AUSTIN, Texas – The Texas Court of Appeals has reversed Austin’s paid sick leave ordinance, claiming it violates the state’s constitution.

  • Sick time ordinance reversed
  • Court says it violates Texas Minimum Wage Act
  • Worker advocates say sick time helped Texas families

Under the ordinance, businesses were mandated to give employees paid sick time off. The Texas Public Policy Foundation sued the city after the ordinance was passed, claiming it would hurt local businesses’ bottom line.

Attorney General Ken Paxton supported the lawsuit, believing the ordinance is unlawful because it violates the Texas Minimum Wage Act. The court substantiated Paxton’s opinion, upholding a temporary injunction.

In February, the city passed the ordinance after a wide range of support from Austin workers. Employers were required to give employees one hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked.

Ruling Reactions:

A City of Austin spokesperson responded the court’s ruling, saying they will review what options can pursue be in this case moving forward. 

“This Court of Appeals opinion reverses and usurps the ruling of the Austin trial judge, who heard the case, weighed the evidence and ruled in the City’s favor earlier this year. Ensuring workers are able to take time off work when they are sick is simply the right and responsible thing to do, as many cities have already acknowledged. Going forward, the City of Austin will be reviewing our options in this case.”

Worker advocates argue that sick leave is needed for families in Texas. The Workers Defense Project released the following statement regarding the decision:

“Today’s ruling is disappointing, and is the latest in a string of attempts by special interests to take paid sick time away from working families in Texas. Given today’s ruling, it is hardly surprising that a majority of judges involved were soundly defeated at the ballot box in November and will not be returning to office in January. Make no mistake: this was a desperate, final attempt by humiliated judges to side against working families on their way out the door. Moving forward, we are confident this case will prevail on the merits in District Court.”