By Sahid Fawaz
Workers in Austin have reason to be optimistic.
“The Austin City Council is going forward with its sick pay ordinance, becoming the first city in Texas as well as the South to have mandatory sick pay. It passed early Friday morning around 12:40 a.m. Council members Ora Houston and Ellen Troxclair voted against it. The ordinance takes effect Oct. 1.
The vote came after four hours of public feedback, and about an hour of debate over amendments. The ordinance says that denying earned sick time to employees “is unjust,’ ‘is detrimental to the health, safety, and welfare of the residents of the City’ and ‘contributes to employee turnover and unemployment, and harms the local economy.’
‘This is going to affect a lot of people in our city that probably are right now coming into work sick and probably serving food on days that they shouldn’t be,’ Mayor Steve Adler said after the vote.
The ordinance will allow Austinites who work for a business with 15 or more employees to earn up to eight paid sick days each year, accruing one hour for every 30 hours worked. Those who work for smaller businesses can earn up to 6 days — but if the business is smaller than 5 people, the ordinance goes into effect in October 2020. Employers will not be allowed to ask for a doctor’s note unless employees miss three straight days of work.”
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