Arizona Veterinary Practices and Other Businesses must increase wage and face additional benefit regulations in the new year.

This year’s election was unique, to say the least, and the outcome was a surprise to many.  As we prepare for the inevitable ups and downs that come with the changing of our governmental guard, it’s important to take note one of the immediate changes that effects Arizona employers!

On November 8th, 2016 Arizona voters approved Proposition 206, which is known as the Minimum Wage and Paid Time Off Initiative. The initial wage escalation, slated for next month is well over 20%, and, no doubt, quite significant to most Arizona businesses.

The measure will increase the current Arizona minimum of $8.05 to:

  1. $10.00 on and after January 1, 2017
  2. $10.50 on and after January 1, 2018
  3. $11.00 on and after January 1, 2019
  4. $12.00 on and after January 1, 2020

For each year, thereafter beginning January 1, 2021 and for successive years, the minimum wage will increase by the increase in the cost of living.

Not only are wages effected by this new law, benefit requirements are as well.  Effective, beginning July 1, 2017 all Arizona employers will be required to accrue paid sick time.  The details, according to my research are yet to be ironed out, but the gist of this section of the law is:

  1. Employees of an employer with 15 or more employees are entitled to accrue a minimum of one hour of earned paid sick time for every 30 hours worked (employer can cap at 40 hours or may offer more)
  1. Employees of an employer with fewer than 15 employees are entitled to accrue a minimum of one hour of earned paid sick time for every 30 hours worked (employer can cap at 24 hours or may offer more).

If you would like more information on Proposition 206, you can find the original proposition here:     Arizona Proposition 2016

Another concern for Arizona employers has been Obama’s New Overtime Rules. Under Obama’s 2014 direction, the US Department of Labor updated and finalized a major overhaul, which, among other things, more than doubled the salary threshold requiring overtime pay.  On November 22, 2016, U.S. District Court Judge Amos Mazzant granted an Emergency Motion for Preliminary Injunction which, for the time being, halted the implementation and enforcement of the new rules by the Department of Labor.

The coalition of business groups and 21 states that brought the suit opposing the new regulations contend that the administration overstepped its authority.  The Department of Labor, is appealing, but there is speculation that once President-Elect Donald Trump takes office, it may be dropped.

Obama’s Overtime Rules were costly, cumbersome and confusing, so I for one, am not surprised to see this opposition, and am frankly relieved that I don’t have to deal with it, at least for now!  Isn’t Prop 206 enough to keep us busy for a while?