Could Houston Follow Austin’s Lead In Mandating Paid Sick Leave

The Austin City Council has approved a first-of-its-kind ordinance here in Texas. We looked into whether Houston could possibly follow suit

Speakers appeared before the Austin City Council Thursday night to weigh in on the city’s sick leave ordinance. Most were in favor.

As for the chances of a paid sick leave ordinance here, Steve Werner with the University of Houston’s Bauer College of Business says it all depends on who’s behind it.

“At the societal level it could come from nonprofit, nongovernment organizations that are looking for more social equality or it could come from city officials who feel strongly about this,” explained Werner.

Austin City Council drafted its sick leave ordinance with input from the Center for Public Policy Priorities, a left-leaning advocacy group.

Proponents of sick leave mandates see it as a quality of life issue, where people aren’t being forced to go to work when they’re not well. Those against the mandates say they put cities at a disadvantage because they’re placing more regulations on business.

The ordinance goes into effect in Austin this October. Companies with over 15 employees have to offer eight days of paid sick leave. Companies with six to 15 employees must provide six days. If a business has five employees or less, they won’t have to comply with the mandate until 2020.

The council vote to approve the ordinance was 9-2.

View Fullscreen



Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

More Information