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San Antonio to decide on mandatory paid sick days for all workers

Mandatory paid sick days

San Antonio businesses could soon have to pay their employees when they call in sick.

"We have 144,000 people who signed a petition, to put that initiative on the ballot,” said Alex Birnel from Move Texas.

Birnel is an advocate for mandatory paid sick days.

“We’ve needed policies that alleviate the stresses for everyday people,” said Birnel. “I think this policy does that.”

If passed, the city ordinance would require all San Antonio businesses to give workers between 6 and 8 paid sick days a year.

The amount of sick days would depend on the size of the company.

"It makes more business sense to endorse paid sick time, because it prevents the rest of your staff from getting sick,” said Birnel.

However, some argue this possible ordinance would negatively impact businesses and consumers.

“When somebody is sick, and they come into work, we send them home,” said Louis Barrios.

Barrios and his family own 4 restaurants in the San Antonio area. He tells us they have roughly 350 employees.

“Anytime you have benefits to employees, the consumers are the ones that ultimately pay for it,” said Barrios. “The cost of a meal will go up.”

Barrios believes this rule wouldn't be good for businesses, and could result in the loss of jobs. He adds that in the restaurant business, many of the workers impacted would be between 19 and 24 years-old.

"If your costs go up per employee, and your revenue doesn't go up accordingly, you're going to have to manage your labor,” said Barrios.

Two sides to an issue, that could have massive impacts on the city.

The ordinance will ultimately be decided on by public voters, or the San Antonio City Council.

"We think it's a stimulus,” said Birnel. “If you're paying people for paid sick time, that's more money that they're taking home in a check at the end of the week."

"If we continue these ordinances that require higher costs of operating business, we're going to have less and less small businesses,” said Barrios.

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