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US – Business groups sue to stop San Antonio Paid Sick Leave Ordinance

Written by
FordHarrison LLP, nationwide U.S. law firm with a singular focus on HR law.
Business groups have launched an attempt to block new local legislation giving San Antonio employees a right to paid sick leave, which would otherwise take effect on 1 August 2019.   

On Monday 15 July 2019, the Associated Builders & Contractors of South Texas, joined by several other business groups, filed a legal action against the City of San Antonio seeking to block the implementation of the Paid Sick Leave ordinance, which is set to go into effect, for most businesses, on 1 August 2019. The ordinance requires organisations with more than 15 employees allow workers to accrue and use up to 64 hours of paid sick leave per year. For smaller organisations (one to 15 employees) the allowance is up to 48 hours per year.

The legal action alleges, like the Austin case relating to a similar ordinance passed by that city pending in the Texas Supreme Court, that the ordinance violates the Texas Minimum Wage Act. An injunction hearing is set for 24 July 2019, at 09:00. If the court issues the injunction, the San Antonio ordinance will likely be put on hold while this continues to work its way through the courts.

Meanwhile, in Dallas, the City has still not issued any regulations, which were promised at last week’s informational session. These regulations will hopefully give employers more clarity on the ordinance. No legal action has been filed yet to postpone the effective date of the Dallas ordinance, which also goes into effect on 1 August 2019.

This is an evolving issue. While we recommend that employers become familiar with these ordinances and be prepared to implement compliant policies for Dallas and San Antonio employees by 1 August, employers should delay announcing any changes to their policies as long as possible to see how these legal challenges play out.


The City of San Antonio has now agreed to postpone implementation of the Paid Sick Leave ordinance until 1 December 2019. A Bexar County judge signed the agreed order on 24 July 2019. Accordingly, employers with San Antonio employees have been given a few months before they must enact paid sick leave policies for San Antonio employees (subject to any decision by the Texas Supreme Court on this issue).

Rachel Ullrich
Rachel Ziolkowski Ullrich
FordHarrison LLP