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Austin, Texas has broken ground by enacting Texas’s first local paid sick and safe leave law. Austin joins multiple cities across the country in enacting mandatory minimum sick and safe leave requirements for private employers. Approved on Friday, February 16, the law goes into effect on October 1, 2018 and contains the following provisions:

Covered Employers: All employers are covered. For employers with five or less employees, the law takes effect on October 1, 2020.

Eligible Employees: Employees who performs at least 80 hours of work within the City of Austin in a calendar year for an employer are eligible for the new leave.

Leave Reasons: An employee is entitled to leave for:

  • the employee’s physical or mental illness or injury, preventative medical or health care, or health condition;
  • 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 need to seek medical attention or to participate in legal or court-ordered action related to an incident of domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking involving the employee or employee’s family member.

Family Members: Covered family members include an employee’s spouse, child, parent, or any other individual related by blood or whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.

Amount of Leave: An employer with 15 or fewer employees must provide a minimum of 48 hours of leave per year. All other private employers must provide at least 64 hours of leave. Employees accrue leave at the rate of 1 hour for every 30 hours worked.

Certification: An employer can adopt reasonable verification procedures to establish that an employee’s request for earned sick time meets the requirements of the law for a request to use earned sick time for more than three consecutive work days.

Employer Notice: At least monthly, an employer must provide electronically or in writing to each employee a statement showing the amount of the employee’s available earned sick time. An employer must also display a sign describing the requirements of the law in at least English and Spanish in a conspicuous place or places where notices to employees are customarily posted. An employer is not required to post such signage until the City of Austin makes such signage available publicly on its website.

Stay Informed and Compliant!

Employers with employees in Austin, Texas should review their leave policies and notice procedures to ensure they are in compliance with the new law. ReedGroup keeps you informed about the latest and greatest in leave law, while offering solutions to address your needs, from educational information to fully managed leave administration. Need help navigating your company’s leaves? Give us a call at 800-347-7443.

Lori Welty

Lori Welty

Lori Welty, Esq., Senior Compliance Counsel at ReedGroup. Ms. Welty provides expertise in all areas of state and federal leave law, including Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and their state law equivalents as well as disability and family leave benefits. Ms. Welty is an ongoing author of ReedGroup’s LeaveAdvisor online reference tool, as well as many other white papers and articles.

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