Arizona Paid Sick Leave

arizona paid sick leave lawsJuly 2017 saw the enforcement of a new mandatory paid sick leave regulation in Arizona. Arizona became the fifth state in the nation to acquire such a law after Connecticut, California, Vermont, Oregon and Massachusetts.

The new paid sick leave requirements apply to nearly all workers in the state. Based on the regulation, workers can accrue up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per year.

The Arizona Paid Sick Leave Law

Proposition 206 (the Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act) was approved by voters in November 2016. Apart from setting new minimum wages, it mandates for eligible employees to receive up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per year.

Employees will accrue a minimum of one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours of work. Those who are exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and are paid a salary are treated as those who work 40 hours per week for the purposes of paid sick leave accrual. The accrual of paid sick time will begin on the date when a person was hired or on July 1, 2017 (whichever comes later).

Employers who have 15 or more workers must provide a minimum of 40 hours of paid sick leave per year. Companies that have fewer than 15 workers should provide a minimum of 24 hours of paid sick leave per year per employee.

The rule applies to companies that employ part-time and seasonal workers.

Whenever the sick leave is earned but unused, it will be carried over to the coming year. The use of paid sick time will still be subjected to an annual maximum, as long as the requirements of the Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act are met.

Ways in Which Employees Can Use Paid Sick Leave

As sick time is accrued, it may be used by employees. The only exception applies to new workers. An employer has the right to require a waiting period of 90 days before the workers begin using the paid sick leave they have accrued.

The paid sick leave hours can be used in increments. The situations in which workers will accrue sick time include the following:

  • Needing medical care
  • Needing dental care
  • Treatment for a mental illness
  • A public health emergency
  • Domestic, sexual violence or abuse
  • Having to take care of a sick family member

Whenever such an absence is foreseeable, the employee is required by law to provide their employer with advance notice. If possible, the leave should be scheduled to prevent disruptions in the work process.

If sick leave hours are used for three or more consecutive work days, the employer has the right to demand documentation pertaining to the purpose of the leave.

Implications for Employers

Nearly all businesses in Arizona are affected by the Proposition 206 provisions. Even companies that are not based in Arizona but that employ Arizona workers will have to comply with the paid sick leave requirements.

Companies that are exempt from minimum wage requirements (small businesses) will have to comply with the paid sick leave regulations, as well.

By law, employers are obliged to inform their workers about the amount of earned paid sick leave that they have accrued, the number of hours taken to the respective date and the pay received as earned paid sick leave. Such information is to be attached to the employee’s paycheck.

Employees should also be informed about their right to accrue paid sick time.

Companies that fail meeting the requirements could be subjected to sanctions, which is why reviewing employment policies and ensuring compliance happen to be of paramount importance. Whenever sick time is not being paid, employees can pursue their right in court.  Click here to find out if you can be fired for leaving work for a family emergency in Arizona.