SA Employer Groups Eye Legal Steps To Stop Paid Sick Leave Law

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The crowd fills the room at the Paid Sick Leave Commission Meeting at Stinson Airport.

Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report

The San Antonio Metropolitan Health District holds a June 27 informational session on paid sick leave to help employers comply with the Aug. 1 deadline.

A group of local staffing agencies and associations representing restaurants and builders is threatening legal action to block an Aug. 1 deadline for employer compliance with the City’s paid sick leave ordinance.

A letter from attorney Ricardo Cedillo of Davis, Cedillo & Mendoza sent Thursday to City Attorney Andrew Segovia states that Cedillo is representing the interests of San Antonio businesses and associations in opposing the paid sick leave ordinance and that he is prepared to pursue injunctive relief in court.

An injunction is a court order that requires parties to continue or cease a specific action. Ten plaintiffs are listed in the letter.

The letter also states Cedillo is requesting – “as a matter of professional courtesy” – a meeting with the City to “explore any potential remedies short of an injunction that might be available.”

The ordinance, which took effect in January, requires San Antonio employers to provide one hour of earned sick time for every 30 hours worked, with a yearly cap of 48 hours for small employers and 64 hours for those with more than 15 employees. The ordinance requires businesses with six or more employees to comply by Aug. 1.

The law means an estimated 350,000 workers will begin accruing paid sick leave hours they can use to take time off for illness, injury, or to care for a family member.

In June, the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District began hosting informational sessions across the city to help employers learn to implement requirements of the new law before the Aug. 1 deadline. At the first meeting, human resources managers asked questions about how to calculate time off and enforce the rules, with some convinced the new employee benefit would hurt their companies’ bottom lines.

Other employers, resigned to implementing the new law, have started getting prepared. Andrew Himoff, executive vice president at VIP Staffing, said he recently created a two-page summary of the nine-page ordinance outlining the employer’s requirements as well as employee protections.

A spokeswoman for the City Attorney’s Office said Segovia has received the letter and agreed to a meeting, though no date had been set.

“My office always welcomes the opportunity to attempt amicable resolutions to disputes or to coordinate for efficient litigation,” wrote Segovia in a letter sent to Cedillo and shared with the Rivard Report Thursday afternoon.

“More than 140,000 San Antonians petitioned the city for a paid sick leave ordinance, and City Council approved that ordinance last summer,” said Mayor Ron Nirenberg. “We are still working diligently with the selected [Paid Sick Leave] Commission for an Aug. 1 implementation. We hope all stakeholders will continue to work with us.

“I was elected to defend the will of the people. If the ordinance is ultimately challenged in Court, we will defend it.”

The businesses and associations represented by Cedillo in the case are:

  • American Staffing Association
  • Burnett Specialists
  • Cardinal Med Staffing
  • Choice Staffing
  • eEmployers Solutions Inc.
  • Hawkins Personnel Group
  • Leading Edge Personnel
  • Staff Force Personnel Services
  • Associated Builders and Contractors – South Texas Chapter
  • San Antonio Restaurant Association

The San Antonio Restaurant Association declined to comment on the potential litigation. The South Texas chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors has not responded to requests for an interview.

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