Abbott touts bill that bars cities from mandating paid sick leave

February 19, 2019

AUSTIN — Setting up the latest clash over a local control matter that pits state lawmakers against Democrat-backed initiatives in Texas cities, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott is touting a bill that would block cities from forcing private employers to provide paid sick leave to workers.

“Paid sick leave is a great business strategy,” Abbott recently told the North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, echoing the comments he delivered at an Austin business luncheon earlier this year. “But it should be used as a strategic mechanism by businesses at their own discretion. It should not be mandated by government.”

Cities such as Austin and San Antonio have passed ordinances requiring private employers to provide paid sick leave. But a state appeals court found Austin’s policy unconstitutional in November.

The bill in the Legislature, filed by state Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, and Rep. Craig Goldman, R-Fort Worth, would block municipalities and counties from enforcing employment policies that conflict with state or federal law.

No federal law requires employers to provide paid sick leave, though at least 10 states do, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.