Who should be covered under a policy that requires employers to provide paid sick days?

about 1 year ago
CLOSED: This discussion has concluded. We are now reviewing all participant feedback and preparing our final report back to Council.

What employees should be specifically covered under a policy like this? For instance, should it only be for hourly employees, temporary workers, service workers, or all workers? Are there specific types of employees not mentioned that should be considered? Please be as specific as you can. 

Consultation has concluded

  • Austin2017 about 1 year ago
    To confirm, this policy would only be for private employers, correct? A recent article from KVUE referenced private employers only. Non-profit organizations and public schools would be exempt.
  • Question07 about 1 year ago
    The policy that is being proposed addresses private employers. Does this mean public entities will be excluded? Such as Austin ISD and other public schools? To my understanding some of these entities are experiencing financial difficulties that this new mandate would impact them on a higher level.
  • Laura R about 1 year ago
    We all get sick. All workers should be covered including part-time seasonal and temporary workers.
  • fareed about 1 year ago
    The vast majority of people get sick, therefore everyone should have access to sick days. For those who think paid sick days are poor for the economy, please consider this: The cost to employers nationwide of people working while sick is $160 billion a year from decreased productivity and unnecessarily extended illnesses.This statistic is from the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. I encourage people to check out this fact sheet provided by Work Strong Austin: http://bettertexasblog.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/EO_2017_AustinPaidSickLeave.pdf
  • sanajaved7 about 1 year ago
    Isn't it 2017? Don't we live in the United States? Part of me is baffled that this is even a question we still have to ask in this day and age and the other part of me is stunned that people could be against such a basic, common-sense measure. ALL workers, regardless of background, wage level, and occupation, should have access to earned sick days. It is astounding that 37% percent of the total workforce are at risk of losing wages or being fired if they follow doctor’s orders when they or a family member are ill. Is that something that we as a city want to support and be known for? What about the fact that Latino and African-American workers are less likely to have paid sick time than workers in any other racial or ethnic group? Do we want to be knows as a city with such sickening racial disparities? If 33 cities and eight states have passed paid sick leave policies, what are we in Austin waiting for? This is so obviously the right thing to do for the city and all those who live here.
  • sclaytor about 1 year ago
    All workers-- hourly, temp, etc--- should be covered under a mandatory paid sick time policy. All people get sick occasionally, whether physically or mentally, and workers shouldn't have to decide between resting and seeking medical care for themselves and their families, or keeping their job to have income.
  • Jacquie about 1 year ago
    There should be no distinction. Typically, agencies supplying temp workers do NOT provide sick time, so the temp worker has to either go to work sick or remain home and forfeit a day's pay (at least). This is not fair. A healthy workforce is contingent on everybody who IS sick, getting the time to recover that they need without fear of loss of income.
  • mbrooksbank about 1 year ago
    I support all workers earning paid sick time, which could accrue either specifically as sick time or as a component of a flexible PTO program which allows employees to choose how to use the time. All workers and their families deserve the ability to stay home and take care of one another when they are sick. As a college student at UT I once lost a part time job I needed to pay my rent because I was miserably sick. As a parent, when my child is sick I need to be able to take care of her and not send her to school to infect the other kids and teachers. It is unacceptable that in 2017, workers still don't have protections for basic human needs.
  • elisstar about 1 year ago
    hourly, service, and temp workers should have earned sick leave. Health benefits are basic to treating employees fairly and also protects the work force and public in general. It should also be applied to health care for family members as well. I think the best policy is "earned leave"- let the employee make the decision on how they care for themself or others in the family unit.
  • gcato about 1 year ago
    All workers should be guaranteed paid sick days, because all workers get sick and should have access to basic human dignity in their workplace.
  • JDoherty00 about 1 year ago
    The city should stay out of dictating private companies benefits!
  • emthom about 1 year ago
    All people become sick, and not all illnesses are ones that can be seen and heard. All employees should accrue sick time. Sick time would keep our city healthier and leave its people more able to lead full, balanced lives.
  • Aguero about 1 year ago
    If a business wants to operate in a city as exceptional as Austin, then it should operate according to our values. Paid sick time reflects our acknowledgement of people's humanity and their family obligations. All people become sick. In Austin, paid sick time should not be reserved for only certain occupations. All work has value in Austin, so all workers should accrue time.
  • Gary T... about 1 year ago
    I have to wonder if anyone on the City Council has actually ran a business and had to make money to keep it alive. Mandating sick leave within the city is a very bad idea and will drive many businesses to start else where or move else where. Most businesses are competing not only with other businesses in Austin, but rather with other businesses all over the area, state, nation and world. Most small business owners want to offer employees benefits and most who can afford them do. The idea that all business owners should be mandated to offer the same sick leave benefits across industries with very different capital requirements, employee skill requirements, different competitive environments and differing margin profiles seems irrational to someone who has actually built and/or ran a business. The city should stay out of this and leave it to the marketplace.
  • KS about 1 year ago
    To anyone reading, my first question is why is it that these questions are already framed as if the decision on whether to mandate sick time is already decided? I am not here to argue against the benefits of paid sick time. When provided (within reason) it is certainly helpful to both employees and employers. That being said, mandating something that the labor market already mediates quite well for itself, adds further bureaucracy, cost, and onerous enforcement that has caused so many companies to pack up and leave areas like California to move to Texas in the first place! While this rule alone is not enough to do so, it becomes part of a growing new set of rules that deter employers from wanting to either move to a market, expand in it, or provide other benefits to their employees because they are HAVING to abide by so many rules already. This is not an atypical reaction by employers by any means. In my own time as an HR manager in California, I have seen this effect first hand. The law of unintended consequences really does apply here. (If you must know, one company I worked with removed more days from the overall time off policy than the new mandate in CA had added, backfiring completely). I would strongly suggest that Austin not take on more and more "feel good" policies that when placed in effect may end up causing employers to lower other employee benefits, and starting on a path that has disrupted and massively hurt labor markets in other parts of the country. Austin has been a destination city for many employers and employees and that in itself will pressure the labor market to better treat their employees. Allow the market to decide these things for itself much like it has. In defense of Austin continuing to be a great city for businesses and their people alike, onerous mandates like these should not be taken further, before Austin ends up becoming one of the cities that companies end up leaving.
  • Jeff Evins about 1 year ago
    The questions in this survey seem slanted to how to implement this policy as opposed to if it should be implemented. COA should not implement this law for private employers. If they want to require City Contractors to provide sick leave they can do so. But it will raise the cost of doing business with the city and inevitably raise taxes to pay for that requirement. One of the questions in this list is how to fund enforcement. So that means a tax of sorts to enforce the new onerous requirement. It seems so easy to put this off on employers shoulders and pocketbooks but it is not. Many employers will find it costly to do this and will have to cut costs somewhere. The labor market sets it's own rules. Pay and benefits are market driven. Not all jobs are "career" jobs and there will always be differences in pay, benefits, and opportunities for growth. Do a good job today and get a better job as you learn new skills and apply yourself. In a job market like Austin there is always opportunity to get a better paying job with better benefits. COA should be more supportive of the businesses that are creating jobs. And not just the large companies. Many people in Austin choose to work for small employers or on the gig economy because it fits their needs and lifestyle. Employers today are over regulated and burdened by government rules. The COA should not add to the mess. But if the COA insists on this bad policy there should be some length of service requirement as is customary with typical vacation policies so that employees with maybe 1 year of service qualify. At least that way it might encourage retention of employees and reward workers who stay. Isn't that the business reason for benefits anyway?
  • JZ about 1 year ago
    What gives the COA authority to mandate private employers benefit policies?
  • Wtaylor23 about 1 year ago
    All employees should be covered.
  • Ep Ep about 1 year ago
    Please provide data on the following questions: 1) How much does mandated sick leave cost employers? Average per employee? Cumulative? 2) Does mandated sick leave reduce workplace illness? 3) Does mandated sick leave reduce absenteeism and increase productivity? 3) Does mandated sick leave reduce public health costs? 4) How has mandated sick leave negatively affected employers and employees? 5) How does mandated sick leave help the employer, employee or the public when depleted? 6) How does mandated sick leave attract or deter employers? 7) How many tax dollars are required to administer mandated sick leave?
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  • ctrbula about 1 year ago
    The government should not mandate policies for private businesses. Let business owners decide what benefits best suit their employee and their budget needs. If the person doesn't like the benefits that employer offers, then they can find other employment. There are plenty of jobs in Austin and employees can choose where they want to work. This mandate is going to cause more work for employers. For instance, my company has an extremely generous PTO policy. If this is mandated we are going to have manage a separate sick leave policy in order to comply with the mandate, when we were really already doing it all along. Let businesses decide how they want to treat their employees.
  • Charlene Gelb about 1 year ago
    Everyone should be covered because everyone gets sick.
  • Arawin86 about 1 year ago
    Benefit eligible employees, full time and part-time over 20 hours a week. Full-time 40 hours a week can accrue up to 56 hours annually. Each regularly paid hour accrues a portion of the 56 hours. For part time it is pro-rated.
  • Arawin86 about 1 year ago
    The employee is eligible for sick time equal to what they have accrued. Note: the sick time paid accrues sick time. Also employee may take sick time off for for sick child, parent, guardian, grandchild, grand parent, sibling. For immediate family listed employee may use up to 28 hours which is 1/2 the annual accrual of 56 hours( roll over each year to the maximum of 480 hours, no cash value upon termination) Note: employee may use sick leave time for bereavement time of immediate family mentioned previously. Sick time begins on 3rd day of absence due to illness/injury. If absence is due to surgery on first day of absence, sick time begins on day 1.
  • TanDao about 1 year ago
    Only full time employees should be covered.
  • Maryd about 1 year ago
    City government should not mandate policies for private businesses. Austin touts itself as being friendly to small businesses, but this policy is in direct opposition to that.
  • Lilykennedy about 1 year ago
    It sounds like we haven't learnt anything from having a healthcare mandate. "Affordable Care Act" = most expensive insurance I ever bought since I have been employed. It was supposed to help make insurance more affordable for Americans but to help a few people we ended up with sky high rates for the rest of us premium payers!!I am in complete opposition to having any mandate. Let business owners decide what benefits better suit their employee base. Having a blanket paid sick policy will not only increase operating costs it will also burden business owners with additional administrative and even potential legal costs. I don't think that paid sick time is a basic right. . . It has always been a benefit and offering such benefit is what makes some employers be a lot more competitive than others. Your employer doesn't offer it?? find one that does!!
  • Eric Goff about 1 year ago
    I'm a small business owner, the Compost Pedallers. We are happy to comply with the new ordinance and think its in the public interest that every other business in Austin does so too. We currently provide paid sick leave and think everyone else should do so too as a minimum cost of employment.Paid sick leave will lead to more productive workers, workers that don't have to make choices between the health of their child and their paycheck, and workers that are more likely to stay with a job because they can get through short term health issues and get back to work. This can save business owners from the costs of rehiring and retraining a new worker.Ultimately however, as a city we need to do what we can to take care of the people that live here. That's why everyone who works in Austin should be allowed to accrue paid sick days, no matter if they are full-time, part-time, seasonal, or temp workers. Accrual will work so they only accrue hours of paid sick leave for the time they work. Furthermore, a robust sick leave requirement will create an opportunity for a business owner to procure insurance to cover the risk of a higher than normal pay period due to paying or one or more extra shifts. An insurance product could easily allow business owners to pool risk and spread the cost across an entire year or budget period.Lets do the right thing, Austin.
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    • Nolan about 1 year ago
      I think it is really cool that you have figured out how to provide paid sick leave. That is clearly something that your employees value and something you can use to encourage people to work for you. If everyone is required to do it, then you won't have that advantage anymore.
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      • Eric Goff about 1 year ago
        I don't want my business to have that advantage. I want workers to have that advantage. It's a moral obligation, and there are clearly businesses that want to avoid it.
  • Nolan about 1 year ago
    I think it is imperative that employers and employees are given as much flexibility as possible to negotiate compensation. One employee might rather higher pay. One might rather the security of paid sick leave. One might rather more time off. Let each unique circumstance drive the proper and unique compensation. Therefore, I think that employees (and employers) should receive paid sick leave if they value it above an equivalent compensation increase.
  • mattwgore about 1 year ago
    I am concerned about implementing any policy, no matter what category of workers it covers. I am an entrepreneur trying to build a business. The last several times I have considered hiring another employee in Austin, I have decided not to because the regulatory burden is so high. Instead, I hire freelancers, frequently overseas. If we added more paperwork and more cost, I would be even more hesitant to hire folks in my hometown. I want to hire Austinites - let's not make it harder!
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    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments. Do you mean to say that you fear what a paid sick leave policy would cost you as a business owner? -Moderator
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      • mattwgore about 1 year ago
        I am not concerned as much about offering paid sick leave - I already offer paid sick leave - but there is a cost to complying with each piece of regulation. Although I am confident my sick leave policy would be equal or more generous than anything required by the City, I would spend time (or waste money asking lawyers to spend time) looking at our policies and the city's requirements and proving that our policy meets the requirements. Most laws end up being vague, so I would never really be certain that my policy is legal. I'd spend more money, spend more time, and worry more, without actually offering a new benefit to employees.
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        • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
          Thanks for that clarification. -Moderator
      • JasonLockhart about 1 year ago
        Moderator - all of your questions seem to be setting up a future situation where you do the following: 1) claim the people have spoken and they fear this will cost businesses too much money, 2) claim that we “know” everyone really wants this (even though they don’t), so we “must” implement it, and 3) claim the solution is to pass this abomination of a law/ordinance, then provide a “subsidy” to businesses to offset the costs....all the while slipping more tax hikes in to make everyone pay for this garbage. Booooooo
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        • RWarwick about 1 year ago
          Jason, you are spot on here. I do NOT get the feeling the City of Austin really cares what business owners and entrepreneurs who are driving the local economy think. I think they only care about the opinion of the masses who want more free time off.
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          • dc about 1 year ago
            Yeah, who is the government FOR, anyway? The PEOPLE?
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            • smallrestaurant about 1 year ago
              And of course, as is usually the case, small business owners are not considered to be people...
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              • Ashkan about 1 year ago
                No, small business people are humans just like their workers- we all deserve a good life. This necessitates people caring about and taking care of each other to some extent. It is why we pay taxes (never mind how exactly they are used at present). It is why we have minimum wage laws. It is why we will have a robust earned paid sick leave policy in Austin.
          • robert about 1 year ago
            Totally true!
          • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
            Hi, RWarwick: thanks for your comments. The City of Austin is very much interested in what business owners and entrepreneurs think; that's one of the reasons we have set up this forum and are hosting meetings to hear that input. Our next meeting is Thursday, November 16th, at 4pm, at Town Lake Center (721 Barton Springs Road), with a third meeting on Thursday, November 30th, at 4pm, at Fiesta Gardens (Fiesta Gardens, 2101 Jesse E. Segovia Street, 78702). -Moderator
        • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
          Hi, Jason--thanks for your comments. My questions relate to the Austin City Council's approved resolution directing the City to collect input from the public on the scope of a potential paid sick leave policy. They have not yet approved a policy and are interested in this kind of feedback. The resolution can be found at: http://www.austintexas.gov/edims/document.cfm?id=286396. -Moderator
    • MartinAustin about 1 year ago
      Those are the unintended consequences of the ideologues running the city. They offer incentives and rewards to attract large companies to Austin to compete with local businesses and impose costly, burdensome, rules that disproportionately hurt small companies. If you want to offer leave, paid or not, you and your employees should retain as much flexibility as possible to maximize your own choices, not the political philosophy of council members who believe they know best.
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      • robert about 1 year ago
        So correct and you get this when you have uninformed ideologues running the city. They have no clue about the real world.
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        • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
          Thanks for your comments. -Moderator
      • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
        Thanks for your comments. -Moderator
      • Tyson_512 about 1 year ago
        "If you want to offer leave, paid or not, you and your employees should retain as much flexibility as possible to maximize your own choices, not the political philosophy of council members who believe they know best." ---This is just your political philosophy, though. You're no less of an ideologue than anybody else, it's just an ideology that benefits business owners instead of workers. " If you want to offer leave, paid or not, you and your employees should retain as much flexibility as possible to maximize your own choices" --This is entirely arbitrary. Why not use the same logic to argue against minimum wages, food safety inspections and so on?
    • robert about 1 year ago
      You are totally correct. If the Council even attempted to study this issues they would drop this idea.
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      • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
        Thanks for your comments. -Moderator
  • Ashkan about 1 year ago
    Those making arguments regarding the unfair nature of the financial imposition on businesses are misinformed. We have seen study after study regarding the mutual benefits of paid sick leave. It is also rather heartless to argue against this most basic level of protection for a fellow human being. This is especially true for a small businessperson, given that they often make money when they are sick or otherwise not at work.
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    • Typical Austinite about 1 year ago
      Please send me links to each "Study after Study" that you refer to. I would like to read them please.
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      • Ashkan about 1 year ago
        Take your pick, I just searched "paid sick leave" so as to not bias the search results. https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C44&q=paid+sick+leave&btnG=If you don't have access to a particular article you'd like to read, please email me at ashkanjah@gmail.com.I could quote these all day, here is one from: http://paidsickdays.nationalpartnership.org/site/DocServer/No_Time_To_Be_Sick.pdf"The value of lost productivity of workers who are on the job when not fully healthy is greater than the combined cost of employee absence and health and disability benefits (Goetzel, Long, Ozminkowski, Hawkins, Wang and Lynch 2004)."We live among other people, sometimes people need help through no fault of their own. Paid sick leave is a pretty trivial recognition of that fact.If you would like to discuss a particular article or book, please email me (ashkanjah@gmail.com) and I'll read it and reply within a day or as soon as I can. I see from the other comments that you are a small business owner. I would be delighted to have you advocating for this policy. Thanks,Ashkan Jahangiri
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        • Typical Austinite about 1 year ago
          Forgive me, but I asked if you could send me or reference me the "Study after Study" that you have mentioned. My presumption from your comment was that you had personally read a bunch of studies and could give me links to specific information. What I got was Google search results, which to me implies that you may not have anything specific to point to and/or that you yourself have read. In your links, I found one study that suggests what your saying "may" be true, but does not offer the basis for their conclusions. I keep reading terms like "averting a public health crisis," but see no actual data or even anecdotal evidence supporting that there is one, or that one it is imminent if the policies don't change. I see opinions by people who are advocating for a policy that mainly benefits them (or only) considers their own audience and constituency. I already know what is right and what works for my business. If you want to convince me to change what I am doing (or anyone else), you are going to have provide more than an opinion. If you provide the links here, then others can read them too. I have looked up the link that the moderator has listed. Again, the study is written from a very narrow perspective and is advocating for only certain portions of the population and not looking at the problem holistically. Paid Sick Leave is not a trivial notion, nor a trivial cost. For any business, but especially small ones like mine, absorbing the cost for anything new without revenue to pay for it is not trivial. Allow me to give you a very clear example. Along with PTO, I already provide health insurance to my employees. I am currently looking at my health insurance premium renewals for this upcoming year. Like it has almost every year, my premium will be dramatically increased. This year it is approaching a 25% increase. Which means that just about every four years, my insurance costs are 100% more than they were just four years prior. Do you think my revenue has increased 100% in four years? Do you think I can raise my prices/fees 100% every four years? No I cannot. Do you think my employees can afford to pay for a larger share. No, they cannot either.Would you pay twice as much for your groceries than you did just four years ago. No you would not or could not. No, and I cannot either, which means every year I have to try to remain profitable (and sometimes not) by charging my customers nearly the same fees, all while my overhead goes up. Profit gets cut every year until I have to increase prices, cut staff (or their wages) or go out of business. This is just not sustainable. Let's just presume for the sake of this discussion that I do not currently offer PTO and now the City wants to force me to provide it for all workers, regardless of whether they are hourly or salaried, transient, part-time, etc. Where do I get the money to pay for this new benefit? As many people have discussed on here, this type of blanket legislation can do nothing else but cause prices to increase. Common sense tells us it will most negatively affect those people who can afford it the least; the working poor and low wage workers. All the pleasant platitudes about why this should be offered are not in sync with reality. It is better to have a job with a company that can continue to offer the job indefinitely, than it is to squeeze that same company until they go out of business or leave. I grew up in the Midwest and watched the auto, steel and tire industries leave in the 70's and 80's because of these same types of issues. Many in my family lost their good paying long-term jobs because those companies could not afford to continue to employ them with the wages and benefits that they were earning. There are lessons that should have been learned from that time, but seem to have been forgotten.
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          • Ashkan about 1 year ago
            Wow, that's very difficult to deal with. From my perspective, it is clear that you are suffocating under corporate tyranny, in this case insurance companies. I'm just asking not to pass the buck onto workers. You should fight back instead. Both of our problems, your business, my demand for mandatory earned paid sick leave, would be greatly mitigated by a universal healthcare program. Please reach out to me if you're interested in discussing this or getting involved.
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            • smallrestaurant about 1 year ago
              Tyranny takes many forms. There is no doubt that large corporations - be they insurance companies or even large competitors to small business like ours make it that much more difficult to keep going. Now the city - driven by uninformed people such as yourself - are proposing to add another pressure on top of these which will ultimately result in the large competitors driving the smaller players into the ground. What is the result? You'll get your paid PTO, but you'll be working at McDonald's, Chili's and Applebees rather than at the small, individually owned places which give Austin the small amount of individuality we still retain.
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              • Ashkan about 1 year ago
                Yes, I am also wary of the power held by corporations, that is why I am an informed advocate for earned paid sick leave. So long as there are businesses in Austin that employ humans, those humans should be afforded a minimum standard of living. This includes earned paid sick leave.
              • Ashkan about 1 year ago
                I'd like to highlight that while you may see a difference between large and small corporations, wealth-lacking individuals who are forced to rent themselves to companies in order to make enough to pay for rent and perhaps some food are generally unconcerned with the size or "character" of a business. That individuality, as you put it, is a luxury that you may be able to appreciate, but many cannot. They cannot do so in part because they do not have earned paid sick leave, so they have a sword over their head at all times because the natural occurrence of an illness may make it impossible to pay rent that month. It's impossible to enjoy life in such circumstances.
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                • smallrestaurant about 1 year ago
                  You clearly don't know what it's like to own your own small business. My wife works upwards of 80 to 90 hours per week. I put in about 60 to 70. We have cooks who make more per hour then we do and our servers are definitely making more. We took the risk and are willing to accept the consequences of having taken that risk. We employ about 30 people at any given time - all of whom are free to choose where they want to work. You speak of wealth as if it grows on trees. Perhaps you will see it differently when you are actually trying to build some of it for yourself.
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                  • Ashkan about 1 year ago
                    I've responded elsewhere- my family has owned small businesses in Dallas and Austin for the past 30 years. I know exactly what it is to work hard and have the entire family contribute. It is unfortunate that you have not executed a business plan that allows you to receive proper compensation for your time. Again, I have had incredible wealth and I have been hungry for lack of money, but my personal experience and yours are not relevant to the judgement of how an earned paid sick leave policy should be implemented.
          • austin_worker about 1 year ago
            Have you done any research yourself on how this would "avert a public health crisis"? There are plenty of studies out there: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130613161831.htm
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            • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
              Thanks, all, for this thread; if anyone wants to share more about how a paid sick leave policy would work in practice, please do. -Moderator
    • Howintex about 1 year ago
      Saying it's "heartless" and "basic level of protection" is poor, subjective argumentation. There is nothing basic about asking employers to pay for people not doing work - paid sick leave has always been considered a benefit, not a "right". Trying to surmount a battle to change that is probably the argument to which you subscribe.It is good that the COA is offering a forum to "speak out" on this topic.My input on COA getting involved on "paid sick leave policy for private employers" (as quoted in Nextdoor) is that they should stay out of this business. When City Council gets around to actually creating and approving a policy of this nature, I could almost guarantee that the state legislature will find a way to override it anyway.
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      • Ashkan about 1 year ago
        Taking care of each other in society is a fundamental tenet that we all subscribe to and participate in to varying degrees. Besides, the facts are so obviously in favor of providing paid sick leave that I don't see the value in making the economic argument again and again. However, as this is an issue that is argued amongst humans, I see potential in appealing to other people's humanity. Anyway, I don't see the difference between this argument and an argument against paying social security taxes. Employers, by virtue of profit collection and general capital accumulation, have the ability to provide protections like this to ensure that the world chugs along. Seriously, think this through. If you go to work every day and it only pays you enough to live, and then you can't work because you're sick, what are you supposed to do? Do you deserve less food, do you deserve to get evicted? I don't think so, and I see at least a partial solution in providing earned paid sick leave.
      • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
        Thanks for your comments, Howintex. -Moderator
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments; Ashkan, do you have thoughts about what employees should be specifically covered under a policy like this? For instance, should it only be for hourly employees, temporary workers, service workers, or all workers? Are there specific types of employees not mentioned that should be considered? -Moderator
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      • Ashkan about 1 year ago
        An earned paid sick leave policy should cover all workers under the political jurisdiction of the city of Austin. Accrual of sick leave hours should begin from the moment a worker is hired, thus covering temporary workers and similar circumstances. Seasonal workers who return to the same company within one year should be allowed to retain their previously earned unused sick leave hours.
  • smallrestaurant about 1 year ago
    It should not be implemented as a local mandate at all for these reasons:1. Many small businesses cannot afford it. Mandates such as these are just another pressure which will force us to close our doors.2. Business, by it's very nature is a competition to create the best products or provide the best services, at the lowest cost with the help of the best people possible. As a business owner, it is ALWAYS in my own best interest to hire the best employees I can. If a preponderance of businesses, in a better financial position provide benefits such as PTO to employees then better employees will naturally migrate to these jobs, giving the small business a natural, organic incentive to improve benefits for employees to whatever extent is financially feasible at that time . In such a scenario, my offered PTO might not be as good as another, but provides a stepping stone which allows my business to absorb the impact gradually. A mandate is an unnatural incentive/lever and will simply cause me and others like me to fold-up the table and go do something in a place that recognizes the value of a freer market.
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    • Ashkan about 1 year ago
      Sorry, but the "many small businesses cannot afford it" argument is often made and it is not terribly convincing. Perhaps there are businesses that cannot afford to provide a minimum wage either. That's fine, they can go out of business. I don't share the view that a business has a right to live. A person, however, does, and that is why I am advocating for all businesses in the city of Austin's political jurisdiction to provide earned paid sick leave- I have outlined some of the specifics in a separate comment. I wish you the best in your pursuit of the freest possible market. It is unfortunate that you will have a difficult time finding such an area within the United States, where the market for any given sector is so tied to the state that it is difficult to distinguish the two. Your industry provides a wonderful example from every point in the process of food production and service, from state interference in crop production to the unnatural nature of wage allocation to food service workers- a combination of $2.13 from an employer, whatever a consumer feels like providing, and perhaps whatever the government provides in social services when these wages fail to provide a minimum standard of living.
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      • smallrestaurant about 1 year ago
        Ashkan - I see you have replied to several of the conversations I gave input to. I'm not going to have time to answer them all. Suffice to say, we disagree. Unfortunately, you do not appear to possess the experience to speak on both sides of this argument. I do, having been on both sides. Best of luck to you. Please feel free to let me know once you venture out on your own and try to make a go of it. I'd love to hear your perspective at that point.
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        • Ashkan about 1 year ago
          My father has owned small businesses before I was born. He works at least ten hours a day every single day. Even today, it is an incredible privilege if he gets home before 9pm, though he's out of the door by 9am. I have lived in a million dollar mcmansion and I have lost my hair from malnutrition. My personal experience is irrelevant to my judgement on this issue- as is yours. You are taking the issue of earned paid sick leave incredibly personally. Please remember this is an issue for the people of the city of Austin and not your anonymous self. No one cares that you work hard. Many of us work hard. I simply hope that whenever you cannot work that you are taken care of and do not suffer needlessly. I want this to be true for everyone and earned paid sick leave is possible, as demonstrated by the existing cities and states that have implemented this policy without the collapse of their local corporations.
    • Tyson_512 about 1 year ago
      "Many small businesses cannot afford it. "---Most can, and where this has been implemented in other cities and states this hasn't been a problem. But sure, one or two businesses might not be able to. And that's OK - companies go out of business all the time for a wide variety of reasons. Sometimes they can't compete with the big companies, sometimes people don't need their product anymore, sometimes they've got bad leadership. There were probably a few companies that went out of business when child labor was abolished, when the automobile was introduced, and when minimum wages were instituted. But you know what? Other, better businesses took their place and we're better off for it.That's just the reality of business.
  • DanielB about 1 year ago
    All workers deserve access to paid sick leave. With more and more people relying on increasingly precarious employment arrangements, it would provide necessary financial stability. Such stability isn't possible when you're one missed paycheck or medical emergency away from destitution. Those with children or other dependents are especially vulnerable. For those who work in food service/handling, or any other job that carries a risk of spreading infection, this would also be even more important from a public health standpoint.Since existing plans do vary from employer to employer (for employers that offer any sort of paid leave), I do think the specifics of implementation need to be carefully considered. Some employers offer a a single pool of paid time off per time period, so it would be ideal if such an ordinance was crafted in a way that didn't effectively let employers with such existing plans give employees “less time off” if they didn't need to use that leave expressly as sick leave. Similarly, at least for short periods of leave any requirement of a doctor's note would be an excessive burden placed upon employees. Realistically speaking, sometimes people just need a day to recover and/or prevent spread of infection.There have been many post here stressing that such an ordinance would be a burden on business. Many posting as such have also claimed that they already provide generous leave policies to their employees and that they would still be subjected to excessive fees and bureaucratic oversight to prove compliance. If I'm not mistaken, would this not be the case unless a violation were found and reported to those who would enforce it. I doubt any employer who is already providing the benefits that workers deserve has anything to fear from such an ordinance. Furthermore, the claim made that workers should simply “get a job somewhere else” if they aren't satisfied with their current benefits is quite dubious when the power imbalance between employers and workers is taken into consideration. Competition within the free market isn't going to guarantee just and fair treatment of workers.
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    • congress1902 about 1 year ago
      I'd like to present a scenario where this ordinance can severely harm a small business. Lets say you own a Subway franchise. Yes its a national brand, but the franchisee receives no financial support from Subway and is entirely on their own as to how they will make a profit. If the Subway is struggling to make a profit either from high overhead or simply declining sales, they can't simply absorb this new expense. Where will the additional money come from? If the franchisee decided to raise prices, I can assure you, no matter how good it makes you feel, you won't pay $3 more for the same sandwich that is cheaper a few blocks away. This situation won't be unique to Subway franchisees. The same will apply to donut shops, hair salons and clothing stores. So while many large employers can shrug this off and absorb the cost or they will simply raise prices, I can assure this is going to hurt many businesses in Austin. It should be called a tax because that's exactly what it is. Owners will either pass it on to their clients or they won't. Either way, many businesses will be hurt.
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      • fastfoodworker about 1 year ago
        Businesses don't have the fundamental right to exist. You have to prove you can be competitive in the market given the particular constraints that society has put you under. I'm sure there were many scrappy upstart coal mining operations forced to shutter their doors because of the increased costs of no longer hiring child labor. This hypothetical Subway you are talking about has to be already on the absolute verge of going under already to not be able to afford to save one hour wage for every thirty hours a worker works. That business already needs to exit the market, but it is relying on subsidies from the workers, who are being denied their basic human rights in order for a poorly run operation to continue to survive. The next argument that will come is that "those workers will lose their jobs!" True, but economic friction is a fact of life. Workers will have access to unemployment to help facilitate their transition to a new job, one that can respect their right to have paid sick leave and fill the gap in the market left by the poorly run operation's exit. With unemployment at 3%, a worker replacing their former job is guaranteed. This paid sick leave opposition has nothing to do with helping workers, but only with owners maintaining as close to complete control as possible over their workforce. These business owners see this right of theirs to exist above and superior to democratic law.
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        • ps about 1 year ago
          I'm not aware of any coal mining operations in Austin.
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          • slm417 about 1 year ago
            Hmmmm... somehow I don't think fastfoodworker is really a fast food worker. Sounds more like a social justice warrior lying to convince others that they are something they're not... kind of like all the fake protesters and "white supremicists" that didn't really exist after the last election.Agreed -- this is a free market issue, not an issue for the elitists down at city council to be using taxpayer dollars to pick their own winners and losers. If the market demands paid sick leave, the market will provide it. Elected politicians ought to remember they supposed to represent all constituents -- including hard working, tax paying Austinites who own businesses, provide jobs, and are truly the engine that makes this city prosperous.
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            • fastfoodworker about 1 year ago
              Why do you think I don't work fast food? Because I can form arguments and write clearly? Fast food and low wage workers have to always be dumb and inarticulate?
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              • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
                Fastfoodworker and slm417, please be sure to keep your comments focused on the issues at hand, rather than the individuals involved. Thanks. -Moderator
            • Tyson_512 about 1 year ago
              This betrays the contempt anti-Paid Sick Leave posters have for working-class people. They don't believe someone could work in fast food and take an active involvement in their community and workplace rights, or figure out how to use a discussion website. Arrogant elitists like that shouldn't be responsible for making decisions about worker health and safety.
          • PaidSickDaysNow about 1 year ago
            There is coal mining in Manor.
        • congress1902 about 1 year ago
          Your Darwinian explanation that those businesses with smaller profit margins will be competed out does not always bare out. That's a different argument. I think you are proving the answer to the question "will this hurt businesses?". Based on the additional "economic friction" that Austin will put on these enterprises the answer is YES. You may think the trade-off is fair. I don;t.
        • smallrestaurant about 1 year ago
          fastfoodworker - You've made the free-market point for us. In a jobs market like Austin, you can absolutely find another job tomorrow (maybe even today) and there is a good chance none of the prospective employers you have to choose from will even bother to check your references. (There are a number of reasons we won't.) If you don't feel like the job you are working at provides you with your basic human rights then by all means go take the job that does. Concepts of free market competition and dynamics apply to workers as well as businesses/employers.
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          • Tyson_512 about 1 year ago
            "If you don't feel like the job you are working at provides you with your basic human rights then by all means go take the job that does"Why would a worker want that? It benefits workers to make companies provide at least a minimum of pay, safety and things like sick leave, and it's a lot easier for workers than shopping around for the rare job that offers a combination of all of the above. It might benefit you as a "smallrestaurant" but there's no reason the rest of us should want to roll the dice on sick leave.
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            • smallrestaurant about 1 year ago
              I think you've missed my point, Tyson. To quote fastfoodworker, "... With unemployment at 3%, a worker replacing their former job is guaranteed. ...". My point is to say that the current jobs market makes it easy for workers such as yourself to go to a job that provides the kind of benefits you believe to be important. The mandate is natural, and therefore more sustainable.
            • Tyson_512 about 1 year ago
              "My point is to say that the current jobs market makes it easy for workers such as yourself to go to a job that provides the kind of benefits you believe to be important."Maybe or maybe not, but why wouldn't I want to make it even easier? What do I have to lose from making it guaranteed EVERYWHERE, and letting businesses find additional benefits to differentiate themselves with?
      • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
        Thanks for your comments, congress1902. -Moderator
      • Tyson_512 about 1 year ago
        "Your Darwinian explanation that those businesses with smaller profit margins will be competed out does not always bare out. That's a different argument. I think you are proving the answer to the question "will this hurt businesses?". Based on the additional "economic friction" that Austin will put on these enterprises the answer is YES. You may think the trade-off is fair. I don;t."--------And that's fine, what benefits you is what you'll consider "fair." Lots of employers consider $7.25 "fair", while workers will consider $15 or above "fair." An employer might consider 0 days of sick leave fair, while workers might think taking as many as they need is fair. But hey, life's not fair - welcome to life and politics. This is a policy that the majority of workers and the majority of Austinites like, so we're going to fight for it and win it. If you want to say "no fair!" as you pay us better wages and give us sick leave, that's fine by us.
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments, DanielB. -Moderator
  • masonayer about 1 year ago
    I appreciate the intent behind mandating paid sick time, but in reality this policy will have the effect of punishing businesses that already do right by their team members and offer paid sick time. I am the CEO of a restaurant group that employs 600+ Austinites, and in a jobs market with 2% unemployment one of our competitive advantages is the fact we offer paid sick time across the board to all team members. We really stand out because of this and it would hurt our hiring practices if every restaurant could say they offer comparable benefits. Wouldn't it be better to let businesses choose on their own whether to do the right thing and allow those of us that do to shine and those that don't to suffer the consequences?
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    • smallrestaurant about 1 year ago
      This is a great example of a point I made earlier. Mason's group is in a better position to compete in the job market than we are. I'm betting we've had prospective employees go with one of his restaurants because they provided a better package. (As an aside, I'm also betting their success is primarily a function of maturity due to a longer time in the business.) The business climate in Austin provides a natural and organic lever for me to compete for those better employees and I do so - to the extent that I can at the moment. A mandate forces me to provide an additional benefit (read "cost") at a time that I and other employers may be unable to afford to do so.
    • Tyson_512 about 1 year ago
      As a smart and successful business owner I'm sure you can find other things to offer your employees. This is like complaining about a minimum wage because it would hurt your higher-paying business in attracting employees; maybe that's a concern for you but it definitely doesn't concern workers. We'll look forward to you competing for us with even better benefits than paid sick leave, and we trust you're clever enough to come up with them.
  • Typical Austinite about 1 year ago
    This question presumes that one already agrees that the City of Austin should make this requirement. I do not agree that COA should. I am a small business owner and already provide a reasonable amount of sick time to my employees. This is based upon my financial ability to do so and what the rest of my competitors are doing to retain quality staff. There is no clear cut or fair way that the COA can determine what a business owner can afford to do. This type of legislation is not the mandate of City Government, and is very heavy handed.
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    • Ep Ep about 1 year ago
      Employers who already provide paid sick leave will be punished by the mandate: possible additional sick leave payroll and payroll taxes, cost to report and prove compliance, possible cost for compliance mistake penalties, possible cost for lawsuits from employees who feel wronged.
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      • Zhukov about 1 year ago
        No cost is a trivial cost to small business. As Ep Ep noted, it's the additional requirements that substantially increase costs.
    • robert about 1 year ago
      Totally spot on. The questions themselves are biased. Typical for City of Austin
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      • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
        Hi, Robert--please be advised that these questions come directly from the resolution adopted unanimously by the Austin City Council (http://www.austintexas.gov/edims/document.cfm?id=286396). -Moderator
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        • robert about 1 year ago
          The questions clearly assume this should happen.
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          • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
            I'll share that feedback with the Austin City Council. -Moderator
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            • VAF84 about 1 year ago
              I'd like to second what Robert said. I came across this on NextDoor. It said, "City seeking input on paid sick leave policy", then referred me here to voice my thoughts (since I can't make the meeting). Let me tell you how outraged I am when I find out that the question does not ask what our input is on the topic, but rather how we think it should be implemented. It is extremely biased. Not only that, but it just re-enforces the idea that our COA representatives are engaged in group think without consideration of the thoughts of the very people this policy will affect, or their constituents in general. I suggest whoever is coming up with these ideas go and speak to all of their constituents not just the ones who will reinforce their viewpoints. Especially those who will foot the bill. A feel good regulation is of no use to the city if either the employers or tax base disappear.
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              • TurboSpencer about 1 year ago
                Yes! Isn't this ridiculous! I saw this on my NextDoor app as well. I am not a small business owner but had heard about this awhile back on the news. Thought I would be coming to this site to say this should be rejected and it looks from the questions like it is a done deal. Really really outrageous!
              • Mabear about 1 year ago
                This is blatant government overreach! Which part of "PRIVATE" employers do you not understand? City of Austin BUTT OUT!
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                • Joseph_George about 1 year ago
                  Removed by moderator.
                • TheRationalAtheist about 1 year ago
                  City of Austin already provides a variety of services to businesses. You should think of it as a reversal of a subsidy to the employers who do NOT already pay sick leave - i.e., justice being done.
              • RWarwick about 1 year ago
                Yes, I totally agree. It is clearly biased.
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments; can you share more about how you decide how much sick time to your employees? Do you provide it as distinct time off separate from vacation? -Moderator
    • erothbauer about 1 year ago
      Our local co-ops are small, successful businesses that support the paid sick leave resolution. Maybe all you business owners should follow their example and transition to the co-op model, instead of whining about how the government might not allow you to exploit people for profit.
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      • Typical Austinite about 1 year ago
        Eroth, you are making some very unfounded and rash judgements here. I am a small business owner and also an active member of several co-ops here in Central Texas. One of the most successful Co-ops here in Austin, Wheatsville Food Coop, had a labor dispute over wages and benefits just within the last few years (Look it up). So, your rosey over generalization about Co-ops is not supported by facts. They too struggle finding a balance between the economic realities of running a business and providing wages/benefits for the staff.Either way, the main issue here is that they worked out that labor issue internally and without the need for City legislation. Further and again, (if you read the comment I made, and to which you have replied) I too already provide paid sick leave to my employees. I also do not need anyone, especially not the City, telling me what is right for my employees or my business. I have employees that have worked with me and my company for decades, raised their children and sent them to college; all of this is a product of the supposed "exploitation" you have indicated that I must be guilty of because I dared to open my own business.
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        • erothbauer about 1 year ago
          Key members of the Austin Cooperative Business Association stand behind the proposed sick leave policy. They even publicly voiced their support prior to the resolution vote. I never said that co-ops don't contend with a difficult economic climate. I never said they don't have internal disputes. The whole reason they tend to make ethical business decisions in tough circumstances (without government interference) is precisely because they're cooperatively owned. Until every business is a worker co-op, we need the city government to step in and provide valuable worker protections, such as the paid sick leave ordinance.
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          • Typical Austinite about 1 year ago
            Eroth, once again your comments are over-generalized, naive, insulting and worst of all, prejudicial. First and foremost, to say that the only ethical businesses (or business owners) are the members of Co-ops is a ridiculous statement. There is no difference between your blanket statement about the presumed ethics of every single conventional business owner, than any of the other thousands of racial, gender, sexual or class stereotypes and biases our society struggles with. Yours are equally unfounded and dangerous presumptions. Your comments are further made ridiculous by the presumption that no one can act ethically on this issue without the intercession of the government. It fails to recognize all of the ethical businesses, like mine, and business owners who already provide PTO, health insurance, bonuses, sick leave, etc., to their employees. I treat our staff fairly and reasonably because it is not only the right thing to do, but it is also good business. Others that make similar decisions (and they are already the majority of business owners) do so because their moral compass guides them in this direction and it is sustainable by their business model. I too believe Co-ops have a place in our economy. Again, I am a member of several and support their mission and objectives. However, they are not the end-all and be-all that you suggest. To choose to go into business and to choose a Cooperative business model or a conventional one are choices afforded us by The Constitution and The Bill of Rights. However, neither of those choices -in themselves- guarantees that those businesses will or will not be run ethically, successfully or for the benefit of the employees or community. These are all products of the skill, foresight, tenacity and yes, morals and values of the people who start and run them. Legislation like this, however well intentioned, will not make a person become moral or force them to share your values. If a person is inclined to exploit their workforce, it is highly likely they will be similarly inclined to skirt an ordinance or law that they believe does not suit them. It happens all of the time, every day. In this instance, I can confidently tell you that an ordinance like what the city is proposing will be largely ineffective. Further, it will do more harm than good to both the local businesses who already provide these benefits to the their employees within their means (and that are the heart of the livability of our wonderful city), and those in the workforce that you intend to help. There are two much better approaches than a law or prescriptive ordinance. The first is to incentivize and reward companies to offer PTO, not create laws to punish them if they can't or don't. There are myriad ways to do this. It is not rocket science to know that you will catch more flies with honey than with Sh@t. The second is to personally support the companies that already provide this benefit to their employees, and do not purchase products or services from those that do not. I like the suggestion by one of the other commenters on here that the role of The city should be limited to requiring companies to report or advertise if they provide PTO or not, and then have a database online.
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            • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
              Thanks for your extensive comments, Typical Austinite. Please keep your language clean. -Moderator
            • erothbauer about 1 year ago
              What business do you own, Typical Austinite? I'd love to ask your workers how they feel about the paid sick leave ordinance. I'm willing to bet that even if they have wonderful benefits, as you claim, they have friends and family members who are struggling to pay the bills, and whose lives would be significantly improved by this ordinance.
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              • Typical Austinite about 1 year ago
                Your last comments are just more speculation by someone who has no actual facts to support their opinion. Further, you dare to judge people and circumstances in which you have no actual knowledge.The reality that you fail to see is that I too struggle to pay my bills and these include paying for the Health Insurance and other benefits that I already provide to my employees. This year, health insurance alone will increase nearly 25%. As a employer of less than 50 current employees, I am not required to provide any of this. So, insurance and the other benefits I provide are completely voluntary. During the recession, I cut my own salary in order to continue to provide the same level of salaries and benefits coverage to keep my commitment to these valuable employees and their families.In turn, My employees are very grateful and reciprocate the loyalty that has been shown to them. Many of them working for me for over a decade through thick and thin.I'm sorry that your cynical view of the world prohibits you from seeing that it is possible for decent, mature people in a conventional business situation to work with each other towards sustainable and livable wages and benefits without the government (and people like you) presuming that we have to be told to do so.I imagine that the real shocker for you is that, as a business owner, I am not as unique as you would like to believe. This great city is already filled with business owners like me, and thus this is precisely the point that most of the people that object to this ordinance are trying to say.Now, what have you done that makes you such an expert on every else's business, including mine?Have you ever owned a business of your own? In over 20 years, I have successfully kept my business afloat during three downturns in the economy. I have provided jobs for nearly 200 employees in that time, and only had to layoff 2 people because of economics. Have you done this or anything remotely like this?
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                • TheRationalAtheist about 1 year ago
                  I think business owners should treat basic benefits they're not required to provide yet as subsidies. If you're not paying a living wage, if you're not providing healthcare, if you're not giving your employees paid sick leave, you're being subsidised by the rest of us tax payers. I don't think that's very fair to the tax payer to leave these lavish gifts for a few people. The right solution is to level the playing field and provide basic services to the people of Austin. Enjoy your day.
    • Timothy Bray about 1 year ago
      If every business is requiered to do it you lose any competitive disadvantage from it.This is why we create minimum workplace standards to avoid a race to the bottom.
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      • Typical Austinite about 1 year ago
        Tim, on the surface your comment would appear to be correct. However, it is not. It would only be correct if all of my competitors are exactly the same size, with exactly the same number of employees (and salaries), same overhead, same same rent, charged the same fees, etc. I regularly compete against companies many times my size who have entirely different financial circumstances. This is another one of the problems when one tries to apply a blanket policy like this, and PRECISELY why many on here have said it will most assuredly, negatively damage small, local businesses.
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        • TheRationalAtheist about 1 year ago
          I think the fact you're required to compete against these bigger companies is the problem. Maybe you should compete with your direct competitors instead, so you're not overstretching yourself and forcing people to go to work sick. Just a thought, enjoy your night! - the Rational Atheist.
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          • Typical Austinite about 1 year ago
            Rational Atheist.... Your comments are absolutely disconnected from both the facts of this discussion, as well as reality. "Forcing people to go to work sick"..... If you read (and understood) my original comments, you would see that I already provide paid sick leave to my employees and have for 20 years. What I object to is having the City add another layer of beauracracy and management cost to something I am already doing. Second, if I already have an established small business here providing goods or services, and a much larger competitor comes into town providing the same goods or services; please tell me how am I supposed to "not" compete with them? Just close my doors? Well thank you Mr. Rational Walmart (aka Mr. Rational Starbucks). This is precisely the argument that most people who object to this ordinance are trying to make. Blanket legislation like this does not "level" the playing field. Rather it overburdens smaller local business and it will cause them to raise prices or maybe, as you suggest, "just not compete" with their bigger competitors anymore and close their doors. Wow.... that is a very good solution. Thank you and enjoy your evening.
          • smallrestaurant about 1 year ago
            Just how would you propose competition be restricted in such a way? Let's make it easy. How do you propose to create conditions such that small restaurants such as mine don't compete against chains?
    • mturpin about 1 year ago
      The COA does not care what you think. I went to the first "discussion" meeting and it was completely one sided. It was a set up so they can say that we as a community discussed and decided that sick pay is a good idea. This is a very corrupt city council that solicits only feedback that they want to hear. The entire idea is a tax on business that will hamper economic growth in Austin.
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      • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
        Hi, mturpin: we will be happy to provide you with notes from the meeting, which documented the multiple perspectives on this issue, both for and against a policy. -Moderator
      • Tyson_512 about 1 year ago
        No, these forums online and by phone, and at 4:00PM meetings instead of after work, make it much easier for older, wealthier, and more tech-savvy people to have their say compared to low-wage workers. The fact that the city still thinks sick leave is a good idea despite that sampling bias shows just how obviously good Paid Sick Leave is.
      • Typical Austinite about 1 year ago
        MTurpin, thanks for your comments. I would not go so far to characterize City Council as corrupt. However, I am comfortable in saying that I believe they are misguided and wrong headed about this issue. Further, I believe that are overreaching on both their mandate as well as their mission. Thanks again, keep speaking up.
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        • TheRationalAtheist about 1 year ago
          I think you should be more charitable to your elected officials. Discussions in good faith are the foundation of our democracy. I'm sure they're doing their best to help Austinites, and I really don't think either of us has more knowledge about the subtleties of the legal mandate to lecture them. Have a good night -- The Rational Atheist.
    • Tyson_512 about 1 year ago
      "This is based upon my financial ability to do so and what the rest of my competitors are doing to retain quality staff. "Your competitors will also need to pay sick leave, so your margins relative to them won't change at all. If providing some paid sick leave to your employees will break your business, and you're not a good enough businessman to adapt, you're probably not profitable anyway and should gracefully exit the marketplace.
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      • Typical Austinite about 1 year ago
        Tyson, that may be but thankfully this is not your choice. Do you own a business?
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        • TheRationalAtheist about 1 year ago
          Removed by moderator.
      • Tyson_512 about 1 year ago
        "Tyson, that may be but thankfully this is not your choice"---No, it absolutely is my choice. I'm a worker in Austin and I will fight for policies that benefit me as a worker. I want higher wages, more sick days, more vacation days, and better healthcare. That's good for me and for my family.Maybe you as (at least on the internet) an employer want to pay me less, give me no sick days, and pay little if anything for health insurance. That's your choice, and I see you're gonna fight for it - but there's more workers than there are business owners, and we're not going to let you make all the rules. We've done that long enough in this country.
    • Maryd about 1 year ago
      I agree. The city government should not be mandating how private businesses are run.
  • cwtoliver about 1 year ago
    Removed by moderator.
  • cwtoliver about 1 year ago
    Where is the question that asked if I agree or disagree with this proposal? The only questions asked here are how it is to be administered. I highly disagree with this. COA should not be involved in mandating what benefits a private company offer.
  • young-worker about 1 year ago
    Many of my friends work as tipped workers in food service, temporary jobs, contract work like construction, and I work part-time. All of us should have paid sick days, because many of these jobs are very *physical* labor, many coworkers have kids that depend on them and need consistent income to make rent, and we're handling food and interacting with customers... It just makes sense to provide paid sick across the board. What happens if you show up to your construction job sick? You could hurt your self or your coworkers, and an injury like that costs everyone more--including taxpayers, btw, when an injury needs to be covered by the city because a lot of low-wage workers can't afford costly medical care. Isn't it so much better to encourage people to take paid time off when they are feeling really unwell? Avoid the long-term health issues people experience and have healthier, more productive people out there in the workforce, save taxpayers $.Also--this policy is the MINIMUM. 1 hr for every 30, or 9 days for full-time workers throughout the year? People who say this isn't feasible are kidding themselves...businesses can definitely afford this, and if paid sick days were provided across industries, there would be an even playing field so companies wouldn't have to worry about competitors who do less for their workers. For example, at my old food service job, we didn't have paid sick leave as part-time workers, and the big grocery store chain that hired us would intentionally keep us from going full-time in order to not have to provide paid sick days. If this becomes a standard across companies, our big profitable employer wouldn't have to worry about competitors that don't provide paid sick.My biggest concern is for tipped workers and contract workers (often in construction). I think tipped workers should be ensured that they'll get paid something like the average hourly wage calculated through the aggregate of their paychecks, not just the minimum they'd get before tips. It needs to be more than just their tips or the minimum wage of $7.25/hr, because it would be a huge disservice to them to say they can take 'paid sick leave' to be able to get a consistent income when they're sick, but then pay them less on those sick days than they usually make. For contract workers, y'all need to talk to advocates who work directly with construction workers like the Workers Defense Project to figure out how to track their hours worked for different employers and make this policy effective for them. Finally, many companies only hire us part-time (as I mentioned above) because they don't have to provide us more benefits. For that reason, we part-timers need this too. Thanks for providing this forum opportunity!
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    • young-worker about 1 year ago
      If it wasn't clear from my username, when I say 'many of my friends' I'm mostly talking about late teens, ppl in their twenties and thirties. I should also mention that when I did have to take several unpaid sick days off after an injury, my employer forced me to get a doctor's note to prove I was ill. This simple visit with my crappy insurance cost me several hundred dollars, and as a worker making $10.50 an hour that put me back a week and a half or so, on top of my several missed days. A paid sick leave policy would have allowed this to be avoided, and I hope the policy will include that employers pay for the hospital visit if they require it. These issues made it so that rent, food and other basic necessities were at serious risk, and if I had kids depending on me as most of my coworkers did, that would have been even worse. On the other hand, if I'd shown up at work with my injury (I looked up online the healing rate for ppl after my injury type for those who immediately go to work or take time off), and stood on hard floors while serving food for hours on end, I would have had months more of chronic physical pain and probably more doctors visits/physical therapy. I would see my coworkers getting each other sick all the time when cooking and serving food because they have to come to work to pay for the basics even when they're sick. It's very sad. Just gotta make sure it's loud and clear that we need this.
  • lillian_m about 1 year ago
    All workers: full-time, part-time, temporary. Everyone gets sick so everyone that works should be given time to recover.
  • RWarwick about 1 year ago
    This should be handled between employer and employee. If you don't like their policies, don't work for them. Get a job at another company. It is a free country. Adding a government policy for everything for which you have an opinion is a very slippery slope and does not end until it is no longer a free country.
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    • Tyson_512 about 1 year ago
      "This should be handled between employer and employee. If you don't like their policies, don't work for them. Get a job at another company."Do you feel this way about minimum wage or child labor laws? What about kitchen sanitation requirements or OSHA standards? " It is a free country."What in the world is free about having to choose between several employers, none of whom offer sick leave, in order to keep a roof over your head and food in your kid's mouths? That's freedom for a handful of bosses, not for us.
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      • ps about 1 year ago
        Someone earlier said that 60% of Austin businesses pay sick leave. Youre saying that none do. You two should talk about why youre both on the same side stating drastically different statistics. It makes it hard to take either of you seriously in an honest debate. You cant just have anything that sounds good to you spew out of your mouth and hope people believe you. You're discrediting yourselves.
    • TheRationalAtheist about 1 year ago
      I disagree. I think our employers are too burdened with other tasks to worry about paid sick leaves. Having a simple, universal policy clears up their thinking and allows them to work more efficiently at making our country great. Thanks for your input though -- The Rational Atheist.
  • ps about 1 year ago
    As a small employer I already provide all the benefits I can afford. With this additional benefit being forced on me I can either not hire, reduce pay, cut other benefits or raise prices.
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    • fastfoodworker about 1 year ago
      Part of being a business owner is making those decisions based on the market environments you operate within. No one is saying that this ordinance will come with ZERO friction, just that the friction is perfectly manageable within a competent, competitive firm. If you can't afford to save one hour of pay for every thirty that a worker produces for you, in order to cover the cost of something as basic as sickness, then why should we allow such a firm to exist? Should we lower the minimum wage and exempt such small businesses from OSHA standards as well? Perhaps environmental regulations too?
      Hide Replies (4)
      • ps about 1 year ago
        Why shouldn't the employee be responsible for putting away 1 hour of pay for every 30 days of work? Why not put the regulation on them and that way they can change jobs and keep the money they saved up. Whatever happened to personal responsibility and saving for a rainy day?Please don't try to tell me that you're ALLOWING my business to exist. Who do you think you are? I've never asked a single person to ALLOW my business to exist. I've earned every customer and every dollar with hard work. All this will do is what I already said. You think you'll get an extra benefit at your employers expense but you'll just end up with less wages or higher costs at businesses you allow to exist.
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        • fastfoodworker about 1 year ago
          Society as a whole allows your business to exist, not any one person. Society gets to set the standards on how businesses operate, not vice versa. Employers should be mandated to provide paid sick leave in the same way other important standards are mandated. This reform is modest and cheap. If it puts a firm out of business, the firm was already poorly run anyway and the gap will be filled by a stronger, better managed firm that can abide by basic labor standards and regulations.
      • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
        Thanks for your comments, fastfoodworker. From your perspective, what employees should be specifically covered under a policy like this? For instance, should it only be for hourly employees, temporary workers, service workers, or all workers? Are there specific types of employees not mentioned that should be considered? Please be as specific as you can. -Moderator
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        • fastfoodworker about 1 year ago
          All workers should be covered, including temporary workers. The time temp workers earn for each company should be matched by the temp agency and available for each temp worker to use regardless of the company they currently work for.
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for those comments, ps. Do you currently offer your employees paid sick leave? If so, how do you offer it (i.e., how much, etc.) and if not, why not? -Moderator
      Hide Replies (11)
      • ps about 1 year ago
        We don't offer sick leave because we pay some of the highest wages in the industry, 80% of a good health insurance plan, holidays and vacation. Not to mention a lot of other more personal perks that come with working at a well respected business. If you force us to add more benefits then others will go away. It's that simple. We don't offer sick leave because people will abuse it. If I offer paid vacation or holidays then it's scheduled and the business can plan around it. If I'm forced to offer sick leave then every hangover will be a paid day off that I wasn't able to plan for. Every day someone wakes up and feels lazy and wants to go fishing will be a sick day while the business is left blowing in the wind. I think that it's common knowledge that employees will show up for work sick so they can use their sick days for fun. Does part of your policy require the employee to visit a doctor since his/her illness is preventing them from working?
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        • fastfoodworker about 1 year ago
          So the truth is that it isn't unfeasible, it's just that you don't trust your workers and think them lazy liars. It's also pretty clear you haven't looked into how Earned Sick Leave actually functions. Workers would earn their paid sick leave over time, which they could then use as they see fit. If they use it frivolously, then they won't have it when they need it. If management has so little trust over their workers that they need to see a note, they should be asked to cover the cost of the visit to the doctor, since so many workers also lack access to health insurance and a trip to the doctor simply for a note would be a tremendous burden for many, many workers.
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          • ps about 1 year ago
            You obviously have never had employees fastfoodworker. Or a business. Right?
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            • Nicole Stasek about 1 year ago
              Over 40 cities in the United States mandate paid sick leave and roughly 60% of employers in Austin already offer it and their businesses still manage to stay afloat. Perhaps you should consider learning how to operate your business from their model once the policy is in place.
              Hide Replies (7)
              • ps about 1 year ago
                Look, I started my business 30 years ago without a penny to my name and you're going to tell me that I don't know how to run my business? Read what I wrote. If they pass this then wages will suffer and/or prices will go up. The money has to come from somewhere. I never said my business will go under or that I couldn't adapt. Why are you asserting that? What I'm trying to tell you is that employees and customers will be the ones who pay for it. The city and state both offer jobs in the same field as mine with great benefits at about 20-30k a year less. If an employee would rather go there then it's great that they have that option. It's also great that if they are more motivated and hard working and independent that they should be rewarded with employment choices and higher wages. I don't know where you get the 60% number from but I wonder how many of those jobs are lower paying government jobs. Do you want me to match city or state pay and benefits? Fine. That'll be more money in my pocket. It'll also mean different employee challenges because I'll lose the goods ones to a company outside the city limits that has less restrictions. What I'm saying is leave us alone. We're all fighting for the best employees. If a competitor offers better benefits than me and I lose out on good employees then I have to match that. I don't need the city telling me how to compete. I've already been doing that for a long time. I'm better at my job than they would be. I'm not a bad person because I don't offer paid sick leave. I'm a good person for offering higher pay and other better benefits to employees who are looking for those things. Let the employees and employers have choices.
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                • rclick about 1 year ago
                  Spot on, ps. I hope you will speak at the public hearing Thursday night.
                • TurboSpencer about 1 year ago
                  Well said!
                • RWarwick about 1 year ago
                  Very well said. You are correct, but unfortunately anyone who has not created or grown a business (created jobs) simply can not (or will not) truly understand what you are saying. That is what worries me about our City Council asking this question. I don't get the feeling they are trying to understand the true ramifications of what they are proposing. They appear to just be looking for people who agree with it based on the theme of the moderators responses.
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                  • TheRationalAtheist about 1 year ago
                    I think what he's saying is really easy to understand, but I disagree with his premiss, rendering his argument false! I have outlined my thinking below. I think the City Of Austin is doing a great job, and I wish them luck on their endeavour -- The Rational Atheist.
                • TheRationalAtheist about 1 year ago
                  I think you're basing your thinking on a wrong set of assumptions. If you're not able to pay paid sick leave, you're not making enough money to run a business - fair and simple! Some are just not cut out to be businesspeople, even though our country gives everyone a turn. It's not me telling you this - it's the market. Have a great day though -- The Rational Atheist.
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                  • ps about 1 year ago
                    Let me explain to you why that's nonsense. First of all you must have never owned a business. If you had then you would understand that they all compete for customers and employees. That competition centers around money. If overhead increases then so do prices and employee incentives are likely to drop too. Why is that so difficult to understand? Maybe try to look at it this way since the city council wants this to pass. If the city wants new schools or to improve infrastructure do they sell their home and cut their own pay? No. They raise taxes, sell bonds, etc. They pass the the costs on to the taxpayers. So why would it be any different for business owners? Im not tryingto save my business or myself money. Im trying to save customers and employees money.
  • TheRationalAtheist about 1 year ago
    Greetings.I think all people in Austin should be covered by the paid sick policy. Paid Sick Leave is a necessary reform, like Health and Safety regulations and minimum wage. It's a small measure (average costs per worker would be capped at several paydays per year) that can have a lot of impact in people's lives. It would protect the most vulnerable in our community - especially those with families and on low salaries. No exceptions should be made.Salutations.
  • Phil Thoden about 1 year ago
    I am writing on behalf of the Austin Associated General Contractors (AGC), a trade association of commercial builders with 250 company members employing over 10,000 people in the Central Texas economy. The Austin AGC believes that the decision whether to offer paid sick leave is best left up to employers as part of their efforts to recruit a workforce. But given that some form of a paid sick leave policy appears likely to be approved by the City Council in 2018, the AGC would like to share the following concerns of the commercial construction industry for consideration: 1) Who will be subject to this new requirement? Will it only apply to construction companies based in Austin, or will it apply to any construction worker on an Austin jobsite? The construction workforce is nomadic, moving regularly from jobsite to jobsite as needed on a daily, weekly or longer basis. This creates challenging and time-consuming HR oversight for employers trying to account for accrued sick-time. In this regard, construction is much different than other industries where employees stay in the same location throughout the work period. Further, if Austin-based companies are required to provide sick leave even for workers on jobs outside the city, they will be at a competitive disadvantage when bidding against other firms not required to provide sick leave.2) Many companies offer paid time off (PTO) that is available to employees for any reason. Will these firms be forced to switch to a sick leave policy? Many firms already offer a paid leave benefit that can be used for a variety of personal reasons, not just for illness. Will workers at those firms lose this benefit and subsequently have to feign “illness” to take a personal day? Consideration should be given to companies that offer PTO, and they should be exempted from offering sick leave. 3) Will prime contractors be liable for subcontractor violations? Determining whether a subcontractor is abiding by this sick leave policy is impossible for prime and upper-tier contractors. A prime contractor has no available means to determine whether or not a subcontractor happens to be working for that prime contractor at the time of the sick leave request. Under carryover provisions of a sick leave policy, subcontractor violations can occur years after the relationship between subcontractor and prime contractor has ended. There needs to be a ‘safe harbor” for prime contractors to protect them from any wrongdoing on the part of a subcontractor.4) Will companies working under a collective bargaining agreement be exempt? Some construction workers are covered under collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) and have the ability to negotiate these sick leave benefits if they choose. Some may opt not to include paid sick time in lieu of higher wages. If the City decides not to exempt CBA’s, they will be interfering with these workers right to negotiate and could adversely affect the outcome of those negotiations. 5) Will different cities around Texas begin offering varying forms of sick leave? Currently 17 states have laws that prohibit cities from developing these types labor laws. The reason behind these restrictions is because these states understand that asking businesses to comply with different laws in each city adds a significant administrative burden. These increased costs limit the company’s ability to invest in expansion, new technologies or raise wages. Adding another regulatory burden for Austin employers encourages economic growth elsewhere.6) Who will monitor/enforce this new policy? Will the City hire professional staff to monitor and enforce this new policy? Or, will the City hand off this power to an outside 3rd party, either a private consultant or a non-governmental organization? 7) What about the benefit of overtime pay? While hourly construction workers may not typically have the benefit of paid sick leave, they do enjoy the benefit of overtime (at a rate of one-and-a-half time their hourly rate) and also double time pay. Meanwhile, salaried employees do not have this benefit. This is an important consideration when attempting to level a playing field between hourly and salaried employee benefits. 8) In what increments can sick time be used? Due to the scheduling needs of construction work and the number of people required on a crew, allowing the use of sick time in small increments is challenging. Construction companies should be given flexibility to determine the increments as feasible for their work.
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    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments and questions, Phil; I'll be sure Council receives them, and to the extent answers are available, I will let you know. In the meantime, if you/AGC have your own answers, please share here. -Moderator
    • RWarwick about 1 year ago
      I for one appreciate the thoroughness of your feedback. I also agree with it.
    • Nicole Stasek about 1 year ago
      Overtime is not a benefit. Being paid time and a half or double time for overtime work is also not a benefit, it's a right mandated by the government.As a construction worker covered by a CBA, I wholeheartedly welcome this policy and will advocate that it covers ALL workers, regardless if they are organized or not. Considering that the paid sick leave policies in over 40 cities across the nation are incredibly modest, the cost of implementing it should not affect a contractor's ability to pay their workers a living wage and further increase pay alongside the increasing cost of living in Austin, granted they are operating a viable business.Construction workers are no different than any other kind of worker- we have doctors appointments, children to take care of, injuries and illnesses to recover from, domestic violence issues to address, incarcerated family to visit. These issues do not dissappear for us in light of construction schedules. We already attend to these and miss work without paid sick leave, and it's incredibly difficult to recover from financially. We are the ones actually doing the work of building and maintaining the structures and deserve to have some financial security in the face of these problems.I think you bring up a lot of important questions. In response to your question regarding the nature of scheduling and size of crews needed- paid sick days should be accrued. If a worker is laid off, the hours earned should be cashed out with their last paycheck.
    • Tyson_512 about 1 year ago
      " Who will monitor/enforce this new policy? Will the City hire professional staff to monitor and enforce this new policy?"Do you ask this same question over every other regulation? When workers fought for weekends, the end of child labor and a minimum wage, were people complaining about "oh no, we need some staff at the federal, state or municipal level to enforce this!"? If there needs to be staff to enforce the laws, that's fine and manageable - it's never been an issue for any other worker rights. Compared to the absurdly bloated budget of APD, enforcing some minimum sick day rules - which workers can report themselves - is nothing. It's not a real concern whatsoever, and this comes across as trying to get corporate bosses happy with your union.Workers don't want or need exemptions, we're not stressed about the trivial issue of enforcement. Again, like that's ever been a reason not to support other common-sense regulations.
  • sbz about 1 year ago
    This policy should apply to everyone. Everyone is prone to illness, regardless of what industry they work in or whether their job is temporary or hourly. Anyone who works should have the right take a day to care for themselves or their children when they need to - and they should be able to do so without worrying about being able to make rent that month. People with no earned sick leave are highly likely to go to work sick or to send their kids to school sick, which can be a public health risk.
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    • MartinAustin about 1 year ago
      I am unaware of any worker who is required to work every day, sick or not. Everyone is different and we all make different choices. Understanding that sickness is inevitable, the responsible thing to do is to anticipate that need and make provision for it. No one is dependent on an employer or government to do it. As it is now, a worker is free to negotiate whatever benefits they want or choose an employer willing to do so. Mandating these choices shows a preference for some workers over others and is antithetical to individual freedom.
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      • sbz about 1 year ago
        I would argue the opposite: NOT mandating sick leave shows a preference for some workers over others. Many workers--particularly in low-wage industries--risk being fired if they take a day off when they get sick. Even if they don't get fired, they won't get paid, which could leave them unable to pay the bills. Additionally, many workplaces discriminate against people who are chronically ill, have disabilities, have families, etc by not allowing sick leave to be used for taking care of sick children, preventative care, or care for chronic conditions. Getting the care you need shouldn't depend on your wage level, the industry you work in, or the type of illness you suffer from.As for workers being free to negotiate the benefits they need or choose an employer that gives appropriate benefits - we all know that many people don't have this choice. If this method worked, then we wouldn't be in a position where more than a third of Austinites--most of them low-income--don't have sick leave.
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        • MartinAustin about 1 year ago
          No. I offered employees paid leave but not paid sick leave. It was up to them how they used it. If I had to offer paid sick leave too, I would have to reduce the paid leave or eliminate it. How is that better? It isn't.
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          • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
            Thanks for your comments, sbz and MartinAustin. MartinAustin, can you clarify what you mean? Why would you have had to eliminate paid leave if you offered paid sick leave? -Moderator
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            • MartinAustin about 1 year ago
              Leave of any kind, paid or unpaid, is compensation at the expense of the employer. The employer determines the value of the work performed by the employee. If the current compensation reflects that value and the City mandates sick leave that is not currently a part of the compensation paid, the employer can be expected to reduce other forms of compensation. The overall value of the job will not change so the added cost will force an adjustment elsewhere, and this could be regular paid leave that may be used for any purpose.
          • petico about 1 year ago
            An answer might be to require x much sick leave but consider that an employer who permits x much paid leave (that can be used as sick or other leave) HAS met the requirement.
      • Sound_Reasoning about 1 year ago
        You are not aware of people forced to work while ill? How do I get into this bubble of privilege? Welcome to Austin. Libertarian values aren’t the values of the City.
    • Ep Ep about 1 year ago
      What happens when the employee uses all sick hours and has to deal with a sickness? It happens all the time.
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      • MartinAustin about 1 year ago
        I agree. Arguments for paid sick leave do not withstand scrutiny. If someone is chronically ill and cannot maintain a job, they are "disabled." There are programs for the disabled. Some argue that people need "sick leave" to care for others, which shows that they are want to take off work when they themselves are NOT sick. If a husband or wife stays home as a full-time parent and the other spouse works, that couple might be better off if the working spouse is paid more instead of receiving paid sick leave as part of compensation. The city's proposed compulsory sick leave denies this family that opportunity.
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        • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
          Thanks for your comments, MartinAustin. To clarify--do you believe that sick leave should not be used by employees caring for an ill spouse, child, or parent? -Moderator
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          • MartinAustin about 1 year ago
            How sick leave should be used is a matter for the employer and employee, not the City or me. Proponents often argue that a person shouldn't be "forced" to work when they are sick. And then some argue that it should be used when the worker is not sick. This shows just how people wrongly perceive this as a "benefit" without any cost and one to be exploited for reasons other than ones stated. I have offices in Austin and surrounding cities. If the city passes what is essentially an unfunded mandate, I will have a disincentive from employing anyone in Austin. Advocates ignore this consequence of the so-called benefit.
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            • Sound_Reasoning about 1 year ago
              Are your profit margins that small? You’ll leave the Capital City (and revenue from it) because of a few paid days a year (that would keep contagious workers from coming into work?)
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              • MartinAustin about 1 year ago
                The size of my margins is irrelevant. It appears you acknowledge a mandate would add costs. If this cost enhanced my business, I would already do it without a threat of force. If it doesn't enhance my business, I must do what I do in every other instance and find some way to offset it. When you are in a competitive market, this is essential. "Leaving" the city doesn't mean I don't serve clients in it. I shift employees where I can elsewhere, where I already operate. Technology makes this increasingly possible. Finally, I do not ask sick employees to work. I afford leave that is earned by working. Assuming the employee doesn't squander their leave, they can use it when sick. That is their business. If they exhaust their leave, then they must take time off without pay. Either way, no one is coming to work sick. Arguing that the cost of paid leave is so insignificant for the employer while claiming it is enormously important for employees is contradictory. It is also a gross generalization that simply does not apply to all jobs in Austin.
                Hide Replies (4)
                • Sound_Reasoning about 1 year ago
                  Okay, so you can afford to continue giving your staff paid time off as you have been only with some added nuance. If you openly support giving workers ethical treatment of paid time off, advertise that fact & that will appeal to customers. I’m not the only person in this market that spends money informed on my values.
                  Hide Replies (3)
                  • MartinAustin about 1 year ago
                    I don't agree with the characterization of paid time off as "ethical treatment." That implies that other forms of compensation are less ethical. When I offer a job and it is accepted, that is a bargain we strike as consenting adults. If we choose for the hourly compensation to be higher in lieu of other benefits, that is not unethical. It is just another choice. If I have a good employee, their value to the company is what motivates me to satisfy their desires and reward them, not some metaphysical concept of ethics adopted by politicians.
                  • TurboSpencer about 1 year ago
                    So there is the solution. Without having this mandate, why doesn't the city just say that businesses should advertise whether employers have paid sick leave. And then leave the decision to the consumers. Problem solved. Let's see how many people will pay the higher prices. I buy organic foods at the grocery store and incur the higher prices, but I don't try to force everyone else to buy organic (better for the environment) produce!
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                    • RWarwick about 1 year ago
                      Good point. I agree.
      • petico about 1 year ago
        As in most jobs with paid sick leave, I imagine the new requirement would have a limited number of days. No, the employer cannot continue paying wages indefinitely. But should offer SOME sick leave to accommodate normal needs.
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments--can you clarify? Should this apply to employees of all employers in the city of Austin? -Moderator
  • Mark McKim about 1 year ago
    I believe the city should pass as far-reaching of a paid sick day policy as possible. There are approximately 200,000 Austin area workers who don't currently receive any paid sick days, including myself. I am a Substitute Teacher with Austin ISD and don't receive any benefits such as health insurance, paid sick days, or bereavement days. There are approximately 3,000 substitute teachers in the district and for many of us, this is our full time job and we deserve to receive some level of paid sick leave. As we know, the majority of construction, service and retail sector jobs do not provide paid sick days. It is entirely reasonable to expect the majority of business owners and other employers to provide paid sick days to their employees. In that case, I urge the city to develop a sick day policy that encompasses hourly employees, temporary workers, service workers, and all workers. Yes, this may pose a minor financial burden to certain small business owners, but it will also benefit them by having healthier and happier employees, thus reducing turnover and increasing worker productivity.
  • Sarah about 1 year ago
    All private employees should be covered, including part-time workers. To those who oppose this, try considering Paid Sick Time as a part of an employee’s overall compensation. If the extra cost in wages is a hardship on businesses, those businesses can just hold off on the next raise they were going to give until their finances balance out. Giving a worker several paid days a year (maybe 1 hour for every 25 hours worked) would only increase payroll costs by around 4%. If you can’t afford to increase your employees’ compensation by 4% every now and then, you’re giving them a pretty raw deal.
  • Joseph_George about 1 year ago
    Absolutely every worker. Full stop.
  • villandra about 1 year ago
    This is WRONG. Laws like this will just drive business into Round Rock where there is no public transportation for anyone to be able to get to work and noone can afford to live.What we really NEED is not PAID sick days, but protections against workers getting fired for taking sick days. It is very common for employers to fire people for missing even one day of work, or to have policies saying you can't miss even one day of work. That is especially a problem with temporary jobs, but not limited to them. Even more common, noone can miss more than three days of work in a three month period - and that usually applies even if they are paid sick days. I myself have been fired for missing one day of work, even for going home from work clearly sick and for getting hauled away from work in an ambulance. I have had to go to the emergency room outside of work hours, with the flu, that wouldn't ordinarily have seen a doctor, because the doctor can't treat the flu, in order to have a doctor's note for my boss who in theory was going to fire me anyway. I doubt the upper middle class liberals who hatched this idea, and say things about it like the gem of philosophizing immediately below, have absolutely no idea that the real problem is people getting fired for missing work, not people not getting paid for missing work, because they've never worked at a low paying job in their lives.
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    • villandra about 1 year ago
      Removed by moderator.
    • JackJ25 about 1 year ago
      Not everybody can afford an unpaid sick day. I've seen plenty of people coming in even when they're miserable from being so sick because they're single moms raising children.
    • JackJ25 about 1 year ago
      Not everybody can afford an unpaid sick day. I've seen plenty of people coming in even when they're miserable from being so sick because they're single moms raising children. I also agree that people shouldn't be punishned for taking sick days.
      Hide reply (1)
      • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
        Thanks for your comments, JackJ25; any thoughts on who should be covered by paid sick leave? -Moderator
    • austin_worker about 1 year ago
      Good thinking - this policy should also include an added protection for workers that request a paid sick day.
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments, villandra; please focus your comments on the issues involved, rather than the individuals.
    • Tyson_512 about 1 year ago
      Jobs can't just be driven to other cities, like Round Rock, especially in areas like food service, bars, hospitality etc. They're always gonna be near major population centers like Austin.Businesses didn't start fleeing seattle when the wages went up, they didn't run away from Portland to small-town Oregon when sick leave passed. Can you imagine businesses leaving NYC just because they had to give a few sick days? Of course not. There's no customer base that's big enough out there.
  • alexm1122 about 1 year ago
    The COA should not be telling private employers what or how their sick leave policies should be operated. The COA needs to run it's own affairs & not meddle in the private sector.
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    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments, alexm1122. -Moderator
    • Tyson_512 about 1 year ago
      The private sector is already meddled in, constantly, and it's far better than before. Child labor laws? Meddling. Food safety standards? Meddling. Minimum wage? Meddling. Not being allowed to dumb toxic sludge in my yard? Meddling.The private sector needs to be meddled in, because we see what it looks like when we don't.
  • mconroytx about 1 year ago
    This topic has nothing to do with the remit of the City Council. Employment law should be handled at the State level to prevent unclear, complicated, and costly administration for companies active in multiple jurisdictions within Texas and the US. No employees of private companies should should be covered, and Austin should not have a policy on this at all.
    Hide Replies (3)
    • Joseph_George about 1 year ago
      Texas has some of the worst state labor laws in the country. Which I assume you are blissfully aware of.
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments, mconroytx. -Moderator
    • Tyson_512 about 1 year ago
      The Texas State Legislature is unable to address the needs of Austin workers. On their watch, Texas achieved the highest rate of construction worker deaths in the nation. Why would Austinites trust our safety to out of towners?https://www.texastribune.org/2015/09/17/workplace-deaths-texas-us-leader/
  • Ron Riley about 1 year ago
    I'm glad the city is doing such an excellent job running itself that it can waste time and taxpayer money getting involved in things that are none if its business.
    Hide reply (1)
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments, Ron. -Moderator
  • sbresnen about 1 year ago
    No one should be covered by an ordinance passed by the COA. It's these kinds of "initiatives" that cause the Legislature to intrude into Austin's legitimate functions, such as enacting tree ordinances and other land use policies that are established municipal functions.
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    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments, sbresnen. -Moderator
  • laurah about 1 year ago
    A paid sick leave ordinance that would allow ALL workers to earn paid sick days would allow workers to have more financial stability, especially low wage workers. Workers who earn minimum wage know it is insufficient and often have to choose between working while sick or losing pay that is necessary for bills or rent. Temporary and part time workers often don't receive any employee benefits and are vulnerable to losing their employment if they get sick and don't go to work, which is the healthy thing to do and leads to a faster recovery. I believe that Austin would be a safer and better place to work if a paid sick leave ordinance that covered all worker were to pass.
    Hide reply (1)
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments, laurah. -Moderator
  • Rio Brewster about 1 year ago
    While I think this is overreach from the city council, I do believe that businesses of a certain size, or number of locations should offer paid sick leave to full-time employees.
    Hide reply (1)
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments, Rio Brewster. -Moderator
  • cxico about 1 year ago
    That should be something that is negotiated between the employee and the employer. It's not a good idea for a city government to try to force all employees and employers to handle sick leave in a specific way.
    Hide reply (1)
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments, cxico. -Moderator
  • Citabria about 1 year ago
    I own eight businesses in Austin, the largest of which is a mid-sized manufacturer(50-250 FTEs). I have previously worked in several countries with varying degrees of labor protection ranging from extensive protections to none at all. I have also worked in several U.S. states, including some of the places the COA cites as having similar sick day ordinances. I currently employ people in at least one of these cities.From an entrepreneur and business owner perspective, I can tell you a few things:1. For the most part, people will do exactly what they are incentivized to do. When I have acquired companies with separate vacation and sick leave policies, I have always been amazed by how sick the staff is. The people become remarkably healthier and more predictable, and far fewer family members die the instant sick leave, bereavement leave, and vacation leave policies are simply translated into an equivalent amount of PTO. I suggest in the strongest possible terms that the city not try to force companies with PTO policies to break their policies down by types of leave. Such policies incentivize dishonesty, which hold the capacity to destroy the very careers well-meaning politicians are trying to help.2. For the most part, people will do exactly what they are incentivized to do. That includes not only employees, but also entrepreneurs and business owners. I could have started my businesses anywhere in the world, and actively considered several cities on two continents. I chose Austin and Texas for its culture, low cost of living, and pro-business climate. I still love Austin with all my heart, but the culture has shifted a bit, the cost of living is not so low anymore, and the pro-business climate has eroded to the point we will likely move our manufacturing operations out of the city at our next lease renewal. If the city continues to give small and mid-sized employers of lower wage labor the middle finger, it will have a detrimental impact on the city's ability to create a diverse and robust workforce. With each new regulation, the entrepreneur must spend more effort avoiding or complying with the new regulation, and less effort on economically beneficial activity. The city will see an incremental reduction in businesses created, more businesses making elections to move elsewhere (including locations just outside the city limits, more 1099s, outsourcing, more offshoring, and so on). The extent to which this takes place is directly proportional to the cost and administrative burden the city elects to create.3. For the most part, people will do exactly what they are incentivized to do. If the city makes unenforceable laws, it will create an environment where most business owners are lawbreakers. My business competes on a national scale with businesses that do not face equivalent burdens. My companies are well managed, so we can afford to offer great benefits. This regulation will likely have little or no impact on us. There are, however, other businesses that operate at the margins, and this effort may be the difference between survival and shutting down. I urge you to consider the disproportionate impact this potential ordinance would have on lower wage, lower margin, less profitable (and more likely to be minority owned) businesses. You may wind up hurting the very people you seek to help.
    Hide Replies (12)
    • Citabria about 1 year ago
      Not sure why the paragraph breaks disappeared...
    • RWarwick about 1 year ago
      I have started 8 venture funded companies and I absolutely agree. Implementing this is damaging to small businesses and completely unnecessary.
    • Joseph_George about 1 year ago
      "I own eight businesses" I think you'll do alright.
      Hide Replies (4)
      • Citabria about 1 year ago
        Indeed. As my prior statement indicated, we offer great benefits, and any such regulation would likely have little if any impact on my businesses. The impact would be felt most by small, lower margin, less profitable businesses, which are also more likely to be minority owned, as well as workers themselves, in the form of slightly lower aggregate W-2 employment in the employment sectors that are likely to be impacted. It will also have a disproportionate impact on companies that compete with entities which are not similarly burdened, including those which are located just outside the city limits. Those are facts. It is also my opinion that this is not the kind of regulation that city government should be involved in, although at the same time I do acknowledge there are shortcomings in terms of worker protections at the national level.
        Hide Replies (2)
        • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
          Thanks for your further comments; do you have thoughts about how the shortcomings you mentioned should be addressed? -Moderator
          Hide reply (1)
          • Citabria about 1 year ago
            I have been thinking about this. I agree - in one of the greatest countries on earth, employees should be able to take a few days off for an emergent event without fear of losing one's job. At the same time, employers should be able to navigate a path to profitability and earn a reasonable return on their at-risk capital. That includes small and minority owned businesses and those where labor is a large fraction of costs and margins tend to be thin, like manufacturing and trades in which a large fraction of costs is unskilled labor. It is a laudable goal for governments to try to maximize aggregate employment, provide adequate labor protection, and provide a level playing field. I would support this type of legislation at the national level, as I feel it would have minimal impact on national employment, provide a new labor protection, and do so while creating a level playing field insomuch as all competitors in the U.S. have to abide by the same rules. I also feel the national government has the tools and sophistication to measure the economic impact and and enforce such a law. At the city level however, it will definitely reduce employment, and it tilts the playing field towards larger and higher margin entities and those just outside the city limits as well as towards national competitors unburdened by similar regulations. I also feel our city demonstrably lacks the sophistication to enforce such an ordinance. It is really, really difficult to follow the patchwork of local labor ordinances currently cropping up around the country. I have to learn and follow certain ones if I want access to the 2-3 largest markets in the country, which is not an easy task. If the tenth or twelfth largest city in the country does the same, I will just make my next hire elsewhere. It's just too difficult for employers my size, who are big enough to employ lots of people, but not big enough to have a legal or compliance staff, to keep up.
      • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
        Thanks for your comments; I want to be sure that all comments here relate to the substance of the issues under discussion, rather than the people making the comments. -Moderator
    • robert about 1 year ago
      Totally agree. Keep up the comments and contact your council people and others to do so. They need to feel the heat that this is a stupid idea.
      Hide reply (1)
      • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
        Thanks for your comments, robert. -Moderator
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your extensive comments. -Moderator
    • petico about 1 year ago
      I agree that if the business provides x amount of leave that can be used for sick leave, there should not necessarily be a separate requirement for sick leave. But there should be some leave earned to be available to be used when sick, not NO paid leave as many employers have. I do agree that possibly some businesses with very low revenue might need to be exempt.
      Hide reply (1)
      • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
        Thanks for your comments, petico; any thoughts on who would be eligible for paid sick leave? -Moderator
  • AuroraSB about 1 year ago
    All workers should be entities to paid sick leave.
    Hide reply (1)
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments, AuroraSB.
  • granola about 1 year ago
    All workers should be covered under a paid sick leave policy! Doing so would encourage workers to NOT come into work when they are sick. Such a policy could encourage workers to take time they need to rest appropriately and not bring their germs/sicknesses/etc to the workplace.
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    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments, granola. -Moderator
  • Melanieavant about 1 year ago
    Yes, for all employees, earned as a percentage of hours worked if paid hourly.
    Hide reply (1)
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments, melanieavant. -Moderator
  • jakeak2 about 1 year ago
    Hello Austin Feedback people:I am a small to mid-size construction firm. I think this would be fine. We've been thinking about instituting a paid sick leave program for quite some time now. Of course, the devil's in the details and we'd run the risk of having to fight folks abusing the program. I could see something like offering one week of paid sick leave. It doesn't accrue from year to year. You qualify for it after a probationary period, anywhere from 3 months to a year of service. And you must get a doctor's note to get paid for it. I do understand, however, the sentiment from others that this should be left to the individual companies to decide what works best, but I don't have a problem with the city mandating a very minimum standard to help people in the workforce. - Just my two cents.
    Hide reply (1)
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments, jakeak2; any thoughts about how would be eligible for paid sick leave? -Moderator
  • Timothy Bray about 1 year ago
    All workers. All types of people get sick and need the security that paid sick leave provides.
    Hide reply (1)
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments, Timothy. -Moderator
  • ayork about 1 year ago
    Hourly who do not receive other paid time off (vacation)
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    • RWarwick about 1 year ago
      Why would you make such a broad statement like that? Is that just a policy of where you work? I've worked in 11 companies from very small to over 300,000 employees and in every case, hourly employees have always had the same amount of vacation as salary employees. The amount earned was just prorated if they are not full time.
      Hide Replies (2)
      • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
        Thanks for your response, RWarwick; what would you suggest as an alternative to ayork's suggestion? -Moderator
      • Melanieavant about 1 year ago
        It would be nice if your experience represented the norm, butthe data proves it does not
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments, ayork. -Moderator
  • cxico about 1 year ago
    Removed by moderator.
  • cxico about 1 year ago
    Removed by moderator.
  • mturpin over 1 year ago
    All PTO decisions should be made by employers not the city. Employers know better when they need to pay employees PTO to compete for talent. The city should not mandate that any employer be compelled to offer any benefit. Also, if you want to really scare off potential employers including Amazon and drive others to Pflugerville, Round Rock, Georgetown and Kyle. Why does the chamber try so hard to bring business here for the City council to scare them away.?
    Hide Replies (23)
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments. -Moderator
    • Lmccollom about 1 year ago
      There are plenty of employers in Austin who currently violate state and federal laws, such as overtime pay, minimum wage, prompt wage payment, and ACA health insurance requirements. It is very hard for many workers to enforce these rights , and many are afraid to try out of fear of being fired for doing so. I am supposed to be an employment expert, and I do not know what effective method there is to go after an employer who is not offering ACA compliant insurance. And so I really do wonder how a paid or unpaid sick leave mandate at the municipal level would be effectively enforced.
      Hide Replies (21)
      • Joseph_George about 1 year ago
        Union organizing is the only method short of revolution to hold business owners accountable.
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        • robert about 1 year ago
          I have been told that this is all a union initiative including the "study".
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          • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
            Hi, Robert--just to reiterate, this comes from the Austin City Council's resolution: http://www.austintexas.gov/edims/document.cfm?id=286396.
            Hide Replies (4)
            • robert about 1 year ago
              Maybe, but the "facts" behind the resolution came from biased unions and like minded special interests.
              Hide Replies (3)
              • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
                Thanks for sharing your perspective, Robert. -Moderator
              • Joseph_George about 1 year ago
                And I'm sure the Chamber, and it's variations that are spending so much effort fighting this are totally unbiased, huh?
                Hide reply (1)
                • robert about 1 year ago
                  Maybe, but Council should not claim to use a biased "study" and hold it out as unbiased.
        • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
          Thanks for your comments; can you clarify how that relates to a paid sick leave policy for the City? Are you suggesting that union organizing should help ensure workers receive paid sick leave? -Moderator
        • MartinAustin about 1 year ago
          The most effective method for holding business owners accountable is to stop working for them. Just as employers can terminate at will, employees can terminate at will also. The labor market is competitive. The idea that unionization is needed to hold business owners accountable might be good rhetoric for organizing but it is nonsense.
          Hide Replies (11)
          • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
            Thanks for your elaboration, MartinAustin. -Moderator
          • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
            Thanks for your elaboration, MartinAustin. -Moderator
          • fastfoodworker about 1 year ago
            This is patently untrue. It wasn't holy or divine function of the labor market that gave us the weekend or OSHA or overtime or anything else. It was workers organizing on the shop floor to improve conditions on the job directly, as well as organizing the working class as a whole to fight for legislation to secure those rights in law. Earned sick leave is an incredibly modest reform and is part of a long and proud tradition of fighting to raise the standard of living and increasing the power of working class people.
            Hide Replies (7)
            • MartinAustin about 1 year ago
              A government mandate limits workers' choices. It doesn't raise the standard of living nor increase their power. It does just the opposite. Just because you prefer paid sick leave over higher wages, doesn't mean that I do. No one knows my interests better than I do. It is arrogant and tyrannical for government to dictate my choice.
              Hide Replies (6)
              • fastfoodworker about 1 year ago
                This argument simply doesn't hold. We know that there are times where the majority of society realizes that we desperately need legislation that raises the labor standards for ALL workers, not just a particular section who may or may not have negotiation leverage. This would mean the absolute dissolution of all legal labor standards for the sake of an abstract "choice," and against a "government mandate." Workers have the right to come together to advocate for our interests as a whole, not just as isolated, market-induced actors. The ability to get sick without fear of eviction or financial ruin or hardship is a fundamental human right. The argument against paid sick leave has nothing to do with freedom of choice, but only with keeping workers as isolated from each other as possible, thus limiting their ability to exercise their democratic rights to secure their basic human rights. These arguments are fundamentally anti-democratic philosophically, and lack any understanding of economics outside a very limited theory of the firm, a myopically micro view in a macro world.
                Hide Replies (5)
                • MartinAustin about 1 year ago
                  There is a fundamental difference between workers "rights" negotiated by unions and forced mandates by government. No one disputes the ability of workers "to come together to advocate." The issue is whether the power of government should substitute for that advocacy and compel choices on workers as well as employers.
                  Hide Replies (4)
                  • fastfoodworker about 1 year ago
                    Workers have the right to do both: come together on the shop floor to organize directly, as well as organize politically to advance their interests. The two are not mutually exclusive. The "power of government" so terribly lamented is really the "power of democracy." Businesses are not private fiefdoms where the business owner reigns absolutely supreme. People have every right to pass legislation to raise the standards for ALL workers. Businesses unable to operate when labor standards are raised, especially raised so modestly as with an earned sick leave policy, should then exit the market, just like businesses that cannot survive because they can't afford to pay minimum wage or follow OSHA standards.
                    Hide Replies (3)
                    • MartinAustin about 1 year ago
                      Actually, this debate is not about the power to decide but about the merits of the proposed policy. It is bad for workers and employers. Nevertheless, you are free to advocate for it and the City has the power to adopt it. It is a fundamental error to believe forcing workers to be paid sick leave instead of some other benefit or a higher wage is raising the standard for anyone. It isn't. That's the fraud. Also, the "power of democracy" is wonderful but it is not preeminent in a constitutional republic where there are rights protected even where the majority disfavors them.
                      Hide Replies (2)
                      • fastfoodworker about 1 year ago
                        Paid Sick Leave would definitely raise the living standards of low wage and fast food workers like myself and my coworkers. We have literally no other benefits and no mechanism by which to negotiate with our employers. When we leave one workplace, its a merry go round to another low wage, no benefit job.And our "constitutional republic" has shown very clearly that citizens have the right to regulate businesses in the interest of the public good, which is exactly what this ordinance would do. The right for businesses to be free from any and all regulations does not exist, not in the US constitutional republic or any other system of government.
                        Hide reply (1)
                        • MartinAustin about 1 year ago
                          I'm not aware of anyone being enslaved in Austin. To say you have no means to negotiate is belied by the political power you are attempting to exert here to use government for your own private interests. You don't represent me. You can't rightly claim to advocate for the "public good."
          • Joseph_George about 1 year ago
            The idea that business owners don't need to be held accountable as a collective Class, is the root of your misunderstanding. It's not about "a few bad apples" it's about the moldy barrel called Capitalism.
      • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
        Thanks for your comments; should a policy be enacted, do you have thoughts about whom it should cover? -Moderator
  • bdm2701 about 1 year ago
    No one. Overbearing government interference is detrimental to a free market.
    Hide reply (1)
    • Joseph_George about 1 year ago
      Is it detrimental to unicorns, and other imaginary creatures as well?
  • Renee787 about 1 year ago
    As a small business owner it is so difficult already to get ahead. I could not pay two people to do one person's job if an employee was out. I would have to pay both the person on leave and the person filling in for them. This could very easily put a small business out of business. I offer paid sick leave for salaried, full time employees. It took me 15 years of being in business to finally get enough money to afford doing that. I think each business should continue to have the freedom to offer what they feel the business can afford.Any smart business owner wants to offer sick leave so that they can attract long term employees. When a business can afford it, I believe they will do it because it makes them a better prospect for good workers.Part time employees should not be offered sick leave.
    Hide reply (1)
    • Joseph_George about 1 year ago
      If you think it's hard in your position, imagine what it's like working for someone with that attitude.
  • Ben about 1 year ago
    Our city council should focus on the numerous city issues and problems facing our growing city. Private employment contracts should not be in scope which the council nor anyone else in city government is focused. For the council to take this topic up tells me they do not care about the issues that are critical to our residents - traffic, education, safety, and our parks and pools. I find it frustrating to see this discussion given that my property taxes ratchet up every year while the quality of each of these vital elements that are under city government scope declines. Get the basics right before taking on issues that are seen by residents as outside local government scope.
    Hide Replies (4)
    • erothbauer about 1 year ago
      Public health concerns are a very critical issue to Austin residents, and make no mistake, insufficient paid sick leave is very much a public health concern. Your fixation on property taxes, however, is not as relevant, given that most Austin residents can't afford to buy property in the first place, let alone pay taxes on it.
      Hide reply (1)
      • Ben about 1 year ago
        Those who rent indirectly pay property taxes. My point is that our local government needs to focus on the many problems that are in their scope and not try to tackle this issue. If they do, it will end up in years of litigation and to enormous expense. We the taxpayers have a voice in deciding what our government works on and my voic is strongly against any effort and expense on this issue.
    • TurboSpencer about 1 year ago
      They have a solution, and are looking for a problem basically. Like we don't have enough problems. Affordability for people to live in this city is evidently a non priority, because basic economics tells you this plan will raise prices.
      Hide reply (1)
      • erothbauer about 1 year ago
        I seriously doubt that this policy would result in real price increases. If so, they'd be negligible.
  • TurboSpencer about 1 year ago
    The employees covered should be left up to the private employer as they see fit. The private employers are the best qualified to determine the impact to their business and what they can or cannot afford. If they are losing people because of their policies they will change their policies appropriately.
    Hide Replies (3)
    • erothbauer about 1 year ago
      This policy's potential impact on a business should not be prioritized above public health, especially in an era when antibiotics-resistant illnesses are on the rise.
      Hide Replies (2)
      • TurboSpencer about 1 year ago
        And we have such a crisis in public health in this city? Sorry I don't see that as the problem the COA is trying to solve. They are using that as a red herring. When the smaller/local businesses that are trying to provide the more expensive, healthy foods that have no antibiotics find that they need to cut the bottom line to pay for this where do you think they might cut costs? Maybe like MacDonald's or other fast food places they will decide to buy the cheaper, factory farmed (cheaper) products which are full of antibiotics. Gotta find the money somewhere.
        Hide reply (1)
        • erothbauer about 1 year ago
          Or their owners could just do the right thing and lose a tiny sliver of their profit margin.
  • fabfab about 1 year ago
    So nice to see what the city council is spending tax money on. But to answer the question: if you want to introduce a regulation that you can't enforce, and which will drive employers of low-wage employees out of the city limits, and which is simply not something that a city government should spend any time or money on, then it should definitely cover all employees equally.
    Hide reply (1)
    • TurboSpencer about 1 year ago
      You mean all those now unemployed workers?
  • Sparkyp about 1 year ago
    Twenty + year resident here. Someone who loves her city and what it USED to be, but is being slowly disillusioned by the constant need to expand its population and infrastructure. I am a fan of progress, but not at the expense of everything that made Austin great. This is another instance of Austin NOT supporting small, locally owned businesses. This is a “me too” of the City Council who wants so desperately to hang with the other liberal cool kid cities. Meanwhile, they are killing what Keeps Austin Weird by taxing us to death, and, after all, this is essentially a small business tax. This on top of a 200% increase in commercial property tax and amid the general rise in expenses due to our massive inflation (thanks to our unsustainable growth). The Amazons and Apples of the world are incentivized with huge tax breaks while locals are taxed out of our commercial leases. Please consider the number of small businesses closing, including many long-running Austin institutions before passing this. My four year old business has seen a $17,000 a year rent increase due to commercial property tax rates going up - that is over FOUR YEARS!!!! The City should pass these resolutions only with a plan to help small businesses offset the cost. Add another 2% tax to hotels and let the visitors who invade us every weekend support tax rebates to LOCALLY owned businesses that make Austin what it is, and create the environment these visitors are here for (they aren’t coming to tour Samsung or see the Home Depot data center after all)... I am all for paying a living wage and providing benefits for my employees, but give me some relief so I can keep my business open.
  • Renee787 about 1 year ago
    This policy could put even more small Austin businesses out of business and give more and more power to big chain businesses that are not owned by Austinites! We need to support local small business. The City is being over-run by big corporations and they can already afford sick leave for their employees. This will only hurt Austin owned small businesses! Paid sick leave is something that should not be passed by the City! It is something that each person owning a business must decide for themselves.
  • dfarca about 1 year ago
    Why can't our city government wean itself from socialism? The so-called "benefits" are, for the employer, pay for the workers. How much the employer can pay depends upon the value of the worki put in by the employees, in relation to the price which can be charged for the product. It is not a matter of generosity or meanness of the employer. No wonder municipal taxes keep increasing. There are too many city employees who need to justify a salary (and benefits!) by concocting schemes like this. If you force employers to pay more than the employees produce as value, they will just close shop or move out. The first to do that will be those with marginal profits which typically employ the lowest (least value producing) employees, i.e., those that these schemes claim to protect.Dr. Dan FarcasiuBeverly Road
  • Ali Shu about 1 year ago
    All workers need this protection and employers who whine they can't afford it should re-think the viability of their business model.
    Hide Replies (3)
    • ps about 1 year ago
      Who are you to determine that and when you pay higher prices at the counter I wonder who will be whining then?
      Hide Replies (2)
      • Nicole Stasek about 1 year ago
        The thing is, you're not going to be able to raise your prices /that/ much. People will only pay so much for whatever product you sell (feel free to let us know what your business is, by the way! I'd love to talk to your employees about what they think). You might raise your prices some, but more likely it will just have to come out of your pocket and back into your employees' -- where it came from in the first place. If prices go up slightly across the board, then so be it. We'll all be getting paid a little more, so it all averages out in the end. If not, well, a better business will come in behind you, one that can do what thousands of businesses have already managed to do- pay a living wage and offer basic human needs like paid sick leave.
        Hide reply (1)
        • ps about 1 year ago
          Of course I will. The reason I'll be able to do it is because every other business will have the same increase in their overhead and they'll increase their prices too. How can you say that I'm not going to be able to raise my prices that much? What qualifies you to say that? How would you know? Why do you think you can say that the money came from the employees in the first place? What are you saying? That I do nothing? That I should accept the same workload and responsibility of an owner and receive the same pay as a beginner? If you want the money to go back to where it came from in the first place then I should be giving it back to the customer which is exactly what I want to do by keeping prices lower. Not by raising my overhead and prices because you have some warped idea that business owners are all greedy users stealing from the public and employees. That I didn't create a business? Provide jobs that people are glad to have? That they aren't making more money working for me than the ever did anywhere else? That all I do is sit around smoking a cigar and watch the money roll in like a feudal lord? Why would you say something like a better business will come in behind me? Mine is as highly respected as you can find so whats better? Tell me. How can you consistently make statements like that without knowing a single thing about me or my business? Why is sick leave a basic human need? Where does it state that somewhere? Why are you so comfortable saying that the money will come out of my pocket? Do you mean that my livelihood is insignificant? My family doesn't matter? And now you're also suggesting that I don't pay a living wage? Prove it. Why don't you tell me where you work. I'd love to talk to your boss about how you feel about business owners. Or maybe you should do it yourself. Okay, well a couple of you on here are too comfortable just making any baseless statement that crosses your minds. I feel like I'm talking to Karl Marx and this is America.
  • strugglingsmallbizowner about 1 year ago
    A policy SHOULD NOT be created in the first place. But if the question is who should be covered, it would be a full time employee. As a small business owner with two employees, I can barely afford the lost production when an employee is sick. If I had to pay, in addition to losing a day's work this would be a game changer. And not in a good way.
  • VAF84 about 1 year ago
    I vehemently disagree that private employers should be forced to pay sick leave for any employees if they choose not to, or are unable to. I firmly believe the employer and the employee should agree on what the terms of compensation should be. If the economy is strong, the employer will be forced to compete with others for labor and will be forced to increase benefits, and if the economy is weak the company will have one less burden to worry about so they can at least keep people employed. Also, adding sick pay will place a downward pressure on wages and/or increase the cost of living. Plenty of people have already made excellent points to this effect.I have experience working everything from service industry in Austin, to cubicle in a Fortune 500, to a small business owner in Austin (who shuttered his business), to 1099 contractor. So far the 1099 seems to offer the the best combination of flexibility and pay (unless you have a six figure gig in a tech company). This added burden will tighten the stranglehold on small business in this city, in addition to increasing the cost of living on the same people who are clamoring about affordability and supporting this added regulation. The city should not be involved in mandating sick pay to private companies on any level. If you enact this policy, expect a loss of small and mid-sized dynamic businesses in exchange for more big box stores and retailers. The city will continue to lose its competitiveness.
  • Karen Wren about 1 year ago
    We are not a communist country yet. City needs to butt out of employment rates, benefits and wasting our tax dollars. Save our tax dollars by NOT wasting time telling me how to rub my business City overpays employee’s and benefits the city gives are outrageous
  • Art Klempner about 1 year ago
    Every employee who works 20 hours a week
  • cstrombe about 1 year ago
    The employees covered should be the ones that their employer decides to cover. The city should not be involved in private company policy.
    Hide reply (1)
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments, cstrombe. -Moderator
  • gift about 1 year ago
    How do you construe this proposal as a city government function? All residents of thiscity, whether operators of businesses or private citizens, renters or homeowners, college students or retirees, etc., are experiencing an affordability crisis, yet it seems all we are hearing is how the city needs to "expand the pie" (meaning, produce more revenue streams) in order to fund any number of dubious ventures, most concentrated around downtown which benefit only the higher income elites or power players in local politics. Focus on your responsibilities to all citizens (power, water, sewage, garbage, public safety, transportation insfrastructure and simple operations such as better coordinated/automated traffic lights, certain amenities like neighborhood libraries, pools and parks, flooding issues, giving homewoners that promised 20% city homestead exemption), and let the free market offer whatever services and job benefits the customer and/or employee demands.
  • someguy about 1 year ago
    We should be cutting back on regulations, not increasing them. Forcing employers to provide paid sick days will add undue cost to their businesses, force them to lay workers off, and increase prices for their goods/services. Most businesses aren't operating with massive profit margins, so these costs- and make no mistake, it's a cost to provide this benefit to the worker- will be borne by the consumer. Free is never free, even if the City says it should be.
  • MartinAustin about 1 year ago
    Why wasn't the National Federation of Independent Business invited to provide input?
    Hide Replies (2)
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Hi, MartinAustin: this process is open to anyone with an interest. I'm not aware of any specific reason that NFIB wasn't named in the Austin City Council resolution, but the City would welcome their participation. -Moderator
      Hide reply (1)
      • MartinAustin about 1 year ago
        The Council should direct staff to contact NFIB like it did for other organizations.
  • fastfoodworker about 1 year ago
    Businesses don't have the fundamental right to exist. You have to prove you can be competitive in the market given the particular constraints that society has put you under. I'm sure there were many scrappy upstart coal mining operations forced to shutter their doors because of the increased costs of no longer hiring child labor. This hypothetical Subway you are talking about has to be already on the absolute verge of going under already to not be able to afford to save one hour wage for every thirty hours a worker works. That business already needs to exit the market, but it is relying on subsidies from the workers, who are being denied their basic human rights in order for a poorly run operation to continue to survive. The next argument that will come is that "those workers will lose their jobs!" True, but economic friction is a fact of life. Workers will have access to unemployment to help facilitate their transition to a new job, one that can respect their right to have paid sick leave and fill the gap in the market left by the poorly run operation's exit. With unemployment at 3%, a worker replacing their former job is guaranteed. This paid sick leave opposition has nothing to do with helping workers, but only with owners maintaining as close to complete control as possible over their workforce. These business owners see this right of theirs to exist above and superior to democratic law.
  • karel_riley about 1 year ago
    All employees need this protection, especially lower-income workers, whose illness of even a couple days can lead to increased poverty. Without this protection, workers will come to work sick and infect others. If the sick worker has contact with the public, we are all at risk. I wouldn't want a restaurant worker with the flu to serve me food, for example. Paid sick leave is required of a minimally-decent society.
    Hide reply (1)
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments, karel_riley. -Moderator
  • congress1902 about 1 year ago
    This benefit will cost money. To pay it, a business must have the means. If they don't, then they must find the means, which means they will need additional revenue. Most likely, that means raising prices. Businesses can't create revenue out of thin air (I've tried), so then it becomes a tax on the people of Austin. For a local small business that does not have the scale of a national chain, I will have to raise prices. I hope my clients are willing to pay it.
    Hide reply (1)
    • petico about 1 year ago
      I am willing to pay a bit more in prices for the contractors I hire for this (mostly various forms of stuff I hire as a homeowner).
  • Aaron Cooke over 1 year ago
    This type of policy is a good example of bureaucratic overreach that make companies less competitive if they stay in Austin. The cost of the actual benefits aside, how much time and money will companies have to waste on compliance reporting for this and how many tax dollars will be wasted on unionized government bureaucrats to track these compliance reports?
    Hide Replies (14)
    • Joseph_George over 1 year ago
      A vast improvement in the life of hundreds of thousands of your fellow Austinites isn't incentive enough for you?
      Hide Replies (8)
      • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
        Joseph, thanks for your post; to clarify, it sounds like you are saying that a paid sick leave policy (i.e., a law requiring employers to provide paid sick leave) would, in your opinion, improve life for many Austinites. Is that what you are saying? -Moderator
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        • Joseph_George about 1 year ago
          Absolutely.
      • Aaron Cooke about 1 year ago
        What study has shown that hundreds of thousands of people in Austin are working without paid sick leave?
        Hide Replies (5)
        • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
          Hi, Aaron: Joseph may or may not be referring to research provided to the Austin City Council (http://www.austintexas.gov/edims/document.cfm?id=285073) about access to paid sick time. -Moderator
          Hide Replies (4)
          • pbratton-5d88heo about 1 year ago
            What is not clear on the research provided to the city showing that 37% of people do not have paid sick leave is? 1. How many employers were surveyed? 2. Did this cover PTO or just 'paid sick leave'? 3. Were these employees full time (40 hours per week) or part time (30 or less); or temporary/seasonal; or contractors? Keep in mind contractors are usually 1099 and there self-employed therefore a company would not provide benefits. It would be helpful to know the details of the survey questions and pool size surveyed.
            Hide Replies (3)
            • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
              Hi--I am sharing your questions with study authors to see if I can get more information. -Moderator
            • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
              Here's some more information:The short answer to the first question is that the access rates are based on modeling of 2013-2015 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) and local 2015 IPUMS American Community Survey (ACS) data, not a survey of Austin workers or businesses. Here are some additional methodology notes: · Access rates are for individuals, 18 years and older, working in Austin regardless of their place of residence. Percentages and figures may not add to totals due to rounding. “Other race” category includes American Indian or Alaska natives and individuals reporting multiple racial identities. None of these populations were individually large enough for separate estimations; all were kept in the interest of inclusion. White, Black, and Asian racial groups are non-Hispanic. Source: Institute for Women’s Policy Research analysis of 2013-2015 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) and 2015 IPUMS American Community Survey (ACS).· Estimates of the numbers and percentages lacking access include National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) responses of “Don’t Know” because these workers and their employers are behaving as if paid sick leave is not available. Nationally, of the NHIS participants that responded to the question about whether they have access to paid sick leave, approximately one percent respondents answered “Don’t Know.”· The methodology employed to estimate the number of people that do not have access to paid sick days controls for both differences in the treatment of race/ethnicity/gender groups and differences in characteristics specific to Austin workers that are correlated with access to paid sick days such as occupation, industry, health insurance coverage, and work hours. The estimates are based in part on an analysis of 41,760 employed, adult respondents to the 2013-2015 administrations of the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) nationwide. Access to paid sick days was estimated using probit regression in STATA 13 for respondent reports of access to paid sick days, and a series of independent variables for the race/ethnicity/gender groups described above, as well as controls for major geographic region, educational attainment, personal income, age, work hours (including part-time and long-hour schedules, as well as their interaction with gender), foreign-born status, health insurance coverage, occupational categories, industry of employment, and public sector employment. The regression explained a significant fraction of the variance in access to paid sick days. The coefficients were saved and multiplied by the mean values of the same variables from the 2015 American Community Survey (ACS). The access rates relate specifically to paid sick days, not PTO. Paid sick time is particularly rare for seasonal and part-time workers. We don’t have seasonal worker data, but only 27 percent of part-time workers have access to paid sick time. Self-employed workers only make up about 7% of the employed population in Austin, but if they don’t have employees I don’t think they would be impacted at all by any citywide policy.
              Hide reply (1)
              • petico about 1 year ago
                Very helpful answer, and shows there is a problem for many, many of whom are in a weak position with regard to employers.
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments, Aaron. Joseph (below) seems to be saying that a paid sick leave policy would improve quality of life for employees; how would you respond to his point? -Moderator
      Hide Replies (3)
      • Aaron Cooke about 1 year ago
        @Larry Schooler: Nothing is free. The added cost of this type of regulation along with the cost (and inefficiencies) of the bureaucracy to manage the regulation will destroy Austin jobs. This means people will go unemployed to pay for this "benefit". This type of self-reinforcing bureaucracy is the cause of our current cost of living issues in Austin.How many lost jobs is it worth for a few extra people to have sick leave? Do you think a homeless person who can’t get a job because of government regulation like what is proposed here cares that some teenagers have sick days for their summer jobs?The city of Austin should not be trying to “help” people with the private employment terms between them and their employers. It is condescending and irresponsible for any government to try to tell a person what they should want/need for job benefits.
        Hide Replies (2)
        • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
          Understood; thanks for the clarifications, Aaron. -Moderator
        • robert about 1 year ago
          Very well said and I hope many others are listening, including the moderator.
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments, Aaron. -Moderator
  • petico about 1 year ago
    Most employees need to be covered or employers will use the unprotected classes to avoid the ordinance. Yet, in some cases, such as a GENUINE short-term temporary worker who works only for say a week, sick leave doesn't seem appropriate. Perhaps sick leave should only apply after a worker has earned say $600 from the employer during the calendar year.I do see some issues with enforcement and also with educating the public and employers about the law. But where there is a will there is a way, but will require thought.
  • jacobaronowitz about 1 year ago
    I strongly support a local ordinance requiring ALL private employers to provide paid sick leave to ALL employees, including part-time workers and contractors. All people deserve dignity and safety on the job!
    Hide Replies (8)
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments. -Moderator
    • Ep Ep about 1 year ago
      Become an employer and offer these benefits.
      Hide reply (1)
      • Joseph_George about 1 year ago
        In the real world, most people don't have the money to become Capitalists. Which why they have to work for uncaring people.
    • robert about 1 year ago
      I don't believe you understand the business world and the free market. If you did, you would recognize a stupid idea when you saw one. I bet you don't work in business? Government employees don't have a clue.
      Hide Replies (4)
      • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
        Hi, Robert and Joseph_george; please be sure to keep the focus on the substance of the issues discussed here (scope of a potential paid sick leave policy) rather than on personalities. -Moderator
        Hide reply (1)
        • robert about 1 year ago
          Don't mean it personally to anyone. Just need to point out that it is obviously an unnecessary and stupid law. Call it what it is.
      • Joseph_George about 1 year ago
        I understand that the free market is an absolute myth. The state is the only thing that keeps this pitiful economic system going.
        Hide reply (1)
        • robert about 1 year ago
          do you really believe that? Where do you work?
  • maryplumbmentjes about 1 year ago
    Sick leave should be available for all workers, particularly low paid workers who are more vulnerable.
  • fastfoodworker about 1 year ago
    Every worker should have an equal right to accumulate earned sick time regardless of employer. Mandating employers sock away one hour pay for every 30 hours a worker works is not an outrageous burden. Any business with margins so slim that they can't provide such an incredibly modest, incredibly important policy shouldn't be in business. For companies that don't claim tip credits against the minimum wage, we wouldn't exempt them from the min wage law simply because their margins are too thin to pay the minimum wage. For companies that do claim tip credits against the wage, how many handouts do these companies need to stay afloat? Business owners act like they are entitled to run a business any way their whims might desire, but they have to follow laws that people put in place to provide some basic level of human dignity for working people. When they say "oh we can't afford that because of the market," what they are saying is that democracy should bend to what business owners want, not that business owners should be held to higher standards if they want to be considered successful in our city. The fact is, businesses enter and exit markets all the time. Some have models that allow them to adapt and compete under new conditions where workers have better rights and conditions, others do not and go under because they can't function up to the standards society has set for them.There is no reasonable way to argue that even the most ambitious earned sick leave policy would fundamentally undermine and destroy literally any market at all. Yes, there will be some friction for business owners, but workers have been bearing the brunt of extreme economic friction for several decades now. We were always expected to hike our britches up because of how things were changing. Well, business owners, it's time to hike your own britches up and adapt to a frankly very modest and important policy reform.
  • TrayvonJenkins about 1 year ago
    If the city of Austin truly cared for the workforce they would focus on the truly vulnerable, those who are working for cash under the table without a valid social security number or work visa or work permit to be here. These undocumented folks drive down wages for the rest of the low income employees in Austin. If you want to regulate businesses please begin by enforcing the laws which are already on the books regarding proper reporting of every single employee getting paid to work in a business. If all undocumented labor were to stop wages would increase and low income workers would then have more economic opportunities and could afford to take a day off to see a doctor when they fall ill.
    Hide Replies (3)
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments, Trayvon. Do you have any additional thoughts about paid sick leave? -Moderator
      Hide Replies (2)
      • TrayvonJenkins about 1 year ago
        It's going to increase the cost of operating a business within Austin. Small businesses will be forced into Buda, Hutto, Round Rock, Pflugerville and their tax dollars and employees will go with them. This idea is another step that forces small innovative companies OUT of Austin and greases the wheels for bigger corporate entities to roll in and take their place. If Austin is going to be a place that fosters creativity, new ideas and unique businesses then this idea should stop right here and right now. We need to instead focus on reducing bureaucracy and reducing the myriad of regulations small businesses have to deal with so they can focus on creating jobs and growing the business.
        Hide reply (1)
        • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
          Thanks for your elaboration. -Moderator
  • Jessica W about 1 year ago
    Every single worker should be covered under a paid sick policy. It should be a given that if someone or someone's family member gets sick they should be able to take a sick day and not worry about loss wages.
    Hide reply (1)
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments. -Moderator
  • Wendykalthoff about 1 year ago
    All but possibly short term temporary workers.
    Hide reply (1)
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your post; can you define that category of workers? What is short-term/temporary in your view? -Moderator
  • groovyshazz about 1 year ago
    Personally I think this is a wonderful campaign-all workers should have access to Paid Sick Leave. That said, I do worry about adopting this kind of policy at the local level-it might be something that needs to be pursued at the state level. Also, I would like to understand why certain employers don't offer paid sick leave. Is it because it's a burden? If so, what other policies can help businesses so that implementing a policy like this is doable? I look forward to learning more about this and following the campaign!
    Hide reply (1)
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments; I do recommend employers to respond to your questions aimed at them. -Moderator
  • PatrickWood about 1 year ago
    All workers
    Hide reply (1)
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comment; can you clarify? All employees of all employers in the city of Austin? -Moderator
  • MartinAustin about 1 year ago
    The City should NOT deny workers choices. Forcing paid sick leave represents an effort by politicians to impose their own choices on workers. It is a denial of freedom. Paid sick leave is one form of compensation. Leave for any purpose, paid or unpaid, is another form of compensation. These forms of compensation can substitute for monetary compensation. If you require one form of compensation, a consequence is that you are diminishing another form. Some workers may prefer higher wages in lieu of paid or unpaid leave. Why deny them this choice? Additionally, there is nothing that prevents workers from seeking paid sick leave from an employer or seeking a job from an employer who offers it. The city's proposal for mandatory paid leave represents government suppression of freedom for workers and should be REJECTED.
    Hide reply (1)
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments. -Moderator
  • Ep Ep about 1 year ago
    To read assessments of existing municipal sick leave mandates, google "impact of mandated sick leave". Or google "economic policies institute connecticut" to get started.
    Hide reply (1)
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your post. -Moderator
  • onefl about 1 year ago
    Everyone gets sick, so everyone should be covered.
    Hide Replies (2)
    • Ep Ep about 1 year ago
      Many insurers offer some form of sick pay coverage.
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comment; can you clarify your definition of "everyone?" All employees of all employers across the city of Austin? -Moderator
  • kyleafh about 1 year ago
    There should never be a totalitarian government that demands, by force, any incentive to be provided by a private company. It is disgusting that anyone would use the point of a gun to force others to do anything.
    Hide Replies (2)
    • Ep Ep about 1 year ago
      Margaret Thatcher said “The trouble with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.” The trouble with a sick paid leave mandate is that no one is legally required to offer a job in your community.
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments--can you clarify? Do you mean the Austin City Council is acting as a totalitarian government? What does "use the point of a gun to force others to do anything" mean in this case? -Moderator
  • Leslie McMaster about 1 year ago
    I think the city is overstepping on this. I could support not losing a job because of illness but not being paid sick time. Lots of service workers get low wages and rely on tips to make up the gap in minimum wage. They would get a pittance. How much time would they get? The flu might take a day or two for recovery but a serious accident or life-threatening illness can put an employee out for weeks or months. A small business may not be able to absorb paying a long term salary as well as hiring a temp to perform the work that still needs to be done. If you dump the extra work on other employees then this is a recipe for job dissatisfaction.
    Hide Replies (3)
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments, Leslie. -Moderator
    • Ep Ep about 1 year ago
      The problem with mandating preservation of a job is that an employee is hired to fill a vital function in a business - i.e. a function that allows the business to exist. If the position weren't vital, it wouldn't exist.
      Hide reply (1)
      • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
        Thanks, Ep Ep--can you clarify your comment around "mandating preservation of a job?" -Moderator
  • Vivian Martin about 1 year ago
    All employees
    Hide Replies (3)
    • Ep Ep about 1 year ago
      Keep piling mandates and costs on employers - health care, sick leave, etc. - and watch how easy it is to find a job.
      Hide reply (1)
      • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
        Thanks for your comments, Ep Ep. -Moderator
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments, Vivian; can you clarify? Do you mean all employees of employers conducting business in the city of Austin? -Moderator
  • Ep Ep about 1 year ago
    Austin wants Amazon to offer jobs here. Why would Amazon want to offer jobs to Austin? Mandates? Entitlement? Not attractive. UPDATE: https://www.bizjournals.com/austin/ Austin is no longer ranked for Amazon.
    Hide reply (1)
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Hi, Ep Ep--thanks for your post. Can you clarify how this relates to the scope of a potential paid sick leave policy? -Moderator
  • Ep Ep about 1 year ago
    Here's a quote from a workersdefense.org article describing the effort by Work Strong Austin to mandate paid sick leave: “We demand the freedom to organize in union for the paid sick leave that we earn everyday.” Scary. The article also claims support from local businesses but doesn't list them. What business wants a union?
    Hide reply (1)
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Hi, Ep Ep--thanks for your post. Can you clarify how this relates to the scope of a potential paid sick leave policy? -Moderator
  • Ep Ep about 1 year ago
    If you are an employer, it is time to network with your business contacts and contact your city representatives. According to KXAN, city council views the mandate as a foregone conclusion: "Austin City Council voted unanimously late Thursday night to develop a policy for private employers to offer paid sick leave to their workers. " http://kxan.com/2017/09/29/council-unanimously-votes-to-explore-paid-sick-leave/
    Hide reply (1)
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments. At this point, quoting its resolution, the City Council has asked for feedback on elements of a paid sick leave policy for private employers in Austin (http://www.austintexas.gov/edims/document.cfm?id=286396). They have not yet voted to develop that policy. -Moderator
  • fsacasa about 1 year ago
    The City is overreaching here. Leave benefits in the hands of employers. If an employer does not offer attractive benefits, employees will vote by working elsewhere. Additionally, it should be up to the employer to determine the best mix of benefits. Maybe a higher 401k matching is more attractive than sick leave, maybe maternity leave, maybe something else. Mandating benefits takes away from the freedom to offer attractive benefits.
    Hide reply (1)
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments. -Moderator
  • ddzurilla about 1 year ago
    I strongly disagree with the city council here. This is a tremendous overreach for the reasons so many others have posted. As a small business owner, my opinion is for this not to mandated by any council or gov't entity.
    Hide reply (1)
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comment. -Moderator
  • Ep Ep about 1 year ago
    Any comments referencing council members - our representatives - involved in this proposed mandate will be deleted by the moderator, making it difficult to hold them accountable. Less censured discussions are taking place on other social media websites.
    Hide reply (1)
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Hi, Ep Ep--I've not deleted any comments referencing City Council Members. Sorry for any confusion. -Moderator
  • JasonLockhart about 1 year ago
    None. This is not a proper function of a city government.
    Hide reply (1)
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comment. -Moderator
  • Lmccollom about 1 year ago
    Definitely all hourly employees, and all FLSA nonexempt employees who make less than $750 per week, even if salaried. I am board certified in labor and employment law. Thus would make a huge difference for these kinds of employees
    Hide Replies (3)
    • JasonLockhart about 1 year ago
      Why hourly employees? Why $750/week? What does being board certified in blah blah blah have to do with your arbitrary standards and limits? From where do you believe the city derives there power to insert itself into the private negotiations of a employer and a prospective employer?
      Hide reply (1)
      • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
        Thanks for your comments, JasonLockhart; please keep your comments focused on the substance of the issues, rather than the individuals posting. -Moderator
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments, Lmcollom. Can you share more about what made you define the scope in this way? That is, why $750/week? -Moderator
  • roger murray about 1 year ago
    The city of Austin has no business dictating how a private company offers sick leave/pay. The council is wasting our money (and it is our money) having discussions about it at all.
    Hide reply (1)
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments, Roger. -Moderator
  • Shelley about 1 year ago
    No one. Both as a small business owner, and as an individual who worked as an independent contractor prior to that, I object so very strenuously to this whole idea. The HR compliance and costs both are potential killers for locally-owned small businesses, and will prevent the growth of local businesses and discourage startups. Plus, with half the workforce projected to be independent contractors within the next 5 or so years, it wouldn't apply to them regardless and they are MUCH more vulnerable than employees, oftentimes, because they can't even get unemployment (which an employee could, if they did lose their job). I would much prefer that some portion of our already astronomical taxes go to a temporary disability/sick day compensation insurance fund for the most vulnerable people, whether they are employees or self-employed.I do agree that it would be nice to have a security net for anyone who gets sick, but if the City of Austin wants it, then the City of Austin should pay for and administer it, not saddle small business owners with an ever-increasing load of compliance issues and costs. It's hard enough to make a business succeed from the ground up. Please don't make it worse. Local businesses are the heart and soul of Austin.
    Hide Replies (2)
    • RWarwick about 1 year ago
      Totally agree
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments, Shelley. -Moderator
  • RWarwick about 1 year ago
    This an extremely damaging idea if we want businesses to grow and thrive in Austin. Having started 8 businesses in Austin, I can say it is EXTREMELY hard to build a profitable business. Anyone who thinks this is a good idea has never created new jobs by creating a new business, which means they do not understand the impact of this. If my employees get sick, I encourage them to stay home until they are well, but they know they better be sick because everyone is depending on them. Being sick a certain amount of time is not a God given right. It is just something that unfortunately happens. If they can get better pay or better benefits somewhere else, then they will leave. To be a profitable business, I must be competitive in my products and services, as well as in what I pay my employees, or I fail. That is the check and balance. It can NEVER be what the government thinks I should pay because that is not capitalism. It is socialism.
    Hide reply (1)
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments, RWarwick. -Moderator
  • dc about 1 year ago
    Everyone. It is not just a matter of basic human dignity, but also of public health. When people are forced to choose between going to work while sick and losing money, they will often infect others with whatever they have. And if employers can't afford to run a business properly while considering the well-being of their employees and customers, maybe they need to rethink their whole model.
    Hide reply (1)
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments, dc. -Moderator
  • robert about 1 year ago
    This is terrible idea. I would be at a competitive disadvantage with competitors outside the city. Plus, this is a solution in search of a problem. If an employer is mistreating you in your opinion, find another job you like better. There is a labor shortage in Austin and plenty of other employers. Most employers take care of their employees in this area without the government meddling where it doesn't belong or have knowledge. At most this should be studied for quite a while to see if there really is any need. Most date comes from labor unions or other special interests.
    Hide reply (1)
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments, Robert. -Moderator
  • District3 about 1 year ago
    Is there anyone on City Council who has been an employer?
    Hide Replies (3)
    • RWarwick about 1 year ago
      FANTASIC question. Moderator, PLEASE answer this question. Has anyone on the City Council every created a *profitable* business with greater than 10 employees? Even 5?
      Hide Replies (2)
      • robert about 1 year ago
        I doubt it. They appear to only listen to the special interests and have no idea about the free market and what really happens.
        Hide reply (1)
        • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
          Thanks for the question; we will research it and do our best to post an answer.
  • Jennifer Stevens over 1 year ago
    I am upset that there is no question on here about whether this will cost jobs. If employers have to spend more money to provide paid sick leave they will not take it from their bottom line, they will have to cut expenses and this could result in layoffs.
    Hide Replies (8)
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Jennifer, thanks for your comments. The reason that question is not here is because we have been directed by the Austin City Council to ask the questions we have posted (http://www.austintexas.gov/edims/document.cfm?id=286396). -Moderator
    • Joseph_George about 1 year ago
      They could cut down their take of the profit.
      Hide Replies (4)
      • RWarwick about 1 year ago
        I recommend attempting to create a profitable business and providing a competitive work environment for your employees and then see how your opinion changes.
        Hide Replies (2)
        • robert about 1 year ago
          Most of us have this already and treat our employees like the gold they are. What would change? You may not be aware of how business and the free market works?
        • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
          Thanks for your comments, RWarwick: can you clarify what you think might happen if Joseph_george did so? We're focused here on understanding the ramifications for a paid sick leave policy. -Moderator
      • robert about 1 year ago
        You mean the city could take less of our money?
    • robert about 1 year ago
      Totally correct. It will cost jobs and hurt any reputation Austin hopes to build about being a business friendly city.
      Hide reply (1)
      • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
        Thanks for your comments, robert. -Moderator
  • Feedback2017 about 1 year ago
    None. The City should not interfere with the relationship between employers and employees. Employees are free to work for any employer they wish to. Employers should be free to offer whatever level of benefits they can afford. Requiring employers to provide benefits they cannot afford will force some of them out of business. Austin needs a friendly business climate.
    Hide Replies (4)
    • Joseph_George about 1 year ago
      The relationship of employer and employee is an antagonist one. It is one of class struggle.
      Hide Replies (2)
      • robert about 1 year ago
        I thought that went out with communism and socialism?
        Hide reply (1)
        • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
          I appreciate all of your comments; I would encourage you to focus on the topic of a paid sick leave policy and whom might be covered by it. -Moderator
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments. -Moderator
  • sellerle about 1 year ago
    All workers should be able to have paid sick time so that they can recover themselves or take care of sick family members without fear that they won't have enough money to get by for that month. Taking time off because you or your family members are sick can cause increased economic hardship for families who are trying to stay afloat. Additionally, this policy benefits the community at large by encouraging better health practices and supporting families.
    Hide Replies (6)
    • Ep Ep about 1 year ago
      What other costs of life should an employer be mandated to pay?
      Hide Replies (4)
      • Joseph_George about 1 year ago
        The means of production.
        Hide Replies (2)
        • robert about 1 year ago
          What do you mean? Socialism, a proven failure?
          Hide reply (1)
          • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
            Thanks robert, Ep Ep, and Joseph_George; it would be helpful to hear more clarification from all of you. It sounds as if Ep Ep believes paid sick life is a "cost of life," and requiring the provision of paid sick leave would lead to other mandated provisions for workers that make Ep Ep uncomfortable. I'm less clear on Joseph_George's and robert's comments; can you clarify? -Moderator
      • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
        Thanks for your post; can you clarify your question? -Moderator
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments; can you clarify what you mean by "all workers?" Do you mean all employees of all businesses in the city of Austin? -Moderator
  • Ep Ep about 1 year ago
    This question does assume that mandated sick leave is a foregone conclusion. It assumes that business owners are sheep. Business owners by definition are not sheep. It takes considerable initiative, effort and fortitude to provide jobs. Business associations are actively exchanging communications about this proposed measure. If instituted, businesses are preparing for legal alternatives: reduced benefits, subcontracting, online hiring, automation, layoffs, closure, etc.
    Hide Replies (4)
    • Joseph_George about 1 year ago
      Sounds like class warfare is a real thing.
      Hide Replies (2)
      • robert about 1 year ago
        Who are the classes?
      • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
        Thanks for posting; can you clarify what you mean? -Moderator
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments. -Moderator
  • davidabliss about 1 year ago
    All workers, full-stop. The only reasonable exemptions should be for businesses with very low revenues. The hour count should be pro-rated according to a 36-hour full time standard rate, meaning workers who work 18 hours a week accumulate paid sick leave at half the rate of a full time employee, but ensuring they can still collect these necessary hours. This is absolutely the business of the city government and I'm glad it's being considered.
    Hide Replies (3)
    • robert about 1 year ago
      Too much government at all levels. This is prime example of catering to special interests.
      Hide reply (1)
      • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
        Thanks for your comments, Robert; can you clarify which special interests you believe the City is catering to? -Moderator
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments; can you clarify how you would define the exemptions you mention for businesses with very low revenues? How might you define those businesses? -Moderator
  • Julia K about 1 year ago
    All workers should be able to stay home if they are sick! Or if they have to care for a sick dependent. Every single last one.
    Hide Replies (3)
    • Ep Ep about 1 year ago
      That sounds great in theory.
    • robert about 1 year ago
      Not by law or ordinance. Let the market decide
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks, Julia--can you clarify? Do you believe that all employees of all companies in the City should receive paid sick leave, or are there any limitations on who should receive paid sick leave? -Moderator
  • Paul C about 1 year ago
    This is just one more example of good intentions but bad policy. Consider the well intention folks who thought raising the minimum wage on a state or local level would be good for workers. Well now you have WALMART and other companies using self check outs. How did that work out? Did the employee get a raise? NO! The job got eliminated. McDonald's and other fast food places are also starting to use KIOSK instead of people making minimum wage. EVERY cost you mandate to employers will have a negative effect on workers as the employer must cut payroll or benefits to make up for this cost. How many employers will reduce vacation time or other benefits if required to provide sick days? How many employers will not add that extra employee because they are getting regulated to death. How many people will completely abuse this???? Good intentions - Bad idea - will cost people jobs
    Hide Replies (2)
    • RWarwick about 1 year ago
      EXACTLY! Well said.
      Hide reply (1)
      • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
        Thanks to you both for your comments. -Moderator
  • Alayna about 1 year ago
    As a society, it is important that human rights come first and foremost ahead of business rights. Individuals should not have to worry about losing their job because they have to get a Pap smear, or cancer screening, or even proactive vaccines. People with the flu, pregnancies, and even horrible Austin allergies should be able to take a day off work to recover without risking their job. Many comments are worried about behavioral patterns and abusing the system but that’s a management issue, not a City Council issue. All employee types except for contract employees should be allowed to take a certain amount of sick leave without risking their job.
    Hide Replies (5)
    • Ep Ep about 1 year ago
      If it's a management issue to detect abuse, that's an additional hidden cost to employers - on top of any abuse.
      Hide Replies (4)
      • Alayna about 1 year ago
        It is already part of management to detect abuse, is it not?
        Hide Replies (3)
        • Ep Ep about 1 year ago
          If the business doesn't offer paid sick leave, then it has no system to detect abuse. Any system costs money to implement and administer. Any abuse detected by the employer creates a liability for the employer. Will the employer recover those funds? Will the employer terminate the employee? Will the employee sue the employer? More hidden costs. As long as we are talking about abuse of paid sick leave, be aware that existing policies prevent employers from asking about the usage of paid sick time. Put another way, employers are mandated to allow their funds to be abused.
          Hide Replies (2)
          • Lmccollom about 1 year ago
            As a labor and employment lawyer who mostly represents employers, I know of no laws that prevent an employer from investigating abuse of sick leave or FMLA leave (unpaid leave) or taking disciplinary action for abuse or fraud. I do frequently see situations in which I believe doctors write fraudulent excuses for employees , for which they do often, if not always , get paid. Very hard to address that problem, though.
            Hide reply (1)
            • Ep Ep about 1 year ago
              Google "Ten Things Businesses Might Not Know About California's Paid Sick Leave Law".
  • Dpmoney about 1 year ago
    1. I do not think people should be rewarded for bad health.2. For a small private company a policy like this could put them out of business. I saw it happen with the rediculous Obama Care. Several business went under because they could not afford the expensive health insurance for the employees needed to complete their tasks. 3. Paying people to be sick is a waste of money, there is no work returned. Austin will just create more hypochondriacs and have more lawsuits on their hand that will require tax payer dollars to settle.4. In construction We have seen companies from other cities and out of state become much more competitive in the Austin area due to the high cost of living. With any more regulation we are going to cause big problems for Austin businesses. Less regulation the better!
    Hide Replies (3)
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments; can you say more about why you believe a paid sick leave policy would put a small private company out of business? -Moderator
      Hide Replies (2)
      • Dpmoney about 1 year ago
        Austin has higher overhead costs for businesses (property tax, office space rental costs, insurance, more breaks required for workers, higher wage, etc...) it cost more to do business in Austin; therefore businesses in Austin have to charge more for the work they do. This makes it very difficult to compete with contractors in the same trade coming in from cities like Houston and Dallas. So Austin business have to cut their costs to compete with these other contractors, this lowers the profit margin. Adding sick pay increases the overhead costs even more and makes it very difficult for Austin business to stay competitive and turn a profit. We need to find ways to help small business to grow and stay competitive with contractors from outside Austin. I understand the idea is to help the employees, but they get paid better in Houston and Dallas because the companies make more money with the lower overhead businesses are paying. Plus, more jobs are available in these markets because the businesses are growing. Companies that are moving out of Austin are able to pay their employees better overall, but it is taking jobs away.
        Hide reply (1)
        • Lmccollom about 1 year ago
          I think paid sick leave could and should be applied to any employer whose employees are working in austin, no matter where the principal place of business of the employer is located. But I do wonder what the potential enforcement mechanisms would be. And I agree that in some businesses, such as construction, it would disadvantage local companies if not applied to out of town companies performing contracts in austin. This is one reason why it is much better for employment policies to be adopted at state level. Not currently an option in texas, unfortunately.
  • Ep Ep about 1 year ago
    Austin employers are currently mandated to pay on behalf of employees: salary, overtime, social security, medicare, federal unemployment, state unemployment, and healthcare.
  • congress1902 about 1 year ago
    Removed by moderator.
  • erothbauer over 1 year ago
    This policy has the potential to avert public health crises-- but only if it is applied to all workers, whether they are part time or full time, hourly or salaried, temp or otherwise. We don't want anyone handling our food while sick, period.
    Hide Replies (4)
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments; to clarify, do you support a local ordinance requiring employers to provide paid sick leave to all employees? -Moderator
      Hide Replies (2)
      • erothbauer about 1 year ago
        Yes, I support a local ordinance requiring all employers to provide paid sick leave to all employees in Austin. Full-time, part-time, temporary, and contract employees should be included.Also, to elaborate on my point:Sick days are a matter of public interest because they reduce the spread of outbreaks. A major medical outbreak would force city/state/government funds to deal with it. So, private companies are profiting by putting public health at risk (and counting on a government bailout). A sick leave ordinance would address this.
        Hide reply (1)
        • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
          Thanks for your clarification and additional comments. -Moderator
    • Ep Ep about 1 year ago
      To avert public health crises, the policy would have to apply to all sick claims from all workers. I.e. Unlimited paid sick leave.
  • Ep Ep about 1 year ago
    Removed by moderator.
  • NWATX about 1 year ago
    Sick leave encourages people to lie and rewards people who are sick. We dont have any sick leave, but we give 20 days of PTO/year +1 for each year of service up to 30 total. They can be used for any purpose. If someone is sick a lot they use it for sick leave. People that arent sick use it for whatever purpose.Segmenting types of leave penalizes healthy or honest people while rewarding unhealthy or dishonest people
    Hide Replies (3)
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments. -Moderator
    • Alayna about 1 year ago
      Should the conversation be steered towards mandatory leave to be used for any purpose? If so, would you support this?
      Hide reply (1)
      • Ep Ep about 1 year ago
        That's equivalent to mandating additional salary.
  • Deborah Byrd over 1 year ago
    We - as citizens - don't have enough information here to make an informed judgement on whether this is a good idea. Our only basis for judging, so far, are our politic leanings and biases. We're told that "33 cities and eight states have passed paid sick leave policies." Does Austin needs one, also, in order to maintain its overall reputation as a progressive city, a reputation that attracts businesses to our city? Personally, I'd be in favor of it. It's a humane policy that helps those most in need. It raises us all up. But then I vote as a liberal, politically, so of course I would feel this way. As a small business owner in Texas, I also understand there will be an outcry from those who feel the city should not dictate to small business. To satisfy everyone, it would be helpful to know ... how is this policy faring in the other cities and states that have enacted it? Which cities and states are those? How are they enforcing it? What are some comments from small business owners in those places about this policy? What are the long-term benefits to business of enacting such a policy? What are the long-term benefits to the city of Austin?P.S. It bothers me when the city asks for input from citizens without giving citizens enough information to make an informed judgement. It makes me think the city is just "going through the motions" of asking for input ... but not really taking our input into account.
    Hide Replies (6)
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments, Deborah; it is very important that the City provide the public with enough information to make informed decisions. You may want to review the material posted here: http://austintexas.gov/department/city-council/2017/20170928-reg.htm. Go to item #55 on the Council agenda for additional background. I will also pass along your comments to subject-matter experts to see if they can give you additional background. I do believe that the City Council will be taking your input into account as it determines what course to take. -Moderator
    • Ep Ep about 1 year ago
      Become an employer and offer these benefits.
      Hide Replies (4)
      • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
        Thanks for your comments; can you clarify or expand on that? -Moderator
        Hide Replies (3)
        • Ep Ep about 1 year ago
          Most employers already offer paid leave. Austin City Council has provided no data to refute this position. Furthermore, it is clear that Austin City Council has no idea of what it takes for employers to offer jobs and paid leave. Instead, it wants to solve a problem that doesn't exist by burdening employers with additional cost, paperwork, compliance, penalties, etc. Why doesn't Austin City Council spend its efforts on supporting employers: increasing workforce skills, reducing property crime, etc.? Why does Austin City Council view employers as wayward subordinates? The proposed leave mandate comes across as superior and contemptuous.
          Hide Replies (2)
          • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
            Thanks for your comments; you may want to refer to background information located here regarding data on employers and paid leave. http://speakupaustin.us.engagementhq.com/1166/documents/1123 -Moderator
            Hide reply (1)
            • Ep Ep about 1 year ago
              The article does not refute the position above: Most employers offer paid leave. Articles with numbers and graphs seem authoritative and definitive. How was the data gathered? What is the impact of offering or not offering sick leave? What are the types of sick leave? How does their impact differ from each other? What is the impact of mandated sick leave? What are the implications of government requiring businesses to offer leave that isn't used for sickness?
  • Ep Ep about 1 year ago
    Employers are a privilege - not a right. No one is required to provide jobs. But Austin City Council continuously burdens employers with new requirements, costs, paperwork and penalties for compliance mistakes. The recycling program is the most recent example. Two dumpsters are twice the cost. And there are COA dumpster police. Stop burdening and start supporting employers. Only employers dependent on local traffic are captive to Austin.
    Hide Replies (3)
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments; can you say more about what you mean by "only employers dependent on local traffic are captive to Austin?" -Moderator
      Hide Replies (2)
      • Ep Ep about 1 year ago
        Employers who are not dependent on local traffic can leave Austin. Austin City Council is driving employers to leave. Other governing agencies are trying to attract employers. Employers who want perspective can contact chambers of commerce, google "state economic development", inquire on websites like city-data.com, etc. Many communities need jobs. And they may not have extraordinary regulatory burden, severe compliance penalties, high business and real estate property taxes, rampant property theft, out of control homeless population, dumpster police and mandated leave.
        Hide reply (1)
        • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
          Thanks for your additional comments. -Moderator
  • Ep Ep about 1 year ago
    There needs to be another survey - one for employers: How has the City of Austin supported or not supported your business?
    Hide reply (1)
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments. -Moderator
  • Ep Ep about 1 year ago
    Employees need to consider what such a policy might do to their paid vacation.
    Hide Replies (2)
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments; can you say more about what you mean? Do you mean that the policy could reduce paid vacation days? -Moderator
      Hide reply (1)
      • Ep Ep about 1 year ago
        Yes. Paid leave is part of an employee's salary. Is Austin City Council going to create a salary mandate?
  • Trainwreck20 about 1 year ago
    I do not think sick leave should be covered at a local level at all; this issue, if addressed, needs to be done at a state or (preferably) national level.
    Hide reply (1)
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments. -Moderator
  • JoseGarza about 1 year ago
    All people who work.
    Hide reply (1)
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments, Jose; do you think it should be anyone working for a company with an Austin location, anyone who lives in the city limits, etc.?
  • mkcl about 1 year ago
    The City of Austin can’t manage and enforce its own policies. Why should it interfere with private business? Private companies remain competitive by offering employee benefits. Small companies cannot compete with national and global companies ... you can’t treat them the same. Benefits are relative ... a sick leave policy will take away from other benefits when a company is required to fund any level of sick leave. Maybe the city government should quit the sick leave accrual and roll-over and apply the annual use-it-or-lose-it philosophy ... same thing for vacation.
    Hide reply (1)
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments; can you clarify what you mean in the first sentence or be specific? -Moderator
  • Bo Delp about 1 year ago
    All people who work in Austin should be covered under a paid sick day policy.
    Hide reply (1)
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments, Bo. -Moderator
  • Alisar about 1 year ago
    All employers in the city should provide paid sick leave. No one should have to risk their job or have to worry about making rent because they fall ill and need a day to recover.
    Hide Replies (2)
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your post, Alisar; to clarify, would you support an ordinance requiring employers to provide paid sick leave? Or do you believe employers simply should do this but not be legally mandated to do so? -Moderator
    • Ep Ep about 1 year ago
      Removed by moderator.
  • Joyce Lally over 1 year ago
    Yes everyone should be offered sick leave! As a society, it’s important that we invest in our community’s health. Healthy society benefits us tremendously . Compared to the other first world countries, like Europe, we do not provide near enough for our citizens as other countries. Two weeks of vacation plus leave for women who have a baby but men do not get same as they do in other countries. Vacation leave in other first world countries? 6-8 weeks a year. Unfortunately The reason companies thrive here in America is bc they make so much money off the backs of its employees. Corporations do well here , China and India. Although we are a first world country compared to China and India, They open up shophere bc Our citizens citizenry has bought into this idea that corporations should not have to do anything for their workers but the workers must do everything for their employees. Bottom line? A minimum amount of sick leave should be mandatory. Additional can negotiated. Healthy employees make for happy employees. Less accidents at work and less expensive costs in the long run as well as providing a sense of comfort to the blue collar citizenry that other first world countries do, but we are lacking .
    Hide Replies (2)
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments, Joyce. To clarify, do you support an ordinance requiring employers to provide paid sick leave to employees? -Moderator
    • Ep Ep about 1 year ago
      Removed by moderator.
  • chsaustin about 1 year ago
    Increasing the cost of doing business in Austin will drive businesses to locations with fewer regulations and lower overhead with the ultimate result being fewer jobs in Austin. Let businesses determine which benefits to offer.
    Hide reply (1)
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments. -Moderator
  • pbratton-5d88heo over 1 year ago
    The City of Austin is acting as a 'union' who wants to establish benefits and rules for all employers. This is killing the competitive, free-enterprise system. With the shortage of good employees and low unemployment rate in Austin, business are already competing for good talent. If the city want to enact an ordinance that refers ONLY to businesses who want to do business with the city, let them, but stay out of free enterprises.
    Hide Replies (5)
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments; to clarify, are you suggesting you would support a policy whereby any companies doing business with the city would be required by law to provide paid sick leave? -Moderator
      Hide Replies (2)
      • pbratton-5d88heo about 1 year ago
        I oppose the city requiring companies to provide benefits. The City of Austin should be governing the city, not acting as a union negotiating benefits.
        Hide reply (1)
        • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
          Got it; thanks for clarifying. -Moderator
    • dgarrick about 1 year ago
      First of all, even if we accept the argument that this proposal would increase unemployment, it does not follow that the City of Austin’s primary concern in this matter should be to reduce or maintain the current unemployment rate. If that was the city’s primary goal, then we could simply propose to legalize child labor or reduce other labor protections. However, doing so would not increase the quality of life of Austin’s residents — which is the purpose of employment — because any new jobs created as a result would not be gainful, meaningful jobs.Instead, I propose that it is the duty of the people of Austin to define what a meaningful job is in service of the goal of maximizing the quality of life of all Austinites, and the city should create legislation which reflects and enforced that definition. The free enterprise system is, as you noted, very strong in Austin, and it should remain free and unempeded by beauracracy as much as possible. However, we should keep in mind that the goal of this system is to serve the people of Austin. As such, I believe that mandating that employers provide sick days for any part-or-full time job would improve the quality of life of all Austinites, and the economic cost of doing so would be justified by its benefits. Working while sick is a public health cost which is the responsibility of employers. It not only reduces productivity, but endangers public health and, in many cases, multiplicatively encurs health costs by putting sick people in contact with many more people who are otherwise healthy — often customers. By not offering sick days, companies are able to simply shift this economic cost onto individuals and the City’s health care system. Instead, the City should mandate that sick days should be provided by employers, as they should be responsible for bearing the cost. So, providing sick days may encur an economic cost, but it is a cost worth paying, as it will improve the quality of life and public health of the residents of Austin overall.
      Hide reply (1)
      • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
        Thanks for your comments. -Moderator
  • David Hickernell over 1 year ago
    Everyone should be covered by this policy.
    Hide Replies (5)
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your post, David; to clarify, do you mean that the City should require all employers to provide paid sick leave to all employees? -Moderator
      Hide Replies (4)
      • David Hickernell about 1 year ago
        Yes that is what I mean. But I was also trying to say that I think this should cover anyone who works and gets sick; just saying “employees” could leave out a lot of people who have a job but aren’t technically employees at a company.
        Hide Replies (3)
        • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
          Thanks, David; do you mean, for instance, contractors? Just clarifying whom you think policy should apply to. -Moderator
          Hide Replies (2)
          • David Hickernell about 1 year ago
            Yes contractors are one example.
            Hide reply (1)
            • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
              Thanks, David. -Moderator
  • Gary Stroud over 1 year ago
    First off it should be voluntary whether an employer offers or not. Second, it should be rolled out for all employees. Temporary employees are not covered under any benefits, except salary.
    Hide Replies (11)
    • BILL Predmore over 1 year ago
      There should be paid sick leave. Up to x amount of hours should be allocated and the longer the person works the more this number increases. These hours should roll-over each year but there should be a cap that can be accumulated . When an employee leaves the job they should get the dollar amount of these hours accumulated. This accumulation of sick time would encourage workers to not take them unless needed. Each position should have a clearly written job description on both sick leave and vacation time stating if they are provided for that position.
      Hide Replies (7)
      • Gary Stroud over 1 year ago
        By paying when they leave encourages them to not take, save up for the pay out. It also puts the company on the hook for a bunch of money that influences their ability to borrow money.
        Hide reply (1)
        • BILL Predmore over 1 year ago
          To even come close to addressing everything involved it should include how sick, vacation, spousal leave, etc. is there or not there and how it is treated. These all should be in a compensation package when a job offer is made. But each company, the city, the county, and the state should be able to offer the plan they think best or nothing. The city or the other governmental agencies should not force others to offer it as part of the compensation package offered. From my work experience, any and all benefits offered such as sick time are very important when considering a job offer.
      • Sue Burnett about 1 year ago
        No I do not agree with this.
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        • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
          Hi, Sue--thanks for your post; can you clarify what you disagree with? Is it the idea of a policy requiring employers to offer paid sick leave?
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          • Sue Burnett about 1 year ago
            I am sorry. I do agree with Bill Predmore that the city should not force others to offer it as part of the compensation package for employers.
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            • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
              Thank you for clarifying, Sue! -Moderator
      • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
        Thanks for your comments, Bill; to clarify, are you supportive of an ordinance that would require employers to provide paid sick leave, or are you instead saying employers should offer it but not be required to by law? -Forum Moderator
    • pbratton-5d88heo over 1 year ago
      Gary, many temporary staffing firms offer more benefits than just pay. Temporary staffing firms must meet the same ACA requirements as any other employer, of course temporary employees covered by spouse or other insurance coverage may and usually opt out because their assignments by nature are less than 90 days. Temporary firms must remain competitive in the market place and many offer PTO, vacation, ACA, 401K and other benefits. Please keep in mind the average temporary assignment is less than 520 hours - even when converting to full time with the client to which they were assigned. Just wanted you to have the facts.
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Hi, Gary--thanks for your comments. Can you clarify--you would like the City to encourage all employers to offer paid sick leave to all employees, temporary and part-/full-time? How might that work? -Forum Moderator
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments, Gary. -Moderator
  • Gordon Walton over 1 year ago
    I strongly disagree that companies should be forced to offer sick leave. Most larger companies have moved to a combined PTO policy that includes sick leave. All companies need the freedom to offer competitive compensation packages that may or may not include sick leave.
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    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments, Gordon. -Moderator
  • Cgiles over 1 year ago
    The links and white paper provided focus on benefits of having leave, but don't talk about consequences of government legislative leave plans that have been enacted in other regions. Any policy enacted must focus on minimum thresholds and flexibility. It should address the fact that many employers offer a combined paid leave policy that includes vacation and sick time. Requiring all to change to separate banks for the two would be a burden and might result in employees who currently have benefits losing some. Salaried exempt employees, if properly managed by business, should not need to be given leave either, as DoL guidelines should protect them.Any legislation passed by the City should focus only on providing benefits minimums. Full time employees in all industries should be entitled to some minimum leave, perhaps 5-10 days a year, and those who work more than half time should be entitled to some pro-rated amount. I do not believe seasonal or temporary employees who are employed less than three months should be entitled to paid leave.
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    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments. -Moderator
  • Larry Sunderland over 1 year ago
    First and only question should be " Should the City of Austin create a sick leave policy for Austin Businesses?" The answer is no.
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    • Gary Stroud about 1 year ago
      That is right, they should remember that anything that is given away that costs money is being paid for by the taxpayers. If they feel so strong about having that policy, put it to a vote.
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      • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
        Gary, thanks for your comments; at the conclusion of this public dialogue, the Council may choose to do so. -Moderator
    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments, Larry. -Moderator
  • Sue Burnett about 1 year ago
    Personal time off or sick leave should not be mandated by a city but only by a federal law. We have offices in five Texas cities for staffing temporary employees. It doesn't make sense to have different laws in each city. Also, temporary employees work at a number of different companies and may have time between assignments. Temporary services each have their own policy regarding time off and vacation pay. If this was enacted for temporaries, then our clients would be charged more and that is difficult to figure when a temporary works for different companies. We are very opposed to Austin City Council setting employment benefit rules for private employers. The State Legislature can make laws for state employees but City Council should not make rules for private companies. Sue Burnett Burnett Specialists
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    • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
      Thanks for your comments, Sue--to clarify, are you suggesting that you would support a federal law requiring paid sick leave but not one implemented locally? -Moderator
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      • Sue Burnett about 1 year ago
        No, I would not support a federal law for this but my point was that Federal and State legislators have the power to make rules for a state or a company, but each city should not have their own laws concerning employment. I have offices in five Texas cities and we should not have different rules for each city. Most companies have vacation and personal days now and requiring sick pay is unrealistic. Most companies do not require that someone be sick to take a personal day. I do not support government telling employers what type of vacation or personal days they should have.
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        • Admin Commented Larry Schooler about 1 year ago
          Understood; thanks for clarifying, Sue! -Moderator