Required Sick and Safety Leave in San Antonio, Texas

Following in the footsteps of many other large cities, San Antonio is implementing its mandatory Sick and Safe Leave (SSL) ordinance on all employers in the city. Employees earn 1 hour of sick leave per every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 56 hours of paid leave per year. The city ordinance is still being fine-tuned (see the last revision from September 2019 here), but it will be established by the end of the year.

When does the law start? December 1, 2019 is now the start date, but that has been delayed a few times already.

Who does this law apply to? All employers in San Antonio, no matter how big or small their business. This applies to all employees who work within city limits. If your employee also works outside the city but still works at least 240 hours a year in San Antonio, then the law still applies.

For what purpose can an employee take SSL?  An employee can use accrued sick leave when they need to be absent from work because the employee or the employee’s family member suffer illness, injury, stalking, domestic abuse, sexual assault, or otherwise require medical or health care, including preventative care and mental health care. According to the law firm Ogletree Deakins PC, the law defines who classifies as a family member:

The revised ordinance includes a more specific definition of a “family member,” which now includes (i) “[s]pouses, domestic partners, and both different-sex and same-sex significant others”; (ii) “[a]ny other family member within the second degree of consanguinity or affinity”; and (iii) “[a] member of the covered employee’s household,” as well as “[a] minor’s parents, regardless of the sex or gender of either parent.” In addition, “[t]he concept of parenthood is to be liberally construed without limitation as encompassing legal parents, foster parents, same-sex parent, step-parents, those serving in loco parentis, and other persons operating in caretaker roles.”

Read the full article, including a nice summation of the law, at website of Ogletree Deakins.

Does an employer have to pay out accrued sick leave upon termination? No, according to the latest revision, “This ordinance does not require the payment of sick and safe leave upon separation from employment and it does not require that sick and safe leave be calculated as an increase to salary or wages for an employee.”

What kind of record keeping is required? The employer will need to provide monthly updates to each employee, letting them know how much SSL has been accrued. If you have an employee handbook, the SSL policy must be stated. There might be some required posters, but that is still to be determined.

Need to update your Texas Employee Handbook? If so, then contact us today and get a customized employee handbook that includes required and recommended policies for your business.

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