Revisiting Paid Sick Leave in Arizona
As an employer, knowing what to do when it comes to paid sick leave in the state of Arizona can feel a little confusing. In 2016, the Fair Wages & Healthy Families Act passed, establishing and mandating annual minimum wage increases and paid sick leave to all Arizona employees. On January 1, 2021, Arizona’s minimum wage increased to $12.15/hour. For tipped employees, the rate for wages remains at $3.00 less than that of Arizona’s regular minimum wage.
Basic Requirements Employers Need To Know
1. Paid Leave Standards
Arizona paid sick leave requires that employers with 15 or more employees provide employees with up to 40 hours of sick pay annually, and employers with 14 employees or less provide employees with 24 hours of sick pay annually. The rate of accrual is 1 hour of sick pay for every 30 hours worked, and begins on the first day of work. These requirements apply to all private employers, regardless of size and exempt employees are assumed to work 40 or more hours per week.
An employer can require employees to wait 90 days after hire to use sick pay, but the accrual must begin the starting day of work for each employee. This law covers all full-time, part-time, and temporary employees, and there is no minimum hours worked requirement. The exclusion to the mandate is hired babysitters and those working for a parent or sibling.
2. Paid Leave Can Be Taken for the Following Reasons
- A public health emergency arises, causing the employee’s place of business to close or their child’s school to close.
- Any case of domestic or sexual violence, abuse, or stalking of an employee or employee’s family member.
- An employee or family member of an employee is dealing with a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition and needs preventative care or a medical diagnosis.
In addition to medical reasons, paid sick time may be used when employees or their family members need to seek treatment, need to relocate, require legal services or counseling because they are a victim of abuse.
3. What Defines a Family Member
Family members are recognized as children of any age, parents, a spouse, domestic partner, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, and any person related by blood or affinity whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship. This includes adopted, foster, and step-relations whereas a person who is acting as a parent or caretaker, although not related, can include family members of an employee’s spouse or domestic partner.
4. Requesting Paid Sick Time
Employees can request PST orally, in writing, or by electronic means accepted by the employer. This should include a form and a policy in place that dictates what PST can be used for and establish rules surrounding the use of PST. Employees should give advance notice to the employer requesting PST, and include the estimated duration of the leave. However, employers cannot require an employee to find coverage for their shift.
Additionally, documentation for absences of 3 or more consecutive days may be requested solely to determine that a healthcare professional has deemed that PST is necessary, and alternative documentation may be accepted for cases of domestic violence, sexual violence, abuse, or stalking. This can be presented in the form of a police report, protective order, or a signed statement from the employee.
The state of Arizona requires all businesses to post labor posters conspicuously within their workplaces for all employees to see.
The following details must be provided and posted:
- Individual employees are entitled to PST and a set amount of PST.
- The terms of which an employee has the right to use PST.
- Retaliation against an employee using PST is illegal. Should an employer refuse to allow an employee usage of their PST, or retaliate in any form when an employee uses PST, that employee can file a complaint with the Arizona Industrial Commission.
The contact information for the Arizona Industrial Commission must be visible to provide parties can detail on where to inquire about their rights and responsibilities under the law.
Each check or pay stub an employee receives must detail the following in regard to paid sick time.
- How much PST they have available.
- How much PST has been used.
- How much PST has been paid.
If you have concerns about paid sick leave compliance, or other HR and employment related issues, contact us today at Integrity Outsource to schedule a consultation with a certified HR professional. You also subscribe to our weekly blog to stay informed on handling HR concerns and creating favorable HR best practices and guidelines for your business in Arizona.