Arizona minimum wage laws provide both a higher minimum wage than federal law and an extended time to bring a claim. Most important, Arizona minimum wage law violations can result in triple damages, along with an award of costs and fees. Minimum wage violations can result in maximum penalties.
Arizona’s minimum wage increases annually. Effective January 1, 2021, Arizona requires all employees be paid at least $12.15 for each hour worked. The City of Flagstaff’s minimum wage jumps to $15 an hour in the New Year. An employee can seek unpaid or underpaid minimum wages in violation of Arizona law going back as far back as 2007 if the violations are “part of a continuous course of action by the employer”. The penalty for failure to pay at least minimum wage for all hours worked is the unpaid sum, plus the same amount doubled, resulting in treble damages for unpaid minimum wages.
Employers should conduct an annual audit of wage and hour policies to ensure compliance. Make sure employees are properly classified as exempt or non-exempt. Keep in mind that even employees exempt from the FLSA’s overtime and minimum wage requirements must still receive at least the minimum wage set by state law for all hours worked. There are no waivers. An employee cannot agree to waive Arizona’s minimum wage or federal wage law for that matter. All working hours must be paid at least minimum wage. Unproductive time between clients or jobs is working time and must be paid.
With wage claims, an ounce of prevention is worth far more than a pound of cure. Update your pay policies today. Make sure your employment handbook provides a safe harbor for payroll errors. All employees, exempt and non-exempt, should track working time. The best defense is a strong offense. Contact an experienced employment lawyer today. The lawyers at Faulkner Law Offices, PLLC have decades of wage and hour experience and can help protect you from expensive wage claims.