Federal law and guidance on this subject should be reviewed together with this section.
Author: Susan A.P. Woodhouse, Littler
- Arizona does not have a state family and medical leave law applicable to private employers. See Family and Medical Leave.
- Arizona has requirements surrounding pregnancy discrimination. See Pregnancy Discrimination.
- Arizona covered employers must provide paid sick leave to eligible employees. See Paid Sick Leave.
- Other types of leave may be available to Arizona employees - some required by federal, state or local law, and some provided by company policy, as well as several sources of income replacement. See Interaction of Leave Laws.
Family and Medical Leave
Arizona does not have a state family and medical leave law applicable to private employers. However, an Arizona employer with 50 or more employees will likely required to adhere to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
The Supreme Court ruled that the 14th Amendment requires a state to do the following:
- License a marriage between two people of the same sex; and
- Recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out of state.
Obergefell v. Hodges, +2015 U.S. LEXIS 4250 (U.S. June 26, 2015).
Same-sex marriage is legal nationwide, and couples lawfully married in any state, including Arizona, are entitled to FMLA spousal leave benefits.
An Arizona employer should be careful if it seeks to confirm an employee's same-sex spousal relationship (for purposes of the FMLA) to ensure it does not discriminate in any way. While the FMLA allows an employer to confirm a family relationship, the employer's practices to confirm such relationships should be the same for employees in same-sex marriages as those in opposite-sex marriages (e.g., if an employer does not ask heterosexual employees for marriage licenses it should be careful about asking homosexual employees for such documentation).
Apart from FMLA considerations, employers with employees residing in Arizona should look at existing policies that provide for leave based on spousal relationships, such as bereavement leave or military leave. Policy language (such as how a spouse is defined) may need to be revised.
While Arizona law does not specifically require an employer to offer pregnancy disability leave, an employer with 15 or more employees may not discriminate against employees or applicants for employment on the basis of sex (including pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions). For more information on pregnancy discrimination, please see EEO - Discrimination: Arizona.
Paid Sick Leave
An Arizona employer must provide paid sick leave under the Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act (FWHFA).
The FWHFA applies to all employers except for the state of Arizona and the federal government. An eligible employee may use earned paid sick leave for reasons such as, the employee's or the employee's family member's mental or physical illness, injury or health condition or the need to seek medical diagnosis, care or treatment for the illness, injury or health condition.
The FWHFA does not discourage or prohibit an employer from adopting or retaining a paid sick leave policy that is more generous than the one required by the law. An employer with an existing paid leave policy that makes available an amount of paid leave sufficient to meet the law's accrual requirements that may be used for the same purposes and under the same conditions as the FWHFA requires is not required to provide additional paid sick leave.
An employer must comply with any contract, collective bargaining agreement, employment benefit plan or other agreement providing more generous paid sick time.
The FWHFA does not supersede, limit or otherwise affect other laws that provide greater rights to paid sick time. Therefore, leave taken under the FWHFA will run concurrently with federal FMLA leave if the absence is covered under both laws.
For more information on the FWHFA, including greater details on employer coverage, eligible employees, qualifying reasons for leave and provisions relating to carryover, frontloading, employee notice and documentation requirements, recordkeeping requirements, retaliation and penalties, please see Other Leaves: Arizona.
Leave required by a state or local law is not taken into account when determining the amount of leave provided by an employer for federal tax credit purposes under the federal tax reform law.
Interaction of Leave Laws
Other types of leave may be available to Arizona employees - some required by federal, state or local law, and some provided by company policy, as well as several sources of income replacement. See Other Leaves: Arizona. While some of these laws can run at the same time, others cannot.
Remain alert to the various types of leave available and take care to track an employee's leave of absence, including:
- The date the leave begins;
- The type of leave; and
- The expected return date.
There are no developments to report at this time. Continue to check XpertHR regularly for the latest information on this and other topics.