Remember the 2016 controversial Arizona Proposition 206? It mandated that the minimum wage in Arizona went to $10/hour on January 1, 2017 and will increase by 50¢ annually until it reaches $12/hour on January 1, 2020. The other key component of this Proposition was paid sick leave, which just went into effect on July 1. This affects all Arizona employers except the State and Federal governments. Even small employers (with less than $500,000.00 gross annual revenue), who are exempt from the Arizona minimum wage provisions, must comply. This law includes full-time, part-time and temporary employees, making this one of the most expansive sick leave laws in the country.
Employers with 15 or more employees must provide up to 40 hours of earned paid sick leave per year and employers with 14 or fewer employees must provide up to 24 hours of earned paid sick leave per year. An employee earns one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked up to the maximum per year. Employees who are exempt from federal overtime provisions accrue based on a 40-hour work week unless their normal work week is less than 40 hours.
The accrual starts from the later of July 1 or the employee’s first day of employment, but employers may require new employees to wait 90 days from date of hire to use paid sick time. The employers may choose to pay out unused paid sick time at the end of the year or may carry over unused paid sick time to the next year up to the caps of 24 or 40 hours per year. An employee’s accrual is to appear on the employee’s paystub every pay period. An employer may choose to loan paid sick time to an employee in advance of accrual and is permitted to be more generous than this new law.
The paid sick time may be used for the employee’s own physical or mental illness, injury, health condition, diagnosis or preventative care, or for the employee to assist a family member (defined broadly as anyone related by blood or affinity as the equivalent of a family relationship) with their physical or mental illness, injury, health condition, diagnosis or preventative care. It also may be used for a public health emergency, such as school health closure, or for domestic violence, sexual violence, abuse or stalking. The paid sick leave is to be provided upon the employee’s request, and the employer may not require documentation of the reason unless the employee is requesting paid sick leave for three or more consecutive work days. Employers that require advanced notice of the use of earned paid sick time must provide employees a written policy on the procedures for acceptable notice.
Under the law, employers with paid time off policies, which may include vacation, sick leave and/or personal days, are not required to change their policies as long as they comply with the new law. However, if employers do not separate out the sick leave, they will be restricted in controlling the requests and reasons for use of the paid time off in excess of the statute, and must comply with the four-year record keeping requirements.
All Arizona employers must conspicuously display posters regarding the requirements of this new law. Free posters may be found at https://www.azica.gov/posters-employers-must-display Retaliation against employees for the request or use of paid sick time is prohibited. The provisions of this law may be found at A.R.S. Sections 23-371 et seq. http://www.azleg.gov/viewdocument/?docName=http://www.azleg.gov/ars/23/00371.htm