities. In Portland, the mayor will present his proposal to the City Council on September 18, according to a news report. The draft ordinance follows the classic structure—an hour accrued for every 30 hours worked, up to six paid days per year.  The packet of information about the bill from the mayor’s office, which includes the proposed ordinance, is here. Earlier this year, the Maine legislature considered and rejected a bill that would have required employers statewide to allow employees to accrue paid sick leave.

In Austin, a City Council member announced that he intends to introduce a paid sick leave bill by the end of the month, according to a news report. The Council member is working on a draft of the ordinance, according to that report.

As I had posted recently, no paid sick leave law have been enacted in 2017. With less than four months left in the year, and four jurisdictions considering PSL bills within those four months, we may yet see at least one 2017 contribution to the PSL patchwork.


For those who have noticed the relationship between a jurisdiction’s “blue” political leanings and its consideration of a paid sick leave bill, Portland and Austin support that connection. Both Maine and Texas voted for President Trump in the November 2016 election. However, Portland was deep, deep blue, with 76% of its voters voting for Secretary Hillary Clinton.  Austin is the county seat of Travis County. That county was deep blue, with Secretary Clinton receiving more than 66% of the vote.