New Paid-Leave Laws Still Under Scrutiny


Paid leave measures in Arizona, the District of Columbia, and Washington recently became law, but work related to the measures continues, and the developments keep coming.


A requirement that Arizona employers provide workers at least three days of paid sick leave took effect July 1, 2017, the result of a voter-approved measure that also raised the state’s minimum wage to $10, from $8.05, effective Jan. 1, 2017, and will eventually raise it to $12 by 2020.

However, the constitutionality of Proposition 206, which voters approved in the Nov. 8, 2016, election, was challenged by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which sued to block implementation, claiming that the measure violated state law.

The measure violated a single-subject rule because the measure addressed wages and sick leave, and it violated a state law by requiring the state to spend money without identifying a revenue source, the chamber claimed.

The single-subject rule applies only to legislative acts, not initiatives, and nothing about Proposition 206, inherently requires the state to spend more, the state supreme court unanimously ruled on Aug. 2, 2017, striking down the challenge.

Meanwhile, the Industrial Commission held proceedings Aug. 8, 2017, on proposed supplemental rulemaking process. The supplemental process was published in the July 7, 2017, Arizona Administrative Register in response to comments about the May 5, 2017, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.

The supplemental proposed rulemaking includes a provision to waive posting requirements for employers that have less than $500,000 in gross annual revenue.

District of Columbia

The District of Columbia’s Universal Paid Leave Act of 2015 (Act A21-0682) became law effective April 7, 2017, and is to be fully funded under the District’s fiscal 2018 budget, which was approved May 30.

Nonetheless, at least five repeal-and-replace measures are under review by the council of the District of Columbia, including the UPLA Amendment Act, which was introduced June 20 by the council’s chairman, Phil Mendelson. Leave payouts under the UPLA are to start in 2020.

The repeal-and-replace measures generally focus on different models for implementing paid leave, such as requiring employers to directly provide paid leave benefits to employees, blending a smaller payroll tax for small employers and an employer mandate for larger employers, and exempting certain businesses that already provide paid-leave benefits.

The UPLA is to be financed through a 0.62 percent payroll tax that private-sector employers pay into a common pool administered by the D.C. government that funds the benefits for employees.

The measures generally leave unchanged the duration of leave provided: eight weeks for new parents, six weeks to care for a sick relative, and two weeks to address an employee’s personal health needs.

A hearing on the repeal-and-replace measures is scheduled for Oct. 10, 2017, according to the Aug. 4 D.C. Register.


In preparation for paid sick-leave requirements that are to kick in on Jan. 1, 2018, Washington’s Department of Labor and Industries created the 1433 Engagement Site to involve the public as it develops two sets of rules to explain and enforce new paid sick leave rules.

Initiative 1433, which was approved by voters in the Nov. 8, 2016, election, requires employers to provide paid sick leave to most employees starting Jan. 1, 2018, increases the minimum wage over several years, and ensures that tips and service charges are given to the appropriate staff.

Most employees are to accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked for employees to care for themselves and family members, for use when health-related reasons close the employee’s work or their child’s school or place of care, or for reasons related to domestic violence.

Public hearings on the first set of rules, which address notification procedures, recordkeeping, and reporting requirements, and retaliation protections, were scheduled for Aug. 8, Aug. 16, Aug. 17, and Aug. 29. Feedback on these rules is to be submitted by Sept. 1, the department said.

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