Arizona has developed labor laws to run concurrently with federal labor laws to protect its state employees from discrimination or exploitation.
While all states have to comply with federal employment regulations, the residents of Arizona have specific state labor laws to which they must also adhere.
Does Arizona Differentiate Between Part-Time and Full-Time Employment?
Like federal law, Arizona state law does not have set definitions of what constitutes part-time and full-time employment. As a result, many of the employment benefits mandated by state law, such as paid sick leave, apply to full-time and part-time employees.
What Is the Minimum Wage in Arizona?
The minimum wage in Arizona went up to $12.80 an hour in 2022. This exceeds the federal minimum wage.
Under Arizona law, small businesses are not subject to the minimum wage law. Arizona labor law defines small businesses as organizations with less than $500,00 of gross annual revenue. Nevertheless, a federal law that supersedes this law states that any business that engages in “commerce” must pay employees a minimum wage, regardless of the size of the business.
Commerce is so broadly defined that few businesses are exempt from paying minimum wage. Janitors or barbers that buy all supplies locally are examples of small businesses that may be exempt from paying minimum wage.
Arizona follows federal regulations regarding overtime hours and does not have its own overtime law. Time is defined as the employee’s hourly rate. Time and a half is 1.5 times the employee’s hourly rate. Any hours worked in a seven-day period that exceeds 40 hours must be paid at a minimum of a half. Contract workers are paid by the job rather than the hour.
The state government of Arizona does not require employers to offer benefits to employees. Nevertheless, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires all US citizens to have health insurance or pay a federal tax penalty annually.
Most employers do offer health benefits, as the ACA requires all employers with 50 or more full-time employees must offer health insurance to 95% of their full-time employees and the dependents of said employees under the age of 27. Employees whose employers and contract workers do not offer health insurance can obtain health insurance through the state marketplace.
Arizona state law does specify that health insurance providers cannot discriminate against hemophiliacs or autistic individuals.
Arizona’s Civil Rights Act mirrors federal anti-discrimination laws in that it is unlawful to discriminate against workers for personal characteristics such as race, religion, ethnicity, disability, or national origin.
Arizona complies with the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) regarding paid time off for medical and family issues. Additionally, Arizona has its own paid sick leave law under the Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act that took effect on July 1, 2017. This law requires employers to give employees an hour of sick leave for every 30 hours that they work.
Employees can only accrue 24 hours of paid sick leave annually if they work for a company with 15 or fewer workers. If an employer has more than 15 workers, they can accrue up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per year. Employers always have the option to grant more paid sick leave than 24 or 40 hours if they so choose.
What Is Mandatory Paid Sick Leave? Are There any Federal Laws Governing Mandatory Paid Sick Leave?
Some jurisdictions in the United States have laws that require employers to provide a certain amount of pay when an employee is absent from work due to an illness. This is called mandatory paid sick leave. Although some employers willingly offer their sick leave programs, some jurisdictions require that all employers offer some form of sick leave.
In addition, the sick leave that an employer provides within these jurisdictions must meet that jurisdiction’s requirements for sick leave. In other words, an employer may provide its employees with more paid sick leave than what is mandated in the jurisdiction, but they are not permitted to provide less.
Mandatory paid sick leave laws provide paid sick leave as long as the employee works in the jurisdiction. An employee is typically not required to reside in the jurisdiction they are employed.
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that requires covered employers to provide employees who qualify with a protected job and unpaid leave for medical and family circumstances which qualify under the Act. Under the FMLA, the protected leave must last up to 12 weeks per year.
Nevertheless, there is no payment requirement under the FMLA. This does not conflict with any state laws that mandate paid sick leave.
Employees are entitled to whatever amount of paid sick leave that the state provides. This is in addition to the 12 weeks of unpaid medical or family leave mandated by federal law.
What Are Some Legal Remedies for Mandatory Paid Sick Leave Violations?
Legal remedies may be available when an employer violates mandatory paid sick leave laws. An employee should inform their employer’s human resources department, if available, and exhaust all available administrative remedies.
An employee may also report the issue to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the Wage and Hour Division. If the employee cannot reach a satisfactory resolution, they may be allowed to file a private civil lawsuit.
How Does COVID-19 Affect Mandatory Paid Sick Leave Rights?
COVID-19 has affected mandatory paid sick leave rights for employees. The Family First Coronavirus Act (FFCRA) was created to address issues during the pandemic. It requires employers to provide paid sick leave for an employee if they are absent from work due to a COVID-19-related issue.
Under the FFCRA, subject to certain exceptions, an employer with 500 or fewer employees must make 80 hours of paid sick leave available for their full-time employees.
An employer must make available the equivalent of the average number of hours scheduled over two weeks for a part-time employee. To be entitled to take paid sick leave under the FFCRA, an employee must meet one of the following criteria:
- The employee is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine isolation order due to COVID-19;
- The employee has been advised by a healthcare professional to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 concerns;
- The employee is experiencing symptoms of the COVID-19 virus and is seeking a medical diagnosis;
- The employee is caring for their child if the school or childcare facility is closed due to COVID-19; or
- The employee is experiencing another substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.
If an employer violates the mandatory sick pay provisions or the anti-retaliation provisions of the FFCRA will be considered to have violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The FLSA is a federal law that governs wage and hour standards for public and private employers. If an employer fails to provide mandatory sick pay as required, it will be considered to have failed to pay its employees their minimum wages in violation of the FLSA.
Where Can I Find a Local Lawyer to Help Me?
Trying to settle an employment law problem on your own can be a Herculean task. LegalMatch can help you find an Arizona labor lawyer to help you with all of your problems related to employment law in Arizona.