On August 16, 2018, San Antonio became the second city in the state of Texas to pass a paid sick leave ordinance. Earlier this year, Austin passed a similar law. The San Antonio Earned Paid Sick Time Ordinance will require employers to provide employees with the ability to accrue and use earned paid sick time starting in 2019.
Under the new law, an employer must grant an employee one hour of earned paid sick time for every 30 hours worked. Employees will be permitted to take time off for their own illness, injury, health condition or preventative care or that of a family member. A family member is defined as “an employee’s spouse, child, parent or any other individual related by blood or whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.” Employees may also take the time off to seek medical attention, seek relocation, obtain services of a victim services organization, or participate in legal or court ordered action related to an incident of victimization from domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking involving the employee or employee’s family member.
Earned paid sick time must be accrued starting at the commencement of employment or when the law becomes effective, whichever is later. The earned time must be available as soon as it is accrued, provided that an employer may restrict an employee from using earned paid sick time during the employee’s first 60 days of employment. Employees requesting more than three consecutive work days off may be asked to provide reasonable verification. Employers with more than 15 employees may establish a yearly accrual cap of 64 hours, while employers with 15 or fewer employees may establish a yearly accrual cap of 48 hours. All available earned paid sick time up to the yearly cap must be carried over to the following year.
Employers may not transfer, demote, discharge, suspend, reduce hours, or directly threaten these actions against an employee for requesting or using earned sick time, or for reporting a violation or participating in an administrative proceeding under the law. An employee alleging a violation may file a complaint with the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District within two years from the date of the violation.
Employers are required to provide each employee with a monthly statement showing the employee’s available earned sick time. Employers that provide an employee handbook must provide a notice about the law in their employee handbook. If the Director of the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District makes a poster available in English and any other language about the law, employers will be required to display the poster or posters in a conspicuous location. The ordinance is scheduled to take effect on August 1, 2019 for employers with more than five employees, and on August 1, 2021 for employers with five or fewer employees.