Local Small Biz Owners Speak Out on Impact of that Mandatory Sick Pay Law

Local small business owners are speaking out about the problems thier firms will face under that new city ordinance requiring that they pay sick leave to all of their full time employees, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

Many said they already pay sick leave, and others said they had plans to implement a paid sick leave policy, but what they object to his the heavy-handed language included in the San Antonio statute.

"If any employee even filed a complaint alleging that the company did not pay sick leave, even if it was by accident, the city has subpoena power over all of their records, including their employee records," said Annie Spilman, State Director of the National Federation of Independent Business, which is one of the groups leading the legal challenge to the new San Antonio law, and to an identical law also approved by Austin City Council.

Many small business owners said the compliance portion of the law is far more onerous to them than the sick leave benefit is, some said they will have to hire auditors and attorneys and deal with city bureaucrats rummaging through their financial statements and challenging their policies.  Others said employee manuals will have to be rewritten at significant expense.

Spilman says many small businesses told her they will have to forego pay raises for their employees in 2019, ironically harming the very people that the new ordinance is supposed to benefit.

"The employee may want the pay raise instead of the paid sick leave, but the city has taken that decision out of the employees hands, and out of the businesses' hands."

Spilman says an appeals court is reviewing the Austin ordinance, which is the same as the San Antonio law, and if it or the State Supreme Court decide to throw out the Austin law, that decision will automatically apply to San Antonio's ordinance as well.

Several members of the Legislature have also already vowed to introduce a measure to void all city ordinances covering sick leave pay, on the grounds that the Texas Constitution leaves any intervention into the payment practices of employers up to the state, and not to local governments.

Spilman says the out of state labor unions and activist groups which are attempting to impose 'California style' regulations onto Texas businesses, have already planned the next issue they will circulate petitions to try to impose on local small businesses.

"We know that the next thing they are going to try to do is what is called 'predictive scheduling,' which is, if an employer needs to change a worker's schedule, the employer will have to pay for time not worked."

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