Changes across the board are being proposed to revise the city’s paid sick leave policies for all businesses regardless of their size. Dozens showed up to the second and final public meeting to voice their opinions and learn more about the ordinance changes.
“Personally, I don’t think a size fits all approach will work just because businesses don’t make the same margins, don’t make the same revenue,” said Kelly Cubeta, a local business owner.
“I think it’s really important for the city to support working families through an ordinance like this,” said other attendee.
Among several revisions, the ‘one size fits all’ ordinance requires employers to provide 56 hours of leave to all employees. “56 hours per year is a little too much. I’d say something under 30 would be workable. It is going to increase labor costs. We may have to increase food prices also a little bit,” said Pat Peter, a fast-food restaurant owner. Terms like ‘small employer’ or ‘large employer’ would be removed. Employers would be required to provide sick leave to temporary employees hired through their business.
“If I have to go see the doctor, since I’m a temp employee I don’t receive PTO, that now I won’t be punished for being sick,” said Anthony Cruz, a temporary employee. Metro Health backing the change saying industries that don’t provide sick leave could contribute to creating public health issues.
“Lots of folks that currently don’t have paid sick leave work in restaurants or service industries so they’re interacting with the public, serving food everyday and if they’re sick, we want them to stay home,” said Jennifer Herriott, Interim Director, San Antonio Metropolitan Health District.
The proposed ordinance would also change the name and expand what qualifies for a sick day. Sick days will now cover employees’ time-off related to domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking.