In the midst of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic, the CDC has recommended that everyone take steps to protect themselves and their communities, including avoiding close contact with others. If you have to take time off work sick, what are your legal rights? If your child’s school is closed or your work is closed, can you stay home with your children?
Find out more about your right to paid sick time in Arizona below. Please note that you may also have an additional right to emergency paid leave for COVID-19 purposes under federal law, as described in more detail here.
1) What does the Arizona Paid Sick Time law do?
It gives workers sick time that can be used to recover from physical/mental illness or injury; to seek medical diagnosis, treatment, or preventative care; to care for a family member who is ill or needs medical diagnosis, treatment, or preventative care; when the worker’s place of business is closed by order of a public official due to a public health emergency or to care for a child whose school or childcare provider has been closed by order of a public official due to a public health emergency; to care for themselves or a family member when a health authority or health care provider determines that the worker’s or family member’s presence in the community presents a public health risk because of exposure to a communicable disease (regardless of whether the individual has contracted the disease); or to address certain needs that may arise if the worker or a family member are victims of domestic violence, a sexual offense, or stalking.
In March 2020, Industrial Commission of Arizona released administrative guidance clarifying that sick time under Arizona’s sick time law can also be used by workers for certain COVID-19 related reasons, including if:
- The worker or a family member contracts COVID-19;
- The worker or a family member needs to be tested for COVID-19; or
- The worker or a family member that the worker needs to care for has been quarantined due to potential exposure to COVID-19.
2) Am I covered?
If you work as an employee in Arizona, you are probably covered, whether you are a full-time, part-time, or temporary worker. However, the law does not cover federal and state employees, workers employed by a parent or a sibling, and workers performing babysitting services on a casual basis.
3) How much paid sick time can I earn?
You earn 1 hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked. If your workplace has 15 or more workers, you can earn up to 40 hours of paid sick time per year. If your workplace has fewer than 15 workers, you can earn up to 24 hours of paid sick time per year.
All covered employees are protected against being fired or punished for using or requesting their sick time (including threats, discipline, demotion, reduction in hours, termination, etc.).
4) What if my work or my child’s school or daycare is closed for a health emergency?
You can also use your sick time if your place of business is closed by order of a public official due to a public health emergency or to care for a child whose school or childcare provider has been closed by order of a public official due to a public health emergency.
5) Which of my family members are covered by the law?
Under the law, you can take sick time to care for yourself or a child, spouse, registered domestic partner, parent, parent of a spouse or registered domestic partner, grandchild, grandparent, sibling, and any other individual related by blood or affinity whose close association with you is the equivalent of a family relationship.
6) What if I already have paid leave or paid time off?
If you already get any paid leave (vacation, paid time off, etc.) that you can use as sick time and it’s at least the same amount you would earn under this law, the law does not give you any additional paid time off.
7) When can I begin using my sick time?
You start earning sick time immediately but your employer may require you to wait to use your sick time until 90 days after the start of your employment if you were hired after July 1, 2017.
8) Do I need a doctor’s note?
Only after 3 or more consecutive work days of absence (and the note does not have to specify your illness).
All covered workers are protected against being fired or punished for using or requesting sick or safe time. If you have a problem—or want more information—call A Better Balance’s free legal helpline at 1-833-NEED-ABB.
The Industrial Commission of Arizona is in charge of enforcing this law.
Please note that this fact sheet does not represent an exhaustive overview of the paid sick time law described, and it does not constitute legal advice. It is possible that additional provisions not described in this fact sheet may apply to a worker’s specific circumstances or category of employment.
For the full list of state and local paid sick time laws, visit here.