In November, voters in Arizona approved a ballot initiative that would require employers to provide paid sick leave. The law goes into effect tomorrow.
Under the law, Arizona employers with less than 15 employees will have to provide up to 24 hours of paid sick leave. Employers with 15 or more employees will have to provide up to 40 hours of paid sick leave.
In anticipation of the law, the Arizona Industrial Commission has issued FAQs, which can be found here. The FAQs do make one significant change from the text of the law. The FAQs do make clear that when counting employees for purposes of determining how much leave is to be offered, employers need only count employees working in Arizona. Don’t get too excited. This could change as the Commission itself notes that there might be further legislative guidance on this issue.
Arizona’s law, like many others, contains a no retaliation provision. However, this provision should give employers pause. Under the law, if any adverse action is taken against an employee within 90 days of them using sick leave, there is a presumption that adverse action was retaliatory. Employers will then bear the burden of proving by clear and convincing evidence that the action was for a legitimate purpose.
Employers should tread carefully before disciplining any employee who has recently used sick leave.