Some small businesses in Austin hope paid sick leave ordinance is struck down

On February 15th, the Austin City Council will take up a mandatory paid sick leave policy.

Advocates say the policy provides families the time to take care of themselves and not lose money if they get sick. “The ordinance would allow workers to earn one hour of paid sick time for every thirty hours worked. So it's an accrual system,” said Mia Ibarra, senior policy analyst, Center For Public Policy Priorities.

The proposed ordinance gained traction last year under council member Greg Casar, and members Delia Garza and Ann Kitchen showing support. However, some small businesses are worried.

“We understand small businesses are concerned. What we know from other cities, states and counties that have implemented this policy, is that the sky doesn't fall,” said Ibarra.

Earlier in January, "Work Strong Austin" released survey results indicating that 62 percent of Austin voters favored paid sick leave.

“It's not one size fits all. If you ask anybody if they are for sick leave, they may say yes. Are you for the Easter bunny, ‘yes.’ Are you for the fairy godmother ‘yes’ ,are you for Santa Claus, ‘yes.’ But this is something that's real world and it's expensive,” said Tom Kenney, owner of Napa Flats in West Austin.

Kenney says for him, paid sick leave isn't good for business or the overall economy, and the accrued time could be abused.

“When are they going to start thinking that it is vacation or personal time off? Businesses want to treat their employees right. Businesses are not the bad guys. Some people think having paid sick leave is going to cure all the problems but it's not. It's going to create undue burdens for the business, we are going to have to have additional employees,” said Kenney.

“We've heard from businesses who have implemented this policy and it really does help them actually prevent no call no shows for example,” said Ibarra.