Wage Claims Article


Arizona's Paid Sick Leave Law


In November 2016, voters increased Arizona’s existing minimum wage and added an employer sick leave pay requirement by approving Proposition 206 - the Fair Wages and Health Families Initiative. This publication explains the paid sick leave part of the law.

How much sick time do employees get?

Employees who work for an employer with 15 or more employees can earn up to 40 hours of sick leave pay per year, unless the employer selects a higher limit.

Employees who work for an employer with fewer than 15 employees can earn up to 24 hours of sick leave pay per year, unless the employer selects a higher limit.

All employees, including part-time and temporary employees, can earn sick leave pay.

How does an employee earn paid sick time?

An employee paid an hourly rate of pay earns one hour of paid sick time pay for every thirty hours worked.

Employees who are paid on a weekly salary and exempt from overtime requirements are considered to work 40 hours per week; unless, their work week is normally less than 40 hours per week. Therefore, an employee paid a weekly salary who works 40 or more hours in their normal work week earns one hour of paid sick time per week.

If the exempt employee works less than 40 hours per week, sick pay leave is earned based on the normal work week.

Do employees have to work a certain amount of time before being eligible for the paid sick time?

An employer may put in place a policy requiring an employee to wait until 90 calendar from the date of hire before using paid sick time. Otherwise, an employee may use earned paid sick time as it is accrued or available for use.

For what absences does an employee get paid sick time?

Employees can take paid sick time for many different reasons including;

• when the employee has a physical or mental illness,

• seeing a health provider for diagnosis, care or treatment of a physical or mental illness,

• for preventive medical care,

• care of a family member with a physical or mental illness,

• care of a family member who needs diagnosis, care or treatment of a physical or mental illness,

• care of a family member who needs preventive medical care,

• when a public health emergency arises, or

• for absences due to domestic violence, sexual violence, or abuse or stalking if the absence is needed for: medical attention, protective services, counseling, relocation or taking steps to secure an existing home, or legal services.

How much time off must be taken to get paid sick time?

An employee does not have to miss an entire day to get paid sick time. In order to get sick time pay an employee must miss work long enough for the employee to be considered absent or tardy. For example, if the employer considers an employee to be absent or tardy if an employee misses fifteen minutes of work, an employee who is absent or tardy due to one of the reasons that qualify for paid sick time, the employee gets 15 minutes of paid sick time.

How does an employee request paid sick time?

A request to use paid sick time may be made orally, in writing, by electronic means, or by any other means acceptable to the employer.

What must the employee do to report a paid sick time absence?

If the employee knows of the need for paid sick time in advance the employee must tell the employer of the time off ahead of time. The employee must schedule paid sick time in a way that least disrupts the business.

If the employee does not know in advance of the need for paid sick time the employee must report the paid sick time absence in the same way the employer requires employees to report any other unexpected absence.

An employee can require the employee to provide documentation showing the absence was for a paid sick leave time reason if the absence is for three or more consecutive workdays.

Can an employer require employees to provide reasonable documentation for absences in which earned paid sick time is used?

Yes, but only if an employee uses earned paid sick time on three or more consecutive workdays.

Can unused paid sick time be carried into the next paid sick time accrual year?

Yes. However, the employer does not have to increase the maximum paid sick time allowed per year when carrying over unused paid sick time into the next paid sick time leave: 40 hours of paid sick time per year for employers with 15 or more employees or 24 hours of paid sick time per year for employers with fewer than 15 or more employees.

Is unused paid sick time paid out at termination?

No. This law does not require employers to pay out unused paid sick time when employment ends for any reasons.

Can the employer discipline the employee for paid sick leave absences?

No. Employers cannot use earned sick pay time off as an absence that can lead to or result in any discipline or other adverse employment action.

Are any employees not covered by the law?

Employees employed by Arizona government or the federal government are not covered by this law.

Are employees protected from retaliation if they make a claim about their paid sick time rights?

Yes. Employers cannot retaliate against an employee for using their paid sick time or filing a complaint for about being denied their paid sick time rights.

Is there an agency where complaints can be filed?

Yes. Complaints can be filed with the Arizona Industrial Commission located at:

Phoenix: 800 W Washington St, Phoenix AZ 85007 - Phone: (602) 542-4515

Tucson: 2675 East Broadway, Tucson AZ 85716 - Phone: (520) 628-5459

Their e-mail address is: [email protected]

This is a link to their website -http://www.ica.state.az.us/Labor/Labor_main.aspx

Can an employee sue an employer to recover unpaid earned sick time?

Yes. Employees should consult with an employment law attorney about their right to sue. Lawsuits must be filed no later than two years after a violation last occurs, or three years in the case of a willful violation.

Updated: April 2020

Resources:

Arizona Industrial Commission: https://www.azica.gov/

A.R.S. § 23-373: https://www.azleg.gov/ars/23/00373.htm

Industrial Commission Frequently About Minimum Wage and Earned Paid Sick Time 2018: https://www.azica.gov/sites/default/files/media/FREQUENTLY%20ASKED%20QUESTIONS_MasterwTOC%20FINAL%20020518.pdf

Industrial Commission Frequently Asked Questions COVID-19 2020: https://www.azica.gov/sites/default/files/media/03-17-20%20FREQUENTLY%20ASKED%20QUESTIONS%20RE%20COVID-19_MasterwTOC%20FINAL.pdf

Comments:

QUESTIONS

  • During my current 6 months of employment, I was hired as a 1099 employee and then transitioned to a W2 employee (paid salary + commission)and then forced back to a 1099 employee by my employer. Despite earning commissions from the first month of employment, I have yet to be paid any commissions. They initially told me I they would pay them and then they ignored by requests for payment. Can an employer withhold and deny paying earned commissions and if so, how long. Are they subject to any penalties or fines for will fully with holding earned commission? What can I do?
  • If I feel I earned more than I was paid, is there a government organization I can call to confirm that?
  • I want to file a Civil Action Lawsuit against my former employer for unpaid wages. I'm owed $1323.00. Can I do this on my own or do I need an attorney?
  • An employee has quit working for me and has equipment belonging to me. The employee has been paid through his last day worked but demands additional money before he will return my equipment. Is this legal?
  • I worked as in Independent Contractor and was just let go by the owner, when does he have to pay me for services? Is it the same as if I were an employee? (within 24 hours)? Thanks,
  • i recently quit a job because my employer altered my contract without my permission and presented it as the original . now she won't pay me my last paycheck. is there an organization that can help me with a inexpensive lawyer (at least for a consultation) or should i take this to small claims court?
  • I was hired to work 8:30am to 5pm at a daycare and when i get there if there is not enough kids they will make me wait to start my shift until there are enough kids or work to do, the hours i am waiting are not being paid. I have also got in trouble for leaving the building if i am told i cant start yet. They want me to sit there and wait unpaid for sometimes up to 3 hours. I have brought this up to my manager but i feel they are taking advantage of my age because i am only 19
  • My employer has us keep receipts (tickets with the food orders written on them) she is threatening to take $100 for every ticket that gets lost. More than 3 different employees handle these tickets along side the cashier daily. Is this legal for her to take $100 from the cashier if a ticket gets lost?
  • My employer has us keep receipts (tickets with the food orders written on them) she is threatening to take $100 for every ticket that gets lost. More than 3 different employees handle these tickets along side the cashier daily. Is this legal for her to take $100 from the cashier if a ticket gets lost?
  • Can a company not pay overtime (over 40 hrs a wk)if they are a courier company and the employee is paid a hourly wage instead of per package? How does that work?

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