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Comprehensive Guide to New Arizona Sick Time Initiative – Proposition 206


In November 2016, Arizona voters approved Proposition 206, known as both the Healthy Working Family Families Initiative and the Paid Sick Time off Initiative. Starting July 1st of 2017, sick time will be required for all hourly employees in the state of Arizona.

What is Paid Sick Time (PST)?

Sick leave, paid sick time, or sick pay, is paid time off from work that can be used to address both health and safety issues for the employee and their family. This includes issues with sexual assault and domestic violence, as well as routine medical or doctor visits.

How much paid sick time can my employees receive?

By July 1st, 2017, a system must be set up for all Arizona employers to award Paid Sick Time (PST) for their hourly employees. Paid sick time will accrue under the following conditions:

Sick time will accrue at a minimum rate of 1 hour for every 30 hours worked.

For employers with 15 or more employees, employees cannot use or accrue more than 40 hours of earned PST per year, unless the employer selects a higher limit

For employers with 14 or fewer employees, employees cannot use or accrue more than 24 hours of earned PST per year, unless the employer selects a higher limit

When do my employees start accruing PST, and which employees are eligible for it?

Accrual of sick time begins at date of hiring, but at the discretion of the employer, there may be a 90 day probationary period before newly hired employees may use their accrued sick time. Eligible employees include temporary, part-time, and full-time employees.

Also, employees who are exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 will be assumed to work 40 hours per week for the purposes of calculating sick time

Does PST roll over from year to year?

Yes, but the employer has the option to pay it out as well.

What happens to an employee’s PST upon termination?

Upon termination of an employee NO payment is required for unused sick time.

For what reasons can employees use their PST?

  1. Injury, health condition, or mental/physical illness of employee and/or family member
  2. Incident related to abuse, stalking, or sexual/domestic violence of employee and/or family member
  3. A public health emergency causes the employee’s workplace to close and/or employee’s child’s school or daycare to close

*It is unlawful for an employer to retaliate or discriminate against an employee for using their sick time.

Who is considered a family member?

Children of any age, whether biological, adopted, foster, legal wards, or children of domestic partner.

Parents, whether biological, foster, stepparents, adoptive, legal guardians of employee or employee’s spouse, or domestic partner.

Spouse or domestic partner

Other individuals related by either blood or affinity, whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.

 Does an employer have to know why their employee is using PST?

Employers are prohibited from requiring employees to disclose details of the nature of the employee’s (or family member’s) health condition or details relating to domestic violence, sexual violence, abuse, or stalking as a condition of providing earned PST. Also, if employers possess such health or other PST qualifying information, they must treat it as confidential and may only disclose it to the affected employee or with the affected employee’s permission.

 What if I already have Paid Time Off policies in place?

Employers with existing paid time off (PTO) policies that meet or exceed the benefits provided under Proposition 206 are not required to provide additional paid sick time. Likewise, any PTO policies that provide fewer benefits than requires must be amended to meet the new standards.

Alternate accrual methods also allow employers to award all the sick time the employee is assumed to earn that year at the beginning of the year.

What if I don’t know my employee is going to be absent and he/she wants to use their sick time? Can I request that my employees find a replacement employee when using their PST?

Foreseeable leave – Employees must make a “good faith effort” to give their employers advance notice and schedule their absences in a way that lessens the impact on the employer’s business. Exactly what constitutes “good faith effort” is undefined. A request for PST leave “may be made orally, in writing, by electronic means or by any other means acceptable to the employer.”

Unforeseeable leave – Employers may have requirements on how their employees may use sick time when unexpected and unforeseeable events occur. These requirements must be contained in a written policy and disseminated to employees before the leave happens. Otherwise, the employer cannot deny the use of paid sick time.

Replacement Workers – Employers cannot require an employee to find a replacement worker for his/her time off during PST leave.

What kind of notice and record keeping requirements are required?

  • Notify employees of their entitlement to earn PST, including how much they earn.
  • Provide employees with the employer’s business name, address, and telephone number in writing upon hiring.
  • Notify employees of their rights and responsibilities under the Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act.
  • Maintain payroll records in accordance with Arizona’s statutes and terms of use guaranteed by Arizona’s earned paid sick time laws.
  • Notices must be posted in English, Spanish, and any other languages required by the Industrial Commission of Arizona.

How do I pay my employees for their used sick time?

Employers must either record in, or attach to, employees’ paychecks the amount of PST the employees have available, the amount of PST used, and the amount of pay received as earned PST.

What is the best way to keep track of my employees’ PST?

Time clock programs usually support this feature and make it hassle free by taking care of the math and holding a “sick bank” for each employee.  Different methods to add sick time to that bank are allowed, whether it is based on a per pay period, per hour worked, or yearly basis. When the employee uses that sick time, it’s deducted from their total bank and paid out.

For more information about Proposition 206 visit https://www.azica.gov/frequently-asked-questions-about-wage-and-earned-paid-sick-time-laws

Grant E.

Author:

Author Bio: A current sales and tech support at TimeClick. Aside from work, Grant enjoys squash and racquetball, dancing and teaching Lindy-Hop, and learning. For the last two years he’s been studying economics, but now is leaning more towards psychology and entrepreneurship.

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