Member Alert! New Paid Sick Leave Ordinance in San Antonio
August 1st, 2019 the new Paid Sick Leave Ordinance passed by the San Antonio City Council will go into effect for businesses with six or more employees; however for businesses and organizations with five or less employees, the ordinance will become effective on August 1, 2021. We wish to provide our members with information about the ordinance and what it means for your business and employees.
The Paid Sick Leave Ordinance requires employers to provide employees with the ability to accrue and use earned paid sick leave if an employee needs to be absent from work because the employee or the employee’s family member experiences illness, injury, stalking, domestic abuse, sexual assault or otherwise requires medical or health care, including preventative care and mental healthcare.
The Paid Sick Leave Ordinance applies to all employers that pay employees for doing work within the city limits of San Antonio and work 80 or more hours per year.
For thirty (30) hours of time worked an employer must provide one (1) hour of paid sick time up to a yearly cap that is determined by the number of employees a business has.
Up to 15 employees
16 or more employees
Yearly Cap of Earned Paid Sick Time*
*Employers may provide more paid sick leave than the cap but cannot provide less if the employee has worked enough hours to accrue the cap amount.
Earned paid sick leave is available for an employee to use as soon as it is accrued; however, an employer can require a new employee to wait 60 days. An employer must provide earned paid sick leave for an employee’s absence if:
- the employee has available paid sick leave and makes a timely request for use of the paid sick leave before their scheduled work time; if the employee has not accrued enough hours, the employer can allow the employee to take the leave unpaid
- the employee has available paid sick leave and needs to use it for an unforeseen qualified absence
An employer cannot require an employee to find a replacement to cover the hours of paid sick leave; there is a $500 civil penalty for each occurrence.
How the Number of Employees is Calculated
Employers must count all employees who worked for pay in the city of San Antonio 80 or more hours in the preceding 12 months, except family members, to calculate the number of employees to determine the employer size. Although family members are not used to calculate the employer size, the ordinance does require that family members who worked 80 hours or more for pay in the previous 12 months receive paid sick leave as well as other employees.
Paid Sick Leave Time Covers
- The employee's physical or mental illness or injury, preventative medical or health care or health condition; or
- The employee's need to care for a family member's physical or mental illness, preventative medical or health care, injury or health condition; or
- The employee's or their family member's need 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 the employee's family member.
An employer can adopt verification procedures to establish that an employee’s request for paid sick leave meets the requirements to use earned paid sick time for more than three (3) consecutive workdays.
An employer may not adopt verification procedures that would require an employee to explain the nature of the qualifying circumstance when making the request for paid sick leave.
Notice, Record Keeping, & Signage
- An employer needs to maintain records establishing the amount of earned paid sick leave accrued and used by each employee and must provide electronic or written notice on at least a monthly basis to each employee showing the amount of earned paid sick leave they have.
- An employer that provides an employee handbook to its employees must include a notice of an employee’s rights and remedies in that handbook.
- The employer must display a sign (which will be provided by Metro Health) describing the requirements of the paid sick leave ordinance.
If you are a business that provides a paid sick leave or paid time off (PTO) plan to your employees, you may already comply with the requirements of this ordinance as long as your plan provides employees at least as much leave required by the ordinance and allows employees to use leave for all reasons and under the same conditions required by the ordinance. If you accrue paid sick leave or PTO for your paid employees, please note that you are required to allow employees to carry over all their accrued paid sick leave or PTO. Employees who carry over paid sick leave or PTO can accrue additional paid sick leave or PTO at the same rate outlined in this ordinance, but only up to the cap amount (48 or 64 hours) unless the employer’s policy allows for more to be accrued. If you front load all of the paid sick leave or PTO hours for your paid employees, you are not required to allow employees to roll over accrued paid sick leave or PTO.
The City of San Antonio Metropolitan Health District will implement and enforce the new ordinance. You may visit their website to view the full ordinance, review their FAQs, see the dates of the next city hosted info sessions and other resources by clicking on the link below:
If you believe that your business will be negatively impacted by this new ordinance, please contact one of the Government Relations staff members at SAAA. Click here to contact Hector Morales, Director of Government Relations or here to contact Allison Cohen, Government Relations Manager.