Last November, Arizona voters approved Proposition 206 (The Fair Wage and Healthy Families Act), which increased the state’s minimum wage to $10 per hour and requires all employers provide employees with paid sick time. The second provision took effect on July 1st, and imposes certain obligations upon employers, both in the for-profit and non-profit sectors and regardless of gross revenue or number of employees.
First—it’s important to understand how the law defines sick time, and it is very comprehensive:
- the employees’ mental or physical illness, injury or health condition; the employees’ need for medical diagnosis, care, or treatment of a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition; and an employee’s need for preventative medical care;
- care of a family member (children, spouse, registered domestic partner, child or parent of the employee’s spouse or domestic partner, parent, grandparent, grandchild, or sibling) with a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition; care of a family member who needs medical diagnosis, care, or treatment of a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition; and care of a family member who needs preventative care;
- close of the employer’s place of business due to a public health emergency; an employee’s need to care for a child whose school or place of care has been closed due to a public health emergency; or care of oneself or one’s family member who is exposed to a communicable disease and that person’s presence in the community may create a health risk to others; and
- absence necessary due to domestic violence, sexual violence, abuse or stalking, provided the leave is to allow the employee or the employee’s family member to obtain medical care, victim services, counseling, relocation, or legal services.
Journey Employer Solution’s Steven Harris is based in Tempe, and has important information for employers as they enter into compliance with the new law. “All employees are covered under this law,” he says. “It doesn’t matter if they are full time, part time, temporary or seasonal employees.” Independent contractors do not qualify for the provisions set out under Prop 206.
Steven explains that employees in companies with 15 or more employees accrue a minimum of one hour of earned paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. The employee shall not, however, be entitled to accrue or to use more than 40 hours of paid sick leave in a given year, unless the employer sets a higher limit. For companies with fewer than 15 employees, those workers accrue a minimum of one hour of earned paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Employees will not, however, be entitled to accrue or to use more than 24 hours of paid sick leave in a given year, unless the employer sets a higher limit.
Employees are guaranteed a right to privacy under the new law. “Employers are not allowed to question the time taken off,” Steve continues. “Unless the employee takes three consecutive days of paid sick time, the employer can’t ask for a doctor’s note or other documentation.”
The paid sick time started accruing on July 1st. Employers are required to track the accrued time, as well as the amount of time taken, and report it on the employee’s pay stub. They also have to post a notice of the law (in English and Spanish, if there are Spanish speaking employees) in a conspicuous place.
Employers face being fined if they don’t comply with Prop 206’s requirements. “The penalties can be hefty, based on the length of time the violation has been happening and how many people are employed with the company.”
Setting up the tracking systems can be complicated and time consuming. For our Arizona clients, Journey Employer Solutions had compliant systems in place prior to the law taking effect. Employees can request time off through an online portal, which then updates the accrued time to reflect how much time has been used and what is still available.
“These systems are very easy for the employer and employee,” says Steven. “They take away all the possible headaches.”
Steven can be reached at 480-699-2729 or StevenH@JourneyPayroll.com
Steven’s Bio: http://journeypayroll.com/our-shareholders/#steven