San Antonio's controversial law ordinance mandating that employers pay sick leave to full time employees, if it is allowed to take effect August 1 despite a lawsuit seeking to block it, will also cover illegal immigrants, a committee that is fine tuning the law has decided, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
"All employees performing 80 hours of work within the City limits of San Antonio are covered under the PSL (Paid Sick Leave) ordinance, regardless of immigration status," the latest amendments to the ordinance states.
Labor union and activist groups packed the meeting room where the Citizens Committee on Paid Sick Leave gathered to fine tune the law, which is being challenged in court by a coalition of more than a dozen business groups, which claim is violates state laws which forbid local governments from setting wage levels.
But Jesus Garcia of the Texas Organizing Project, says paid sick leave used to be a routine benefit, but it has faded as private sector labor unions have lost power and influence.
"Through the years, people have forgotten about it, and they don't implement them in their work force," he said of paid sick leave.
The ordinance requires all employers with 15 or more employees to provide up to eight days of paid sick leave for full time workers.
The committee also agreed to a 'phase in' period, in which no fines will be handed out to violators until April 1 of 2020 if the law does take effect in two weeks. The committee also agreed to a major concern of small employers, and said if a complaint is received, the city will only be allowed to examine documents specifically relating to that employee. Companies had been worred that inspections sparked by worker complaints would be far ranging, and could subject them to additional expense and examination.
The committee also said that employees cannot be disciplined by the employer for filing a complaint, which can be filed on line.
Other tweaks to the law:
Family members of the owner are not considered employees for the purpose of the sick leave ordinance and will not be counted in the '15 or more' rule governing who is covered by the law.
An emplyer can use any type of paid time off, and doesn't specifically have to restrict the time off to sick days, to be in compliance with the law.
The '15 or more emloyees' rule will cover a company's total staffing, excluding relatives of the employer, at any time during the preceding year. That means a company that ramps up its full time employees ahead of a busy season, like the Christmas holidays, would be covered under the law if at any time its total full time employee count exceeds 15.
Employers can require verification, like a doctor's note...if the employee takes three consecutive days of paid sick leave.
Workers who leave the company will not be required to be paid for their unused sick leave.
An employee can become eligible to receive paid sick leave after accruing 80 hours of full time work at a firm. The committee also discussed what will be considered as 'probationary time' when calculating hours worked for new hires.