Austin City Council has recently proposed a mandatory paid sick leave ordinance for Austin employers. Paid sick leave ordinances have shown up in many other cities throughout the country, but Austin’s is ground-breaking as it is one of the first that has been proposed in Texas.
It is onerous, as it is poised to have a potentially devastating impact on business, particularly the restaurant industry, which already operates on paper-thin margins. Imposing a mandatory paid sick leave policy will not only have a negative effect on business growth (and survival), it will also limit employee schedule flexibility, which is a key benefit used to attract and retain employees.
To fight this ordinance, we need our members to act. Your participation is critical, as it will take all our voices to make an impact. There will be a vote on this issue on Thursday, February 15, so time is critical.
What you can do now:
• Click here to email your City Council Member and the Mayor. Personal stories have the greatest impact, so be sure to add your concerns about how this ordinance will impact your business.
• Spread the word. Get other restaurant owners involved – whether they are TRA members or not, this is an excellent time to recruit and get everyone on board.
• Attend the Austin City Council meeting on February 15 at 10:00 a.m. at Austin City Hall and sign up to testify on the ordinance.
What you can tell your City Council member:
• A mandatory paid sick leave policy will have devastating effects on an industry with already paper-thin margins. Smaller profit margins will negatively impact growth, the hiring of new employees and expansion opportunities.
• Imposition of a mandatory paid sick leave policy will limit the ability of restaurants to have employee schedule flexibility – a key factor in attracting and retaining restaurant employees.
Additional details about Councilman Greg Casar’s paid sick leave ordinance can be found here. You can see that is broad, sweeping and does not include any type of phase-in period. We have been diligently working behind the scenes with the Mayor, Councilmembers, Chamber of Commerce and others to try and slow this down and work on alternative language, but again, we need Austin and all Texas restaurateurs to get involved. If such an ordinance passes in Austin, it is likely that similar ordinances will pop up across the state in the near future.
Act now! Call Kenneth Besserman, TRA General Counsel at (512) 457-4100 for more information.