Last week was not a slow news week for this blog!!!
On March 10th, judges of the Fourth Court of Appeals in San Antonio threw out the City of San Antonio’s “Sick and Safe Leave Ordinance.” Some of you may be old enough to remember that the ordinance passed originally in 2018 as the “Paid Sick Leave Ordinance.”
To make a long, convoluted story short, several business groups filed suit against the enforcement of the ordinance, and Judge Peter Sakai issued a temporary injunction against its going into effect. And it never has. And likely never will.
Several groups and the City appealed the judge’s order, and on Wednesday a three-judge panel (Patricia Alvarez, Irene Rios, and Beth Watkins) of the Fourth Court of Appeals agreed with Judge Sakai that the ordinance was pre-empted by the Texas Minimum Wage Act and thus unconstitutional. More specifically, the panel held “wage” mean a “payment to a person for services rendered” and that the ordinance set a minimum wage.
Even more specifically, the Fourth Court held that an ordinance that requires employers to pay sick leave means employers must pay those employees who earn [sick and safe leave] more than employees who work the same hours without paid sick leave. Go figure….
Even though the Fourth Court was only ruling on a temporary injunction, and even though the City could appeal to the Texas Supreme Court, the ordinance has zero chance there, and is effectively dead. Enacted before the current pandemic, it did not go into effect during the pandemic, and now it never will.