UPDATE: San Antonio City Council passes paid sick leave initiative Thursday. Advocates say they will continue to push for change at the state level.


Hundreds of people filled city chambers for city council's public hearing on the paid sick leave ordinance earlier this month.

An alliance of community groups gathered more than 144,000 signatures to move the issue forward and mandate a paid sick leave ordinance for all business owners.

"We're here tonight to speak up for the 350,000 people currently who do not have [paid] sick time," local business owner Julio Lopez said.

Currently, there are no state or federal laws requiring paid sick time.

Under city rules, voters can initiate any ordinance, but they are required to collect 10 percent of signatures based off all eligible voters in the last municipal election to put an ordinance on the election ballot. This means that supporters had to collect at least 75,000 signatures, which they exceeded.

City council heard from more than 100 people, including Congressman Joaquin Castro. Speakers stood on both sides of the debate regarding how the city should move forward and how it could impact thousands of people.

"Please know that we’re not against paid sick leave, we just want it done the right way," said Ray Chavez, president and CEO of the San Antonio Manufacturers Association.

If the city ordinance for paid sick leave passes, it would require all businesses within the city limits to give their workers between six to eight paid sick days a year.

"Through this, they'll be able to take care of sick children, they will be able to take care of themselves, they'll be able to take care of their families," Lopez said.