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Arizona Paid Sick Leave

Many workers cannot afford to miss a day of work, even when they are sick. But, now more than ever, it is important that people be able to stay home when they are not feeling well. 

Fortunately, for workers in Arizona, the state’s Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act of 2017, guarantees paid sick leave for all employees, with very few exceptions. The law makes it mandatory for Arizona employers to provide eligible employees with a minimum amount of paid sick leave every year.

 

Along with the ability to use paid sick leave when they are ill, employees in Arizona can use paid sick leave to care for family members when needed, children during school closings, and to deal with domestic violence or sexual assault. Furthermore, an employee does not need to provide their employer with a doctor’s note or other documentation unless they are absent from work for three or more days. 

 

Mandatory paid sick leave for eligible employees does not replace more generous Paid Time Off (PTO) benefits that an employer may already offer its employees. It simply ensures that all employees in Arizona are provided at least some paid sick leave.

 

If you are an employee in Arizona, who has been denied your rightful paid sick leave, or who has suffered retaliation by your employer for asserting your rights, call Robinson Law Offices at (602) 899-5554 to discuss your case with an experienced Arizona employment lawyer. You may be entitled to compensation.

Denials and Retaliation

An employer cannot deny an employee use of lawfully earned paid sick leave. Nor can an employer terminate, discipline, or otherwise retaliate against an employee for using paid sick leave, or exercising any other right under Arizona labor law. 

 

An employee who has been denied the use of earned paid sick leave or suffered retaliation for requesting or using paid sick leave can file a complaint with the Industrial Commission of Arizona and/or a civil lawsuit. 

 

An employer who violates the Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act may be required to: 

 

  • Pay the balance of the sick leave owed, plus interest; 

  • Pay a fine of twice the amount of the underpaid sick leave;

  • Pay the employee's attorney's fees; and 

  • Compensate the employee for other damages resulting from the employer's unlawful denial of rightfully owed sick leave or retaliation

 

For information on additional considerations and how you can enforce your rights under Arizona’s paid sick leave law, consult with an experienced Arizona employment attorney.

Who Is Eligible For Paid Sick Leave in Arizona? 

Nearly every employee (full-time, part-time, temporary, or seasonal) who works in Arizona is eligible for paid sick leave, except independent contractors and individuals employed under the following conditions: 
 

  • Under a valid collective bargaining agreement (CBA) that expressly waives an employee’s right to paid sick leave; 

  • By a parent or a sibling;

  • To provide babysitting in the employer’s home on an as-needed basis;

  • By the state or federal government;

  • Voluntarily i.e. without any express or implied compensation agreement; and

  • By a small business that is not legally required to pay its employees the minimum wage. 

Accrual of Paid Sick Leave in Arizona

  • Employees in Arizona begin to accrue paid sick leave hours from their first day of work.

 

  • An employee of an employer with more than 15 employees can accrue and use up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per year unless the employer voluntarily sets a higher limit. 

 

  • An employee of an employer with less than 15 employees can accrue and use up to 24 hours of paid sick leave per year unless the employer voluntarily sets a higher limit.

 

  • In lieu of tracking one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours of work, an employer may elect to grant an employee a lump sum of sick leave (24 or 40 hours) every year.

 

  • Accrued, unused sick leave must be rolled over into the next year, or the employer can elect to pay employees for unused sick leave.

Using Paid Sick Leave?

New employees must be allowed to begin using accrued paid sick leave no later than 90 days after employment. Otherwise, an employee may use paid sick leave as it is accrued.

 

An employee may request to use paid sick leave orally, in writing, electronically, or by any other means that the employer finds acceptable.

 

An employee may use paid sick leave in hourly increments or the smallest increments used by their employer's payroll system, whichever is smallest.

 

An employee need not find a replacement to cover the time they miss while using paid sick leave.

For What Purposes Can An Employee Use Paid Sick Leave In Arizona?

Paid sick leave can be used if an employee is ill or injured or receiving medical care, treatment, diagnosis, or preventative care, or if a member of their family is ill or injured, or if they must care for a family member receiving medical care, treatment, diagnosis, or preventative care. 

 

Paid sick leave can also be used if the employee or a member of their family is the victim of domestic violence or a sex offense, or if their place of business is closed by order of a public official due to a public health emergency, or if they need to care for a child, whose school or place of care has been closed by order of a public official due to a public health emergency

Is Advance Notice Required To Use Paid Sick Leave In Arizona?

Generally, advance notice is not required in order to use paid sick leave in Arizona. However, the law states that if the need for paid sick leave is foreseeable, an employee should make a good faith effort to give their employer reasonable advance notice. 

 

An employer may require advance notice of unforeseeable absences; however, this requirement must be contained within a written policy that explains how an employee must provide such notice.

 

Furthermore, if an employee is absent for three consecutive days, the employer can require reasonable documentation, such as a note from the employee's doctor or testing center, or in the case of domestic violence, a police report, order of protection order, etc. A school can also provide a note if an employee’s presence is requested for their child.

Contact Us

If you are an employee in Arizona and believe that you have been unlawfully denied paid sick leave, or that you have suffered retaliation for requesting or using paid sick leave, contact our office to discuss your case with a knowledgeable and experienced Arizona employment attorney.

 

Strict time limits apply to filing a civil complaint or lawsuit against an employer who has violated your rights under Arizona’s Paid Sick Leave law.

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