Austin Paid Sick Leave

Posted by
Brittany Llorente

By Brittany Llorente
Media Marketing Associate


During the last few years, there has been a huge push for paid sick leave.

A lot of push.

This comes from a parallel initiative in home vs. work balance.

In February, the city of Austin passed an ordinance requiring businesses to give employees access to paid sick leave. The sick and safe leave ordinance will go into effect on October 1, 2018 (those with less than five employees will be given until October 1, 2020 to comply with the ordinance).

According to the National Law Review, “To be eligible, an employee must work at least 80 hours in a calendar year within the Austin city limits.  Independent contractors and unpaid interns are not eligible under the ordinance.

Eligible employees will accrue one hour of paid sick and safe leave for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 64 hours annually for “medium or large employer[s]” (more than 15 employees in Austin); or (b) 48 hours annually for ”small employer[s]” (up to 15 employees in Austin).

Earned sick time will begin to accrue on the date the ordinance becomes effective (either October 1, 2018 or October 1, 2020) or at the commencement of employment, whichever occurs later with respect to a particular employee.”

Accrual and carryover is applied based on how many employees a business has.

According to, the outline is as follows:

  • For employers with 16 or more employees in the last 12 months, the yearly accrual cap is 64 hours (8 days) per year;
  • For smaller employers with 15 or less employees in the last 12 months, the yearly accrual amount is 48 hours (6 days) per year; and
  • All unused sick time carries over to the following year.

Employees have restrictions on when they can and cannot use paid sick leave.

The ordinance states that an employee may request earned sick time from an employer for an absence from the employee’s scheduled work time caused by:

  • The employee’s physical or mental illness or injury, preventative medical or health care, or health condition; or
  • The employee’s need to care for a family member’s physical or mental illness, preventative medical of health care, injury, or health condition; or
  • The employee’s need to seek medical attention, seek relocation, obtain services from a victim services organization, or participate in legal or court ordered action related to an incident of victimization from domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking involving the employee or employee’s family member.

The ordinance passing in Austin has spurred other cities in Texas to follow suit and hear motions to adopt a sick leave policy for their cities including San Antonio and Dallas.

A recent article from the Dallas News stated that about 4.3 million Texas employees were without sick leave.

If you would like information on how your business can track sick leave, in multiple cities including Austin, Texas, email us at