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Arizona’s new paid sick leave law offers baseline protection for sick or injured workers

On Behalf of | Jul 17, 2017 | Workers Compensation |

Thanks to the passage of Arizona’s minimum wage and paid sick time law (Proposition 206) last November, minimum wage workers got a pay increase and employees got the ability to earn paid sick time beginning July 1.

The Fair Wages and Health Families Act requires employers to account for an employee’s paid sick time (“PST”) accrual which must be no less than one hour of PST for every 30 hours worked. Employers can offer more generous PST, of course. The new law establishes a minimum and provides PST for many workers who before July 1 were not eligible because no Arizona law required PST.

We will delve more deeply into issues that affect injured workers in subsequent blogs, but here are some highlights of Arizona’s paid sick leave law:

1) Employers are prohibited from imposing “adverse” consequences against employees who use their PST, even if the consequence arises from so-called “no fault” attendance policies. 

2) Employers can require employees hired on or after July 1, 2017, to wait 90 days before using accrued PST.

3) Employees must make a “good faith effort” to provide notice of “foreseeable” paid sick leave. Employers, however, generally cannot restrict how an employee give notice of the need for PST. An employee should have the right to use “any available option” — verbally, in writing, electronically — to notify the employer of PST.

4) Employers cannot punish an employee who fails to give advance notice of “unforeseeable leave.”

5) PST can be used not only for sickness and injury, but also for problems arising out of domestic violence, sexual abuse, stalking, or the closing of a child’s school for a public health emergency.

6) Employers cannot ask for documentation of PST unless the employee misses three consecutive days.

Prop 206 housed the authority of enforcing and implementing the new law at the Industrial Commission of Arizona. The Commission has posted answers to “Frequently Asked Questions” on its website here