- In 2018, Austin became the first city in the South to enact a paid sick and safe time law, and was soon followed by Dallas and San Antonio. A Better Balance provided legal support to each of these campaigns, from bill drafting to talking points to litigation and amicus support when they were challenged.
All three laws were challenged by business groups as violating a Texas law that prohibits localities from enacting a minimum wage higher than the state’s. This is an exceedingly weak and dubious legal argument that has never succeeded anywhere in the country before this decision, although other lawsuits have raised it. A Better Balance strongly disputes the notion that minimum wage and paid sick time requirements are the same. However, the intermediate Texas Court of Appeals did rule that the ordinances were preempted, and since the Texas Supreme Court declined to hear the case, the appellate court’s decision striking down the ordinance will stand. As a result, workers in these three cities lack the legal right to paid sick time, despite the will of their communities and elected officials.