Appeals court tosses out Austin’s paid sick leave ordinance

Doctor's office - FILE - Generic

AUSTIN (KXAN) — An appeals court has tossed out Austin’s paid sick leave ordinance, which was enacted by the city council earlier this year but never took effect because of court battles.

The city council passed a resolution in February mandating private businesses must provide sick leave for employees. Two weeks later, it also passed a similar resolution for city employees. It was all supposed to go into effect Oct. 1, but a Texas business group filed a lawsuit saying the ordinance violated the Texas Constitution. 

A Travis County judge shot down that lawsuit challenge, and the group of businesses and the state appealed to the Court of Appeals for the Third District of Texas. That court temporarily blocked the ordinance from starting while it made its decision. Now it will not happen because the court ruled Friday in favor of the businesses and the state. It agreed that the ordinance is pre-empted by state law (The Texas Minumum Wage Act) and could “irreparably harm the Private Parties and the State.”

The case will be remanded to a district court with the temporary injunction, so the business groups can re-plead part of the case related to how the ordinance would allow the city a “warrantless search” to make sure businesses are complying.

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