Earned paid sick time and your rights

Earned paid sick time is exactly that — earned. You are going to get sick sooner or later. You may suffer an injury. In either case, you will need time off from your job to recover, but you should still get your salary or wages. 

In Arizona, you have the right to take your earned paid sick time under the Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act. It does not matter if your sick time is inconvenient to your employer. After all, being sick is inconvenient to you. 

When you can use earned paid sick time 

You qualify for earned paid sick time to care for yourself or a family member: 

  • When you need to address medical care or mental or physical illness, injury or a health condition 
  • During a public health emergency 
  • For an absence related to stalking or other domestic issues 

What you must give your employer 

Employers have rights, too. They can ask you to document your paid sick time when you claim three or more consecutive workdays. 

Documentation signed by a health care professional is acceptable for illness and injury. Other documentation is acceptable for domestic issues. This can include a police report or an attorney’s statement, among others. An employer does not have the right to details, such as the relevant health condition or the incident. 

How you can protect your rights 

The Industrial Commission of Arizona handles earned paid sick time complaints against employers. You could receive wages owed with interest, plus an amount equal to twice the underpaid wages. An employer may try to retaliate against you for using sick earned time. These tactics can include demotion and reassignment. If you can prove such acts, the commission can order compensation for you. 

If you feel the state has failed to protect your earned paid sick time rights, you can pursue other options. One way or another, you can make Arizona law work for you.