Several city governments across Texas have interfered with the relationship between employers and employees by passing ordinances forcing businesses to provide paid sick leave as a benefit. City councils in Austin (Austin, Texas), Dallas (Dallas, Texas), and San Antonio (San Antonio, Texas) have each passed ordinances to this effect. Earlier this month, San Antonio even updated its ordinance to try to keep it out of the courts (San Antonio, Texas 2018; 2019).
This intrusion has been especially harmful to small business owners, who rarely have accountants, attorneys, or human resources managers to help them navigate through a jumbled mix of local labor law regulations. Many small business owners already strive to offer good benefits packages to their employees and are not opposed to paid sick leave. However, they fear that mandated paid sick leave ordinances would require them to shuffle around dollars and benefits already promised to their employees just to comply with one local law.
In Their Own Words: Small Business Owners Speak of Paid Sick Leave (PSL) Problems
Lisa Fullerton, President and CEO of A Novel Idea, LLC In another testimony before State Affairs, Lisa Fullerton said, “I have been in business in the city of San Antonio for 19 years, and I am in a highly volatile, high burnout industry. We’re in the quick-serve restaurant business. I believe the reason for our longevity is that we have a benefits package that we have created over time that is generous and makes us distinctly different from our peers”
Louis Barrios, president and CEO of Los Barrios Enterprises Louis Barrios believes that the restaurant industry would be the most negatively affected by paid sick leave ordinances. A restaurant owner himself in San Antonio—as well as the CEO and president of Los Barrios Enterprises— Barrios stated that he has a great executive team to help his business navigate these ordinances. However, he contrasted the difference with smaller establishments, saying, “I don’t even know how they made it this far” (Biediger). According to Barrios, “When you place these burdens on small mom-and-pop restaurants, more than likely, they will go bankrupt or the owners will be doing that much more work.”
Business owners across the state concur that mandated sick leave policies obstruct their companies’ operations and impede their relationships with their employees. Texas employers want to provide good benefits for the people who work for them. However, their ability to do so is hindered when government steps in with across the-board mandates that fail to take into account the needs of individual employers and employees. The best thing for these business owners and their employees is for government to step aside and allow them to make these decisions for themselves.
The Houston Chronicle, Chris Thomlanson's article found at https://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/columnists/tomlinson/article/San-Antonio-sick-leave-ordinance-a-slap-in-14501690.php states, "For a lesson on how to scare away businesses, look no further than San Antonio’s paid sick leave ordinance and the political machinations surrounding it."
Council members voted 8-3 last week to require all businesses that operate in the city to provide 56 hours of paid sick time to all employees, full-time and part-time, after 90 days of employment. This one-size-fits-all approach reflects the council’s ignorance of how businesses work."
San Antonio's measure is expected to take effect Dec 1st while the council worked with local business owners.
Please see the full Watson Texas Public Policy Foundation Policy Perspective HERE.