Earlier this month, Democrats in the Arizona legislature introduced three measures that would significantly change the legal landscape for Arizona employers. While none of the bills are likely to be passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature or be signed by newly-elected Republican Governor Doug Ducey, the proposed laws nonetheless have gotten Arizona employers’ attention.
Most recently, on January 20 – and perhaps not coincidentally on the same day as President Obama’s State of the Union Address, in which the President called for paid sick leave for US employees (see our post here) – Arizona House Representatives introduced HB 2505. This bill would change the law to require Arizona employers to provide one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours an employee works, up to 72 hours in a year. The paid leave would be available to employees for sick time or for “safe time” relating to domestic violence or time away necessitated by employees’ experiencing sexual assault or stalking. The proposed law resembles other local laws enacted in US cities, such as Seattle, San Francisco and New York.
On January 15, Democratic House Representatives introduced HB 2502, a measure that would require that Arizona employers provide a 30-minute meal break to each employee working continuously for 8 hours and a 10-minute rest break for every 4 hours of labor performed.
On January 12, a Democratic Senator introduced SB 1013, which would amend Arizona’s employment discrimination law to extend the statute of limitations for filing civil cases from 1 year to 2 years and add the ability for plaintiffs to recover punitive damages, but capping recoverable damages based on the number of employees employed by the employer.
As noted above, these bills are unlikely to pass in the near term, but their introduction could be signal that change is on the horizon for Arizona employers.