AUSTIN, Texas – Following through on a Labor Day goal, Austin leaders will now require all private employers to provide paid sick leave for their employees.
This is the first time a policy mandating paid sick time has been implemented in Texas.
Supporters came out by the hundreds at Austin City Council on Thursday night bringing some big names in Texas politics. Democrat Wendy Davis joined supporters speaking in favor of the policy.
Austin is also the first city in the entire South to have an ordinance like this. The policy requires companies to set aside one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours an employee works.
Under the paid sick time umbrella, employees can take off work to care for themselves, family, or anyone else seen as equivalent to a family member.
Businesses with 15 employees or less can earn up to six paid sick days each year. Companies with more than 15 employees can earn up to eight days per year.
Advocates say this is a big step forward.
"We wanted to hear the business community's concerns, and particularly be supportive of small businesses. I think that the compromise ordinance is one that works for workers and for businesses," said Laura Rosen with Center for Public Policy Priorities.
The Austin Chamber of Commerce, Austin Independent Business Alliance and Texas Association of Business opposed the ordinance.
The rules do not apply to government entities, which employ more than 100,000 people in Austin.
The ordinance takes effect Oct. 1, 2018.