Prop 206: Paid sick leave rules starting July 1st; what you need to know

PHOENIX - All companies, including non-profits, must offer employees paid sick leave starting July 1st.

This is the second phase of Proposition 206 that voters passed back in November 2016.

Is the sick time offered to all employees?

All companies (and non-profits) in Arizona with more than one employee must offer paid sick time or paid-time-off (PTO) to all employees, according to Legal analyst Jessica Post. This includes: full-time, part-time, temporary and seasonal.

How much time off is required?

For every 30 hours worked, an employee accrues one hour of PTO until the minimums are reached.
Companies with 15 or more employees = 40 hours PTO per year
Companies under 15 employees = 24 hours PTO per year

Is sick time the same as vacation time?

No – companies are only required to offer paid sick time. However, Post says the law is written pretty broadly.

"Employers need to be very careful when implementing this policy," said Post. "While [Prop 206] says 'sick leave', that really covers things like domestic violence. It's also like a mini-family medical leave act and it allows someone to take time off to care for their spouse or their child."

Do I need to prove I am sick?

Not right away. Employers can't ask for documentation until an employee misses three straight days of work.

When do I start accruing sick time?

Employees start accruing PTO immediately --- as soon as they clock their first hour of work. However, businesses can issue a 90-day probationary period for new employees.

What happens to my unused sick-time?

1. Cash out (the employee gets a check for unused PTO)
2. Employees can roll the time to the next year

How will this be tracked?

1. Employers must “maintain payroll records showing the hours worked for each day worked, and the wages earned paid sick time paid to all employees for a period of 4 years.”  (ARS 23-364 (D))

2. Paycheck or paystub – employers are also required to give employees written notice of the amount of earned paid sick time available to the employee, the amount of earned paid sick time taken by the employee to date in the year and the amount of pay the employee has received as earned paid sick time, recorded in or on an attachment to the employee’s regular paycheck, according to Bob Charles, with the Industrial Commission of Arizona. 

What happens if a company ignores the law?

Companies that purposefully violate the law could face penalties and damages.

“First and foremost the employee or employees who are injured as a result of the violation(s) will be addressed and attempted to be made whole for their financial loss,” said Charles.  “Second the Department will attempt to educate the employer as to the statutorily correct procedures and will be given ample time to make any necessary corrections."

Fines will only be issued after a full investigation that reveals “that willful activity warrants a fine and then only after it is approved by the Industrial Commission,” according to Charles.

What does an employer need to do starting July 1st?

1. Give employees some type of written notice about the new sick-leave policy.
2. Post a notice in a conspicuous place like a breakroom.
 
 

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