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SCOTTSDALE Serving the Community Since 2002

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4.20

Paid Sick Leave in Light of a Novel Virus By Jonathan Frutkin

rizona is one of a handful of states with a sick-leave law mandating that employers provide paid sick leave to their employees, whether they are full-time, part-time or seasonal. Passed in 2017, the Fair Wages and Healthy Family Act, is once again taking centerstage in light of COVID-19. The law is considered one of the broadest in the country. Even more recently, President Trump signed the first National Paid Sick Leave Law, known as the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Local Arizonans who were not granted financial protection prior to COVID-19 through Arizona law will have more certainty if they need to take sick leave or are forced to.

Workers have many questions surrounding their rights if they decide to miss work because they don’t want to get sick, are sick with the coronavirus or someone in their home is diagnosed with COVID-19. Under the Arizona Act, if you are a full-time employee at a company where paid sick leave isn’t awarded until after your first 90 days, your employer has the ability to grant you use of sick leave early. Employees can also use their sick leave if they feel they may have been exposed and need to take some time to get tested for the coronavirus. Likewise, if an employee has a family member who has fallen ill with COVID-19, they can also use sick leave and be covered under the Arizona Act. This also extends if the

employee needs to take time off to get that family member tested. In Arizona, paid sick leave can be used during times when a public official forces a business to close due to a health crisis. Parents can also use their sick leave if their children are forced to stay home due to schools closing — such is the case by the recent mandate issued by Gov. Doug Ducey amid fears that children could increase the spread of COVID-19. Employees do not need to give any formal notice of leave according to the Arizona Act and can request it via phone, email or in person. Not all workers are eligible to use paid sick-leave hours. Independent contractors and freelancers are not covered by the Arizona law. Those like babysitters and writers that work on a contract basis and self-employed people are just some examples. Additionally, union workers who were under a bargaining agreement prior to the Act happening may not be covered. However, several high-status companies like Uber are changing their policies during this time to allow up to 14 days of paid-sick leave to any driver who is in quarantine or actually has the disease. The paid-sick leave law does allow some wiggle room. For example, some employers might require employees to allocate some vacation days to their time off on sick leave. Employers are able to combine all the possible days for paid time off, including vacation and other personal leave. However, locals who were not covered by the Arizona law can now benefit from the new federal law, which will be put into effect on April 3. Now, those who were not covered prior to COVID-19 will be able to take sick leave for two weeks maximum with their normal pay up to $511 per day. Additionally, if an employee must take time off to stay home with a child because

of school cancellations, they are able to stay at home for 12 weeks while being compensated two-thirds of their normal salary up to $200 per day. To fund this massive program, a tax credit is given to employers against the 6.2 percent payroll tax. If the percentage amount is greater, the government will reimburse the employer and selfemployed independent contractors can receive a tax credit as well. With many people out of work currently, due to COVID-19, the new bill also gives a 90-day extension to pay 2019 taxes in addition to the normal deadline of April 15.  Employers and their employees are venturing into uncharted territory in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. As restaurants, bars and retail shops close, there is a heightened worry for those who work for tips and minimum wage. Torn between keeping workers healthy and reducing loss of revenue, the business complications of the pandemic stretch far beyond just the corporate world. Jonathan Frutkin is the founder and principal of Radix Law. The company focuses on providing general counsel, including legal advice on capital formation, mergers and acquisitions, litigation strategy and intellectual property. Find more information at radixlaw.com.

Profile for CITYSunTimes

April 2020 North Valley CITYSunTimes  

CITYSunTimes is a complimentary niche market community newspaper serving the expanding Northeast Valley since 2002. Readers live in Scottsda...

April 2020 North Valley CITYSunTimes  

CITYSunTimes is a complimentary niche market community newspaper serving the expanding Northeast Valley since 2002. Readers live in Scottsda...

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