San Antonio, TX: Paid Sick Leave is On the Way – Maybe

APPLIES TO

All Employers of 5 or more San Antonio Employees

EFFECTIVE

August 1, 2019

QUESTIONS?

Contact HR On-Call

(888) 378-2456

On August 16, 2018, a citizen-driven petition pushed the San Antonio City Council to vote and approve mandatory paid sick leave.  Like Austin, San Antonio’s paid sick leave ordinance will require employers of five or more employees to begin providing paid time off next year, with a staggered effective date for smaller size employers. However, also like Austin, the San Antonio paid sick leave (PSL) ordinance may not go into effect if the Texas legislature passes a state preemption law prohibiting localities from issuing their own PSL laws. Look for updates in 2019. In the meantime, key provisions from the San Antonio paid sick leave (PSL) ordinance include:

  • Effective Date:  Effective date is determined by employee headcount in the preceding 12 months.
    1. Employers of 5+ Employees: August 1, 2019
    2. Employers of 1-4 Employees: August 1, 2021
  • Eligibility:
    1. Covered Employees: Individuals who complete at least 80 hours of work within the city of San Antonio in a calendar year.
    2. Employers: All private employers doing business in the city of San Antonio.
    3. Exemptions: Independent contractors, unpaid interns, public employees, and employees covered by a bona fide collective bargaining agreement are exempt from this requirement.
  • Usage: Employees working for a term of at least one year or longer can begin using PSL after 60 days of employment.  PSL may be used as it is accrued.  Employers may restrict PSL usage to no more than eight days in a year.
  • Leave Amounts:
    1. Rate: One hour of PSL per 30 hours worked in the city of San Antonio.  Accrues in one hour increments, unless the employer chooses a smaller increment.
    2. Cap: Accrual cap is determined by employee headcount in the preceding 12 months:
      1. 1-14 employees: 48 hours per year
      2. 15+ employees: 64 hours per year
    3. Carryover: Employees may carry over any accrued, unused PSL up to the annual cap.  If PSL is frontloaded, no carryover is required.
    4. Frontload: Employers may choose to frontload PSL at the beginning of the year.
    5. Rehire: Employees rehired within six months of employment must be reinstated to their previously accrued and unused leave balance.  Successor employers must allow employees to use accrued and unused leave balances upon acquisition.
  • Recordkeeping and Notice Requirements:
    1. Handbook: If the employer provides an employee handbook, the handbook must notify employees of their rights and remedies under the ordinance.
    2. Employee Notice: Employers must provide a statement showing employees’ available sick leave balance at a frequency no fewer than once per month, electronically or in writing.
    3. Workplace Posting:  If a sign is made available on the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District’s website, employers will be required to post a sign describing the requirements of the Ordinance in a conspicuous location.  The size, content, posting location, and languages the sign must display shall be determined by the Director of the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District.
    4. Recordkeeping: Records regarding PSL must be kept in accordance with 29 C.F.R. § 516(a).
  • Employees’ Notice: Employees must provide notice of PSL usage before their scheduled work hours, unless the need for leave is unforeseeable.  Certification can be required after three consecutive days of absence for unforeseeable use of PSL.

Employers who already offer a paid leave benefit (e.g., vacation or PTO) that employees may use for the same purposes as PSL do not need to provide separate paid sick leave.

While it remains to be seen if the new ordinance will ultimately go into effect, employers should be aware of and begin preparing for the new PSL requirements until an injunction or preemption law is issued.

Action Items

  1. Review the ordinance here.
  2. Prepare for implementation of the new PSL requirements, including having employee handbooks, policies, and payroll practices updated.
  3. Have managers trained on PSL use and notice requirements.
  4. Look for updates in the event the Texas legislature passes a preemption bill.
  5. Subscribers can call our HR On-Call Hotline at (888) 378-2456 for further assistance.

Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser.

© 2018 ManagEase

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