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Texas Supreme Court blocks paid sick leave

Monday, June 8, 2020 by Elizabeth Pagano

Though approved by City Council in February 2018, Austin still has no paid sick leave ordinance. The Texas Supreme Court rejected an appeal by the city Friday, blocking the ordinance and upholding an earlier ruling that it conflicted with the Texas Minimum Wage Act and was therefore unconstitutional. Robert Henneke, general counsel for the Texas Public Policy Foundation, which filed the suit, released a victory statement: “The Texas Supreme Court’s denial of the city of Austin’s appeal leaves undisturbed the Third Court of Appeal’s opinion that the Austin paid sick leave ordinance is unconstitutional because it is preempted by state law. Once again, Texas courts are unanimous that cities in Texas lack the lawful power to mandate paid sick leave that interferes with the ability of employers and employees to negotiate wages and benefits.” Council Member Greg Casar, who was the lead sponsor of Austin’s paid sick leave ordinance, told the Austin Monitor, “This is a reprehensible act from the Supreme Court in the midst of the worst pandemic in 100 years. We will not rest until every Texan has the basic right to paid sick time, a right guaranteed in every other wealthy country in the world.”

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