It’s About More Than Minimum Wage, Arizona Employers Must Also Provide Paid Sick Time

Published: Monday, November 14, 2016 - 7:19am
Updated: Monday, November 14, 2016 - 12:26pm
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(Photo by Christina Estes - KJZZ)
An employee prepares a drink at Copper Star Coffee in central Phoenix.

As Arizona employers prepare to write bigger paychecks for minimum wage workers on Jan. 1, they’ll also need to offer a new benefit. Proposition 206, the voter-approved initiative, requires nearly all employers to provide paid sick time.

Depending on the employer’s size, each worker, whether full time, part time or temporary, will be able to earn up to 24 or 40 hours per year.

The law says paid time off can be taken for the employee or a family member with a mental or physical illness, preventive care needs and issues surrounding domestic and sexual violence.

Tucson labor attorney Tibor Nagy said Proposition 206, also known as the Fair Wages and Healthy Families Initiative, will create challenges.

“I think it just creates that much additional financial responsibility, not to mention the fact that those employers, especially smaller ones, are going to have that much more to deal with when it comes to having to replace a worker who’s taking off paid sick time," Nagy said.

He said employers need to be careful about denying requests. “This adds another possible way in which employees can claim that their employment was terminated in retaliation for their attempts to apply or to use a benefit of employment.”

Arizona’s Industrial Commission must come up with regulations for employers to follow before the paid sick time requirement begins July 1. The new minimum wage of $10 an hour will start Jan. 1.

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