Arizona Paid Sick Leave: 5 Tips for Employers

Arizona Paid Sick Leave: 5 Tips for Employers

There are no federal laws currently in the United States that require employers to provide paid sick leave for their employees. However as a growing trend, states across the country are continuing to enact their own paid sick leave laws. In recent years, 10 states and the District of Columbia have enacted statewide laws that require employers to provide paid sick leave benefits to employees.

Below is a list of States in the order in which each enacted their paid sick leave law.

  1. Connecticut – 2011
  2. California – 2014
  3. Massachusetts – 2014
  4. Oregon – 2015
  5. Vermont – 2016
  6. Arizona – 2016
  7. Washington – 2016
  8. Washington D.C. – 2017
  9. Rhode Island – 2016
  10. Maryland – 2017
  11. New Jersey – 2018

Each of these state laws has its own rules for covered employers, qualifying reasons for leave and amount of paid leave. This chart – Statewide Paid Sick Leave Laws – provides a high-level overview of current statewide paid leave laws, including Arizona.

Penalties

There are a few different fines Arizona employers need to be aware of. To start, if a company retaliates against an employee for taking sick time (ex: firing), the company is required to pay penalties sufficient to compensate the employee and deter future violations.

At a MINIMUM this is:

  • $150 for each day that the violation continued or until legal judgment is final.

There are also civil penalties for the first violation or for not posting the required notice of at least $250 and each subsequent or willful violation is least $1000.

 

5 Tips for Employers

To avoid such penalties, here are 5 tips employers should follow when it comes to complying, administering and tracking employee paid sick leave.

1. Stay on top of state regulatory changes.

With paid sick leave laws changing frequently and varying by state, city and locality, HR professionals oftentimes struggle to keep up with the changes.

When it comes to Arizona’s paid sick leave law, the resource I recommend to employers is the Arizona Industrial Commission’s Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) publication.

2. Pay close attention to particular classes of employees.

Although contract workers are generally included under paid sick leave policies, HR departments should also be conscientious of on-call or exempt employees.

3. Keep employees updated on policies.

Companies need to post their paid sick leave policies to ensure they are both compliant with the law while also informing workers of their rights in order to avoid being fined.

Arizona employers can satisfy the Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act’s notice requirements by posting in the workplace the Industrial Commission’s model earned paid sick time notice, or a separate notice that meets the notice requirements in Arizona Revised Statutes § 23-375.

In addition, employers should ensure their company handbook is up to date and that available sick time is being communicated on employee pay stubs as well.

4. Understand different “family member” definitions under the law.

For workers in Emeryville, California, taking care of a sick guide or seeing-eye dog qualifies for paid sick leave.

Here in Arizona the Industrial Commission will not enforce against an employer that does not consider a service animal a “family member” within the meaning of the Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act.

However, the loss or incapacitation of a service animal may give rise to a qualifying condition for the use of earned paid sick time (such as a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition of the employee or the employee’s family member).

5. Use technology to accurately track & administer leave policies.

Software solutions like those offered by many payroll companies can ease administration for HR professionals looking to track work hours, define sick accrual rates, integrate with other leave policies, and much more.

For information or questions related to Arizona sick leave compliance, tracking and/or administration, contact me at 602-903-4047 or jmorrow@abcllc.org

Author
Joanna Morrow

Joanna Morrow is an employer consultant and advocate who has worked in the employee benefits industry for over two decades. She works diligently to help employers overcome obstacles in their business by sharing her expertise in Human Resources, Benefits & Compensation, Process Mapping, Risk Management and ERISA/DOL/IRS compliance. She is a licensed life and health insurance professional in the State of Arizona and is an active member of the National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU). Joanna is a senior partner at Arizona Benefit Consultants in Phoenix.

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