Paid leave tied to minimum wage on Arizona, Washington ballots
- Paid leave and the push to raise the minimum wage are a dual package on some state ballots, reports SHRM. When voters in Arizona and Washington State vote “yes” to raise the minimum wage, they’ll also be approving paid leave for workers in their states.
- Arizona voters will decide whether to raise the minimum wage from $8.05 an hour to $12 by 2020. If the measure passes, employers with 15 or more workers must provide 40 hours of accrued paid leave a year. Companies with fewer workers would have to provide 24 hours of paid leave annually. Employees would be allowed to use the time for their own medical care or their family’s, cases of domestic violence or a health emergency.
- Washington voters will decide whether to raise their minimum wage from $9.47, the current rate, to $13.50 by 2020. Their paid leave proposal would allow employees to earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked.
Seattle has its own ordinance, the 2012 Paid Sick and Safe Time Ordinance, which lets workers use sick time for family medical care and emergency situations, such as sexual assault, domestic violence and stalking. Many states have municipalities that have opted for higher wages and benefit requirements.
Businesses have long opposed paid leave because of the expense. Add in minimum wage increases and the cost can be a bigger burden, especially for small businesses. But the trade-off is that perquisites like paid leave and incremental increases in the minimum wage are attractive benefits for recruiting, hiring and retention.