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New laws expand employee rights

The Nov. 8 election brought about many sea changes throughout the country and here in Arizona, from the election of Donald Trump, the passage of many marijuana legalization measures (though not Arizona's), or the defeat of longtime Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. These changed will impact our city and our region for many years, as (hopefully) will the passage of lesser-publicized Proposition 206, which will raise the minimum by 2020 and provide some new protections for employees.

One of the key provisions of the law that is significant move forward for employees rights is the requirement of earnable paid time off for full-time employees, which many have not had. Employees will be able to earn at least five paid days off, or three paid days off for companies with fewer than 15 full-time employees.

In addition to the new access to paid time off, employees will be to use paid sick days to deal with the effects of domestic violence or abuse. Under the current statutes, an employer must allow an employee to take time off to "obtain or attempt to obtain an order of protection, an injunction against harassment or any other injunctive relief to help ensure the health, safety or welfare of the victim or the victim's child." However, under current law, this only applies to companies with at least 50 full-time employees, and the mandatory time off does not have to be paid.

The details of these laws can be daunting to those who are unfamiliar with parsing through legalese, but understanding the details is necessary to ensure that you are making the most of the protections available to you. If you believe that your employee rights have been violated, the guidance of an experienced attorney can help you evaluate your case and determine if you may qualify for an employee rights violation claim.

Source: Arizona Capitol Times, "New minimum wage law provides paid time off for domestic violence victims," Rachel Leingang, Nov. 18, 2016

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