Arizona Employee Rights Under the New Paid Sick Time Law
In the November election season, Arizona voters passed Proposition 206, a voter-backed initiative that increased the state's minimum wage and required employers to provide paid sick time to workers. The new paid sick time changes, in particular, will provide many Arizona employees with new legal rights that are worth highlighting in detail.
The Amount of Time You Are Entitled to Take Depends on the Employer's Size
Almost all Arizona workers — whether they are seasons, temporary, part-time or full-time — will receive paid sick time.
The precise amount of time a worker receives, however, is based upon the employer's size.
Employers with fewer than 15 employees must provide at least 24 hours of paid sick time every year.
Employers with 15 or more workers must provide at least 40 hours of paid sick leave.
Rights Based on Sick Leave Accrual and Use
Under the terms of the new law, you will begin to earn paid sick time starting on July 1, 2017 or when your employment commences, depending on which date is later.
Employees who are hired after July 1, 2017 must wait 90 days before using sick leave that has been accrued.
You also have the right to accrue a minimum of one hour of earned paid sick time for every 30 hours that you work, unless you are an employee who is designated as exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Employees who fall under this category will accrue a minimum of one hour of earned paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked.
These rules can become quite complex, so talk to an Arizona employment lawyer if you have any questions about your paid sick time accrual.
Additionally, employees have the right to carry over unused sick time to the following year, but employees do have the option to pay their employees for unused sick time if they don't want the time to carry over.
In effect, you have the right to either carry over your unused sick time or the right to be paid for the sick time that was not used.
Accepted Uses of Paid Sick Leave
Arizona employees have the right to use paid sick leave for a broad range of uses.
First, know that employees may use paid sick time as it is earned. Second, A.R.S. § 23-373 says paid sick leave can be used for the following purposes:
Your personal medical care for a physical illness, mental illness, injury or health condition
Absence to take care of a domestic violence, sexual violence, abuse or stalking concern
Taking care of a family member with an illness, injury or health condition
A public health emergency, such as caring for a child whose school was closed due to a health emergency
These broad provisions are meant to ensure your rights are not curtailed when you need to take care of yourself or a loved one.
Using Paid Sick Leave Is Not Grounds for Employer Retaliation
A key provision of Proposition 206 states that employers cannot discriminate or retaliate against employers who use paid sick leave.
Doing so is simply exercising the rights given to Arizona employees according to Arizona's wage laws.
As such, know that legal action may be warranted against any employer who terminates you within 90 days of your taking sick leave.
Such action can be used as evidence that the adverse action was taken because sick leave was used.
Contact Tyler Allen Law Firm, PLLC for a legal consultation with an Arizona employment lawyer if you believe adverse action was taken against you because you used the sick leave to which you are entitled by Arizona law.