Am I entitled to paid sick leave?

Arizona’s Fair Wages & Healthy Families Act requires all employers to give Earned Paid Sick Time (“EPST”) to all employees, whether full or part-time, and whether regular or temporary. Exceptions are for those employed by a parent or a sibling or who perform babysitting services in the home.

What is covered by EPST?

Four situations:


– Your own health condition.

– Care of a family member with a medical condition.

– Closure of your employer or your child’s school due to a health emergency.

– Dealing with the effects of domestic or sexual violence, abuse, or stalking of either you or your family member.

How much EPST do I get?

– If your employer has 14 or fewer employees, you are entitled to 24 annual hours of EPST.

– If your employer has 15 or more employees, you are entitled to 40 annual hours of EPST.

– Your employer can give you more than what is required.

How is EPST calculated, and how much can I use?

There are two ways:


– Your employer may “frontload” your EPST at the beginning of the calendar or its fiscal year and grant you a fixed amount of EPST which you can use during that year. This is “use it or lose it” EPST and cannot be carried over into the next year.

– Your employer may choose to have you accrue EPST at one hour for every 30 hours worked during the calendar or its fiscal year. You start accruing EPST upon hire. You can carry over accumulated unused accrued hours into the next year and use them right away. Your employer can “cap” the number of hours you can accrue and use so long as it meets the minimum annual amount of either 24 or 40 hours. NOTE: Some employers combine EPST into their PTO policies. Check your employee handbook or with Human Resources for more information.

When can I start using EPST?

Your employer can require you to wait for 90 days before using your EPST.

How will I know how much EPST I have available?

The amount of EPST you used in that pay period, what you were paid for that EPST, and how much EPST you have available will all appear either on or with your paycheck.

How is EPST paid?

It is paid at your hourly rate (not including overtime). Salaried employees are presumed to work 40 hours per week for the hourly calculation.

What kind of medical conditions are covered?

Your or your family member’s physical or mental illness, injury, or health condition, a need for diagnosis, care, or treatment or need for preventive medical care. Quarantine and isolation due to communicable diseases are also covered.

Who is my family member?

Five categories:


– Your child: No age limit, can be biological, adoptive, foster, stepchild, legal ward, child of domestic partner, in loco parentis, or individual to whom you were in loco parentis when the individual was a minor.

– Your spouse or registered domestic partner.

– Your parent: Biological, foster, stepparent, adoptive parent, legal guardian, in loco parentis of either you or your spouse/domestic partner.

– Your grandparent/grandchild/sibling: Biological, foster, adoptive, step of you or your spouse/domestic partner.

– Your relative by blood or affinity who is the equivalent of a family relationship.

NOTE: This is a different definition than under the Federal Family Medical Leave Act (see FMLA FAQS)

Can I use EPST to deal with violence?

Yes. You can use EPST to obtain the following for you or your family member:

– Medical attention to recover from injury or disability due to domestic violence, sexual violence, abuse, or stalking.

– Services from a domestic or sexual violence program or victim services organization.

– Psychological or other counseling.

– Relocation due to domestic or sexual violence, abuse, or stalking.

– Legal services, including preparing and participating in civil or criminal legal proceedings related to or resulting from domestic or sexual violence, abuse, or stalking. NOTE: If your employer has Crime Victim Leave, you may also receive unpaid time off. See your employee handbook or Human Resources.

How do I request EPST?

Follow the process in your employee handbook. You can talk to, write, email, or text your boss. If you know you have an appointment coming up, be sure to give your boss enough notice. Your employer can deny EPST to you if you don’t follow its procedures for requesting it.

Will my boss ask me why I’m taking EPST?

Your employer cannot ask you about the nature of your or your family’s health condition or the domestic/sexual violence until after you have taken three consecutive days of EPST. Then, your employer can require evidence that you were on leave for an EPST reason. Even if you are out for one day, your boss can ask when you are going to return to work and can request a medical release for you to return to work. Your employer must keep all these communications and information confidential. Special documentation is permitted in the case of domestic or sexual violence.

What happens to my unused EPST if I leave my employer?

Unused EPST is not required to be paid out by employers upon termination. If you have been on the accrual method of EPST and return to your employer within nine months, your unused accrued EPST will be reinstated, and you can use it right away.

Can I get in trouble for using EPST?

No. Arizona law prohibits your employer from retaliating against you for using EPST. Retaliation includes discharge, suspension, demotion, reduction of hours, or any other adverse action. Your employer cannot take action against you because you used EPST. If you are terminated, demoted, or have another type of adverse employment action taken against you within 90 days of using EPST, the law presumes that your employer retaliated. Your employer can only defeat this presumption of retaliation by clear and convincing evidence. You also have the right to file a complaint with the State Labor Department of the Industrial Commission of Arizona (ICA). See for the complaint form.

Who enforces the laws on EPST?

Either you or the State Labor Department of the ICA. You have the choice to either file a complaint with the ICA or to sue your employer. The statute of limitations is two years unless your employer willfully violated the law, in which case it is three years. Penalties for noncompliant employers include backpay and reinstatement for terminated employees, plus $150.00 per day for retaliation.

Where can I find more information?

Your employer is required to have a poster about EPST on its bulletin board. You can go to the ICA’s website at for more information.