On Election Day, voters in Arizona and Washington approved measures requiring employers in their respective states to provide paid sick leave and requiring employers to raise the minimum wage. They join the PSL states of California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Vermont and an ever growing patchwork of cities and counties.
The Arizona PSL entitles employees to earn one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked to a maximum of 40 hours per year, unless the employer sets a higher maximum. Employees of smaller businesses (those with fewer than 15 employees) may only accrue 24 hours per year. The leave can be used for illness, to care for a family member, a public health emergency, or an absence related to domestic violence. Leave time must be carried over to the following year but is limited by the above caps.
Washington’s PSL entitles employees to accrue 1 hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked, up to 40 hours per year. Like the Arizona law, sick leave may be taken for illness, to care for a family member and for leaves related to domestic violence. Leave time must also be carried over, but can be capped at 40 hours. Neither law requires a payout of unused sick time upon separation of employment.
As states, cities and counties continue to pass ordinances requiring employers to provide paid sick leave, employers with multi-state operations continue to scramble to keep up with the patchwork of inconsistent state and local laws. The trend will no doubt continue unless and until paid sick leave is enacted on the federal level, or we run out of jurisdictions.