Back Arizona Labor and Employment Laws

Arizona Labor and Employment Laws

Labor and employment laws play an important part of a civilized society. uring his introduction of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) of 1935, Senator Robert Wagner once said, “Democracy cannot work unless it is honored in the factory as well as the polling booth; men cannot truly be free in body and spirit unless their freedom extends into places where they earn their daily bread.” 

This declaration captures the essence of the various labor laws enacted during the past century. In a democracy, the principles of equality and the rule of law must be upheld, even in private contracts.

Therefore, whether you are an ordinary employee working for a Arizona-based employer who wants to know what rights you are entitled to as an employee, or an HR professional or a legal counsel tasked to ensure that the Arizona-based employer you are working for is compliant with labor laws to prevent exposing said employers to potential liabilities, learning about labor laws is essential. This article aims to provide you with an overview of labor laws in general, as well as laws enacted by the state of Delaware in particular. This article also provides the importance and purpose of these laws, and some frequently asked questions (FAQs).

What are the Labor Laws in Arizona?

Arizona employment law is a collection of state and federal labor laws. These laws include provisions for wage payment, minimum wage, child labor, and prevailing wages for state-funded construction projects.

Why are Labor Laws Important?

Boone (2015) noted that throughout the early 1900s, working conditions for the average American worker were fairly grim. Child labor was widespread, discrimination in the workplace was normalized, and working conditions were hazardous due to lack of safety regulations. Additionally, unions did not have sufficient protections from the federal government, which made it difficult for workers’ unions to bargain for improved working conditions. Thanks to social and legal shifts throughout the years, labor laws have created better conditions and rights for the American worker. 

Nonetheless, most employers today still exercise tremendous bargaining power over employees, especially at this time when employees’ collective power has dwindled over the years, with union density sitting at around 6.2% percent in the private sector.

Because of this unequal bargaining power, employers are known to have monopsony power. This means employers operate as wage setters rather than wage takers in the employment bargain. As a result, employers will tend to hire fewer workers (thereby leading to either under-employment or worse, unemployment) and those workers suffer lower pay and benefits as well as worse working conditions. Fewer workers also means that employers produce less output and can charge higher prices that harm consumers. Finally,  monopsony power also reduces economic productivity because employers are not competing over wages to lure workers into jobs that are the best match for their productivity and skills.

That is where labor laws come in. Over the course of the 20th century, federal and state laws have been enacted to address this problem of inequality of bargaining power. The aim of these federal laws are to provide social and economic rights for workers, with state laws going beyond such minimum rights by providing expanded rights and protections.

What is the Purpose of the Labor Law

Therefore, the primary purpose of labor law is to minimize, if not eliminate, the negative effects arising from the unequal power wielded by employers, and the inequality of bargaining power between employers and employees. Labor laws impose certain legal requirements on employers which cannot be the subject to negotiation or bargaining with employees. This means that since these requirements are imposed by law, employers have no choice but to comply or face possible civil and/or criminal sanctions from the government.

What is an example of Labor Law in Arizona?

One type of labor law that aims to temper the monopsony power of employers are those that prescribe minimum standards for benefits. An example of this is the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which requires employers to pay at least the federal minimum wage and overtime pay of 1.5x the regular rate of pay. FLSA also deals with how work hours are computed.

Another type of labor law that addresses monopsony power are those that impose minimum safety and health conditions in the workplace. An example of this is the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), which imposes on employers the general duty to provide their employees with a workplace free from recognized, serious hazards.

Labor law also governs workers’ compensation laws, which requires employers to pay compensation and medical benefits to employees who suffer work-related injuries or death. An example of this type of law is the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA), which pays compensation for the disability or death of a federal employee resulting from personal injury sustained while in the performance of duty.

There are also labor laws that aim to regulate the benefits that employees are offered as a way to ensure that the employee’s interests are being considered., There are even laws that impose upon employers the obligation to provide additional benefits to employees that go beyond their usual salary. Examples of these types of laws are the federal Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), which regulates employers who offer pension or welfare benefit plans for employees, and the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which requires employers to give unpaid but job-protected leaves to employees who need to attend to the birth or adoption of a child, or for the serious illness of the employee or their family member.

What are Rights of Employees in Arizona?

The following are some of the rights of employees in Arizona, as provided under Arizona employment law and federal law:

  • Right to minimum wage
  • Right to a safe workplace
  • Right to health coverage
  • Right to social security
  • Right to unemployment benefits
  • Right to protection against discrimination
  • Right to family leave

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Does Arizona labor law provide for paid sick leave?

Yes. This is thanks to Proposition 206, or the Fair Wages and Health Families Act, which has required all employers in Arizona to provide their workers with accrued paid sick leave since July 1, 2017. The paid sick leave may be used whenever an employee is sick or  needs to take care of a sick family member.

The amount of accrued paid leave depends on the number of workers employed by the employer.

  • When an employer has more than 14 employees, each employee shall earn 1 hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 40 hours per year.
  • When an employer has 14 or fewer employees, every 30 hours worked by each employee will entitle them to 1 hour of accrued paid sick leave, up to a maximum of 24 hours per year.

Employers may stipulate a higher limit on the maximum number of accrued paid sick leave for each employee. 

2. How may an employee use their paid sick leave in Arizona?

Should an employee wish to take a paid sick day, they may notify their employer in writing, orally, or electronically. Unless an employee takes three consecutive days off on paid sick leave, an employer cannot require them to present a doctor’s note. Employees must also not be required to provide specific details as to their medical condition, or any other reasons for their absence. In the event that the employee does provide this information, the employer must keep it confidential.

3. What is the law on minimum wage in Arizona?

As of January 1, 2021, the minimum wage in Arizona is $12.15 per hour, which is higher than the federal rate of $7.25 per hour. This is set to increase in the coming years, depending on the percentage increase in cost of living, based on the consumer price index. The minimum wage only applies to employees who are considered non-exempt. Minimum wage rates within the state may also vary per city. For instance, Flagstaff has a minimum wage of $15 per hour.

4. What is the law on minimum wage for tipped employees in Arizona?

Businesses who employ workers who earn tips may take a $3.00 tip credit. This means they may pay an hourly wage which is $3.00 lower than the minimum wage rate, as long as the employees still earn a total amount equal to or higher than the minimum wage. If the minimum wage threshold is not met by combining wages and tips, the employer must pay the difference.

5. What are Arizona overtime rules?

In Arizona, an employee is entitled to overtime pay of 1.5x their regular wage for actual hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week. This means that the overtime minimum wage rate in Arizona is 18.23 per hour. Unlike some states, Arizona overtime laws do not provide for overtime pay on a daily basis. 

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