In November 2016, Arizona voters passed the Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act (“Act”). The publicity regarding the passage of this Act centered on its provisions which raised the minimum wage to $10/hr with incremental increases in the following years. What has been overlooked by many pundits and the public in general is the mandatory sick leave requirements of the Act. Beginning July 1, 2017, all employers, including individual employers, must provide their employees mandatory Sick Leave. Employers of less than 15 employees must allow 24 hours of sick leave a year to all employees (full time, part time, seasonal) after the employees 1st 90 days of employment; while employers of 15 or more employees must allow up to 40 hours of sick leave to all of their employees. Please note that independent contractors or babysitters are not eligible for this benefit.
It is important to note that the definition of covered sick time leave includes leave for physical, mental or emotional illness of the employee or family member; preventative care, domestic violence or stalking.
The hourly rate for the paid leave must be based on the employee wage rate; commissioned employees’ paid leave rate will be based on the commissions earned divided by the hours worked during the previous six months.
Also important to note are the remedies available for violations of the Act. Failure to post notices or alert employees regarding the Act will result in a fine of $250.00. Failure to provide qualifying sick leave when requested can result in a payment of wages owed, interest and an additional amount equal to the unpaid wage to the employee. Retaliation against an employee (termination, suspension, written reprimand, etc.) can result in penalties sufficient to compensate the employee but not less than $150.00/day as long as the violation continues.
For information on ways to comply with or understand your rights under the Arizona Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act or any other employment related matters, please contact the Law Office of Phillip A. Austin; AzJusticeForAll.com;
215 N. Robson; Mesa, AZ 85201; 480-644-0506 (Office); firstname.lastname@example.org (email)