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Chamber on sick leave

Monday, January 29, 2018 by Elizabeth Pagano

The Austin Chamber of Commerce released a position statement on the paid sick leave ordinance on Friday, and it is asking for more time. The statement elaborates, “While mandated paid sick leave has been broadly discussed since Labor Day, a draft ordinance was not made public until less than a week ago. An Austin City Council vote has been called to occur just 19 business days later. The whole process is being unnecessarily rushed despite its potential impact on 30,000 Austin businesses. We respectfully request that Austin City Council contract with an unbiased, third-party local research institution to use local data and determine the cost to employers and government for implementing the proposed ordinance. The Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors is opposed to this ordinance if the Council does not contract for an appropriate independent study and does not provide the public 90 days to give feedback before they take a vote. At such point, the Chamber Board will be in a position to make an informed decision on this important issue.” It continues, “The Chamber Board noted that the current draft ordinance doesn’t utilize Austin-specific data to determine the actual number of employed Austinites who lack access to paid sick leave. As currently drafted, the City of Austin would not be subject to its own ordinance. The draft ordinance doesn’t include an economic impact analysis. It doesn’t identify how the administrative cost and burden will impact young Austinites seeking internships, small and local employers, and charitable and not-for-profit organizations. It also doesn’t include an analysis of the cost to taxpayers for a City of Austin rollout, oversight and compliance. In summary, this current proposal has unintended and unknown impact.” At the moment, Council is scheduled to vote on the ordinance on Feb. 15. The draft ordinance is available online here.

Council Member Greg Casar, who sponsored the resolution to create the new ordinance, told the Monitor that he intends to bring the item to a vote on February 15. He pointed out that date was established at his Labor Day announcement about the ordinance and has been reiterated ever since: at the September 28 City Council meeting, every public stakeholder meeting, the December City Council meeting and in much of the media coverage about the proposal.

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