After passing rules that require all private employers to offer workers six to eight paid sick days a year, the City of Austin has agreed to extend its own policy to all local government employees. Previously, temporary employees, like lifeguards and crossing guards, were not covered.
Council members voted today to allow these employees to accrue one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked. Some Council members raised the issue during the debate last month over paid sick leave for private employers.
“I think from a principled stance, the City of Austin should be doing this if we’re going to be requiring [it of] private businesses,” Council Member Leslie Pool said at a work session last month.
The intent, though, had always been there. During the last budget session, Council members asked for $258,000 for a pilot program extending paid sick leave to some temporary employees. But that pilot never got up and running, and city staff has said it will use that money to educate the public about the paid sick leave ordinance.
According to the Human Resources Department, the Parks and Recreation Department employs the most temporary employees. City staff estimate that extending paid sick leave to temporary employees could cost anywhere from $350,000 to $1.4 million.
Both paid sick leave ordinances – the one applying to the city and private employers – go into effect Oct. 1.