Arizona Paid Sick Leave, The Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act

If you are an Arizona employee, you are entitled to paid sick leave (PSL) and unless exempt, must be paid at least minimum wage for all hours worked. If you have not been paid what you deserve under the law, you have legal options. If you are an employer facing a wage and hour dispute, or need guidance regarding wage and hour compliance, including compliance with state minimum wage laws or paid sick leave, it is important to consult with an experienced employment law attorney today. We can help.

As of July 1, 2017, ALL Arizona employees must accrue 1 hour of PSL for every 30 hours worked; overtime hours count when calculating accrual. Employers may also comply with PSL by providing a “grant” to employees of the maximum amount of PSL, this includes part-time, seasonal, or temporary employees. Employers must allow employees to accrue and use at least 40 hours a year for employers with 15 or more employees, or 24 hours a year for employers with fewer than 15 employees. Accruals must begin on the first day of employment, although employees hired after July 1, 2017, may be required to wait 90 days before using PSL. Exempt employees are assumed to accrue PSL based on a 40-hour work week, unless their normal work week is less than 40 hours. PSL must carry forward to the next year unless the employer “front loads” a grant of the maximum PSL hours at the beginning of the New Year.

The Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act requires employers post information about the law. Posting of the law is required and paystubs, or an attachment to paystubs, must contain the following three items: the amount of earned PSL available to the employee (accrued and unused); the amount of PSL taken by the employee, to date, in that year; and the amount of pay the employee has received as earned PSL.

The Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act prohibits retaliation. Employers cannot retaliate for using or seeking to use PSL. It is a PRESUMPTION under this law that any discipline that follows within 90 days of an employee using or seeking to use PSL is retaliation, which can be overcome by clear and convincing evidence the adverse action was taken for reasons unrelated to the exercise of rights under this statute. Employers cannot use PSL as an absence that leads to discipline.

Violations of the Arizona paid sick leave law are significant. An employer who violates the recordkeeping and posting requirements is subject to a civil penalty of at least $250 for the first violation and at least $1000 for each subsequent or willful violation.  Special monitoring and inspections may also be imposed.

If an employer fails to maintain required records, it will be presumed that the employer did not pay the required earned paid sick time.

Any employer who fails to pay earned PSL is required to pay the balance of the PSL owed, including interest, and an additional amount equal to twice the unpaid PSL.

An employer who retaliates against an employee is required to pay the employee not less than $150 for each day that the violation continued or until legal judgment is final. Prevailing parties in suits arising under this law are entitled to reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs of the lawsuit.

At Faulkner Law Offices, PLLC, we represent employers and employees in the Phoenix and Scottsdale area, as well as throughout the state of Arizona. We advise and represent clients in all aspects of wage and hour disputes, including paid sick leave violations. Our Scottsdale wage and hour attorneys can provide you with the knowledgeable guidance and strong advocacy you need. We are detail oriented and thoroughly prepare wage and hour claim cases to operate from a position of strength. Although we strive to achieve the desired result through negotiation whenever possible, we are always prepared for litigation when necessary.

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