Texas’ top lawyer is backing an effort to undo Austin’s new mandate that requires all private employers to provide paid sick leave to employees.
In a plea of intervention filed Monday by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and his team, Paxton is essentially trying to join a lawsuit filed last month. If successful, Texas will fight Austin’s new mandate alongside the following plaintiffs: Texas Public Policy Foundation, Texas Association of Business, National Federation of Business, American Staffing Association and staffing companies Leading Edge Personnel Ltd., Staff Force Inc., HT Staffing Ltd. and The Burnett Companies Consolidated Inc.
Paxton argues that the state must ensure cities obey the Minimum Wage Act, which he said “preempts all other wage laws in Texas.”
“Texas is concerned that the city of Austin’s sick leave ordinance unlawfully regulates private employee wages in violation of Texas law,” Paxton’s filing states.
Under Austin’s law, passed in February, private-sector employees get one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. The ordinance applies to all private-sector employees, except independent contractors, who work at least 80 hours in a calendar year within Austin city limits.
Employers with 16 or more workers must give at least 64 hours of paid sick leave per year, or eight full-time days. Employers with 15 or less workers must give at least 48 hours, or six business days.
The rules go into effect Oct. 1, but micro-businesses that employ five or less employees have until October 2020 to comply. The city is drafting rules and developing procedures for the ordinance over the next few months.
Read more about the sick-leave lawsuit here.
Paxton and the TPPF, a conservative think tank, are also teaming up on a lawsuit to overturn Austin’s rules on short-term rentals.