Victory in ‘Keeping Austin Healthy’ as City is Poised to Become the First in the South to Guarantee Paid Sick Days

Statement of Debra L. Ness, President, National Partnership for Women & Families

“The Austin City Council’s vote this morning to approve a paid sick days ordinance, by a vote of 9-2, is yet another milestone moment in the national movement to increase working people’s access to paid sick time. Mayor Adler should follow through on his support for paid sick days by signing the measure into law immediately. When he does, Austin workers will be guaranteed the right to earn up to six or eight paid sick days per year, depending on the size of their employers, to recover from an illness, care for a family member or address issues related to domestic violence, stalking or sexual assault. The city will join 41 other jurisdictions in providing this common sense workplace protection and become the first city in the South to do so.

Austin’s slogan may be ‘Keep Austin Weird,’ but today’s victory is all about keeping Austin healthy, especially the more than 210,000 Austinites who currently cannot earn paid sick time and their families, workplaces and communities. Paid sick days are critical for the economic security of working families, and they improve their health and reduce contagion in workplaces and communities. Businesses benefit when employees are able to recover from illnesses faster, and when potential customers are financially secure. And paid sick days are especially crucial for women, allowing them to access reproductive health care, including abortion care, without losing pay.

Today’s victory would not have been possible without the hard work of the Work Strong Austin coalition, including the Center for Public Policy Priorities and the Workers Defense Project, as well as advocacy efforts led by groups in the reproductive health, rights and justice movement, including the Lilith Fund and NARAL Pro-Choice Texas. We also applaud Austin City Council Member Greg Casar for championing the ordinance. Efforts to derail or undermine the measure at the local, state and federal levels should stop. More than 37 million workers across the country cannot earn a single paid sick day. Austin has now taken action to help, and Congress should follow its lead by passing the Healthy Families Act to establish the national paid sick days standard the country needs.”

About the National Partnership

The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, reproductive health and rights, access to quality, affordable health care and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at

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