On December 8 of this year, 1,465,639 Arizona voters voted yes and the state of Arizona passed Proposition 206. Also known as the Minimum Wage and Paid Time Off Initiative, the proposition seeks to increase the minimum wage for all employees and to secure the right to paid time off needed due to sickness.
Later in December, various business group filed litigation in an attempt to have Proposition 206 overruled, but an Arizona Superior Court judge decided that there was no sufficient legal ground to block the proposition and that it will go into effect with the start of the new year. The question for many people then becomes: what does Proposition 206 mean for workers?
Changes made by Proposition 206
As it currently stands, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour and the minimum wage in Arizona is $8.05 per hour. On January 1, 2017, Proposition 206 will go into effect and the minimum wage will increase to $10.00 per hour.
Additionally, Proposition 206 specifies that the minimum wage will continue to increase over the next 4 years. As previously mentioned, in 2017 the minimum wage will be $10.00 per hour. In 2018, it will rise to $10.50. In 2019, it will be $11.00 and $12.00 in 2020.
Paid sick time off
Under the changes made to Arizona law by Proposition 206, all employees will earn 1 hour of paid sick time off for every 30 hours worked. This paid sick time off may be used to allow an employee to care for their own physical or mental illness, health conditions or injuries, or those of their family members.
The proposition does allow employers to place a limit on the amount of paid sick time hours that an employee can earn. The limit is based on the amount of workers the employer employs. If the employer has 15 employees or more, the limit is 40 hours. If they employ fewer, the limit is 30 hours.
It is also specified that it is illegal for employers to retaliate or discriminate against an employee for using the paid sick time off they have earned. Also, the hours earned during a year, carry over into the next year, although the limit on the amount of hours earned stays in place.
Once these changes go into effect they will be the law of the state of Arizona and part of an employee’s rights. If you find yourself in a situation in which your employer is not abiding by these changes or you believe them to be acting illegally, it is highly suggested that you seek out the services of an experienced and knowledgeable legal professional. They will be able to provide you with assistance and support as you go about getting the benefits you legally deserve.