Attorney General Ken Paxton today issued the following statement after the Court of Appeals for the 3rd District of Texas blocked the city of Austin’s paid sick leave ordinance, concluding that it violates the Texas Constitution and Texas law.

"Today’s appellate decision affirms that the Texas Minimum Wage Act expressly preempts cities like Austin from passing a different law simply because they disagree with the judgment of our state’s elected representatives,” Attorney General Paxton said. “The Legislature has established the minimum amount of compensation for workers, and the Texas Constitution prohibits local municipalities from ignoring the Legislature’s decision.”

Attorney General Paxton intervened in a lawsuit filed by the Texas Association of Business, National Federation of Independent Business, American Staffing Association, LeadingEdge Personnel, Staff Force, HT Staffing and Burnett Staffing Specialists against city of Austin’s sick leave ordinance. Austin is the first Texas city to pass such a law. It was scheduled to take effect October 1.

When the Legislature enacted the Texas Minimum Wage Act, it intended to set a single, uniform policy for the entire state. The policy it set made no mention whatsoever of requiring employers to provide paid time off from work. 

Approved by the Austin City Council in February, the sick leave ordinance broadly applies to a variety of employers – including companies, nonprofits, individual households, churches and charitable foundations. It mandates that small businesses with 15 or fewer employees provide workers with up to six days of paid sick leave per year. All other private employers are required to allow up to 64 hours of paid sick leave.

View a copy of today’s opinion here: