City Council chambers filled with residents, business owners discussing paid sick time

Council will vote to put issue on November ballot

SAN ANTONIO – More than 100 people were signed up to speak on the topic of paid sick leave at the San Antonio City Council meeting Wednesday, with the large majority of them in support of a city ordinance to mandate sick time, including some business owners.

“I, myself, am a business owner. I have the benefit of paid sick time. I think it’s something that makes sense for SA,” said Julio Lopez, who is in support of the ordinance.

The City Council chambers were standing room only, with people asking the city to support the ordinance and put the issue on the ballot for voters to make the decision.

Many of those who spoke shared their personal experiences on how not being able to take a paid sick day affected their life.

More than 144,000 signatures were collected in support of putting paid sick leave on the ballot.

Those against paid sick leave said the requirement would affect small businesses, especially those who own small restaurants. They said the cost of the requirement would be passed down to customers.

“When you place these burdens on small mom-and-pop restaurants, more than likely, they will go bankrupted or the owners will be doing that much more work,” said Louis Barrios, with Los Barrios Restaurant.

The amended ordinance would require one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, with 64 hours per employee per year for medium or large employers and 48 hours for smaller employers. 

There would be a $500 civil penalty per violation.

City Council is expected to take a vote Aug. 16 on whether or not the issue will be on the November ballot.

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