Austin City Council recently passed the Paid Sick Leave Ordinance. Who is subject to, and how employees benefit, is based on a few factors. Implementation of the ordinance is either October 1, 2018 or October 1, 2020, depending on the number of employees you have.
Which businesses are affected?
All businesses that have full-time, part-time, or seasonal employees working within the Austin city limits AND the employee works a minimum of 80 hours a year are subject to the new rules.
Which employees are affected?
As noted above, all full-time, part-time, and seasonal employees working within Austin will benefit from these changes, as long as she or he works at least 80 hours per year. There are exceptions for immediate family members, as described here.
How much paid sick leave is earned?
This is a little more complicated and depends on the size of your company. In all cases, regardless of the size of your company, qualifying employees earn one (1) hour of paid sick leave for every thirty (30) hours of paid work, up to an annual required maximum. In all cases, paid sick leave is accrued as the employee works, and is not held until the end of the year (but may be unavailable to a new employee for a short period of time). Unused paid sick leave can be carried into future years.
Effective October 1, 2018:
If, over the preceding 12 months, your company had more than 15 qualifying employees, the maximum number of paid sick leave hours that can be earned is 64 hours (again, at a rate of one hour for every 30 hours of paid work).
If, over the preceding 12 months, your company had 15 or fewer (but more than 5) qualifying employees the maximum number of paid sick leave hours that can be earned is 48 hours (again, at a rate of one hour for every 30 hours of paid work).
In either case (more or less than 15 employees in the preceding 12 months), the employer can opt to provide more paid sick leave hours but cannot opt to provide less.
Effective October 1, 2020:
If, over the preceding 12 months, your company had 5 or fewer qualifying employees the legislation is effective October 1, 2020. In these cases, the required maximum paid sick leave that can be earned is 48 hours (again, at a rate of one hour for every 30 hours of paid work).
The City of Austin is working on a tracking, reporting, and compliance process. The ordinance can be found here.
If you have questions about the Paid Sick Leave Ordinance, talk to your SCORE mentor. We’re here to help!
About the Author:
Brian Kieley is a mentor in the Austin chapter of SCORE. He has a long career as an executive in payments, customer service, operations, social media, and product development.