Paid Sick Leave on November Ballot in Arizona and Washington  

Two more states will very likely be requiring employers to provide PSL soon, bringing the total number of states to seven. On November 8, 2016, voters in Arizona and Washington will decide whether their states will raise the minimum wage and require employers to provide employees with paid sick leave. In both states, these two issues are combined into one ballot issue. I suspect that any time voters are asked whether they would like more paid time off from work, they will say yes. You can take that to the PSL bank.gears-1443876_640

If (when?) Arizona and Washington voters approve the PSL ballot initiative, seven states will have adopted PSL laws. California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Oregon and Vermont have already done so.

Initiative 1433 in Washington would require employers to allow employees to accrue one hour of paid sick time for every forty hours worked beginning on January 1, 2018, without any annual cap on accrual or use. Employees can carryover up to 40 hours of accrued and unused time.  Unlike in other PSL laws, Washington employees, over a period of years, could amass a significant sick leave bank.  Employers are not required to pay out this bank when the employment relationship ends.

The paid time can be used for any of the typical reasons. The definition of family member, while broad, does not include the broad catch-all of those relationships based on affinity which are like a family relationship.

Proposition 206 in Arizona is the Arizona Minimum Wage and Earned Paid Sick Time Benefits. It would require employers to allow employees to accrue one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked to but employees may not accrue or use more than 40 hours per year (24 for employers with fewer than fifteen employees), effective July 1, 2017. Employees could carryover up to 40 hours, subject to the accrual and use limitation of 40 hours per year.  It has a very broad definition of “family member” and includes those who are “like” kin, as I have discussed in previous blogs.

While proponents argue passionately about the advantages to employees and employers of this law, the Arizona measure allows employers and unions to agree to deny bargaining unit employees any paid sick leave under this law. Help me understand that logic.

I will revisit both of these laws in more detail following the November vote.