Arizona Overtime Laws and Wages Attorney
Workers in Arizona enjoy the same federal rights that exist for all states, along with more generous state-level protections in several areas. However, not all employees are aware of what the law entitles them to. If you believe your right to minimum wage or overtime has been violated, you will need serious legal counsel to recover what is rightfully yours. The Lore Law Firm can help.
What You Should Know About Arizona’s Minimum Wage
State wage and hour protections for Arizonians are more generous with respect to the rate of minimum wage. As of January 1, 2023, the regular minimum wage in Arizona has increased from $12.80/hour to $13.85/hour. Employers are allowed to pay their tipped employees up to $3.00 per hour less than the minimum wage, as long as the combination of tips and wages is not less than the regular minimum wage.
The state minimum wage has steadily increased to keep up with the cost of living. Below are prior minimum wage amounts in Arizona:
- 2014 $ 7.90
- 2015 $ 8.05
- 2016 $ 8.05
- 2017 $10.00
- 2018 $10.50
- 2019 $11.00
- 2020 $12.00
- 2021 $12.15
- 2022 $12.80
- 2023 $13.85
Not all workers are covered by the state’s minimum wage laws. The following classes are not subject to Arizona’s minimum wage:
- Employees who work for a parent or sibling
- Employees who provide babysitting services in the employer’s home on a casual basis
- Employees of the United States government or the State of Arizona
- A small business grossing less than $500,000 in annual revenue, provided the business is not required to pay minimum wage under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (few companies will likely meet this standard)
City-Specific Minimum Wage Rules
Not only are employees who reside in Arizona entitled to a specific minimum wage, but residents of some municipalities also have even higher rates. These are some examples, as of 2023:
Flagstaff: $16.80/hour (regular); $14.80 (tipped, but tips and wages combined must at least equal the regular minimum wage).
Tucson: the current regular minimum wage matches the state rate of $13.85//hour. However, increases are scheduled to go into effect in 2024 ($14.25/hour) and 2025 ($15.00).
It’s important to understand that these rates are always subject to annual adjustments, either at the city level or at the state or federal level. These changes are usually based on the Consumer Price Index to keep pace with inflation.
What Are Arizona’s Overtime Rules?
The state’s overtime rules follow federal law. Most workers in Arizona are entitled to “time and a half” (1.5 times the employee’s regular pay rate) for any hours worked in excess of 40 per week. A work week is defined as any seven consecutive work days, as provided by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The state does not impose any overtime rules on employers above what the FLSA requires.
However, some workers are specifically exempt from overtime protection. If you are an exempt worker, your employer does not have to pay you overtime. Common exemptions include:
- Administrative employees
- Executive employees
- Professional employees
- Outside sales employees
- Agricultural employees
- Partsmen and mechanics
Although these and other workers are typically exempt from overtime rules, state and federal minimum wage rules still apply. If you have questions about whether you are entitled to overtime pay, please fill out our intake form for a free and confidential case review.
Am I Entitled to Holiday, Vacation, or Sick Leave?
Under Arizona’s wage and hour laws, employees may work on weekends or holidays without being paid a premium rate. Also, employers are not obligated to allow holiday or vacation paid time off. These policies are set at the discretion of the employer. It is generally permissible for an employer to have, for example, a “use-it-or-lose-it” vacation policy under which employees must use their vacation days by a set date or lose them.
Sick leave is a different matter. The state has enacted the Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act which requires employers to provide earned paid sick leave. This time off can be used for such circumstances as:
- Medical care or mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition of the employee or any of the employee’s family members (as defined by law)
- A public health emergency affecting the employee or a family member of the employee
- An absence due to domestic violence, sexual violence, abuse, or stalking involving the employee or any of the employee’s family members
The amount of sick leave that must be offered to an employee depends on the size of the employer:
For employers with 15 or more workers. Employees are entitled to accrue at least one hour of earned paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to 40 hours per year.
For employers with fewer than 15 workers. Employees are entitled to accrue a minimum of one hour of earned paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to 24 hours per year.
Meal Breaks And Lunch Periods
Arizona’s wage and hour laws do not require employee meal breaks or lunch periods. But if such breaks are allowed, employers have to follow the federal requirement: when breaks of 20 minutes or less are given, they must be paid. As long as the employee is relieved of all duties, meal breaks of 30 minutes or more may be unpaid.
No Paid Time For Jury Duty
Employers do not have to pay employees who are complying with a jury summons or serving on a jury. However, the employee may not be discharged for such jury duty. Also, employers may not require employees to use vacation or sick leave to comply with a jury summons. Finally, employees may not lose their seniority rights while serving on a jury.
Reporting Time Pay
Reporting time rules exist in some jurisdictions to account for situations in which, due to poor scheduling or other mismanagement, an employee is called in to work but is not given the full number of hours promised. Neither Arizona nor federal law includes reporting time pay, meaning an employer does not have to pay an employee who reports to work expecting a certain number of hours but does not get to work the full schedule.
Required Pay Periods
Arizona employers must pay their workers at least twice per month, not more than 16 days apart. If a payday falls on a holiday, the employer must pay the worker prior to that date.
Rules Concerning Severance Pay
Arizona employers do not have to provide severance pay. However, discharged employees must be paid all wages that are owed them either within seven working days or by the end of the next pay period, whichever is sooner. Employees who quit must be paid all due wages by the next payday. Also, you may be entitled to severance pay if it was agreed upon pursuant to an employment contract. If you have questions about severance, complete our intake form so we can review your case.
Although Arizona wage and labor rules do not specifically address the types of deductions employers can take from employee paychecks, they must follow FLSA rules. For example, deductions cannot reduce the worker’s wage below minimum wage for such items as shortages, uniforms, trade tools, or damaged goods.
Statute of Limitations For Wage And Hour Claims
Civil claims concerning minimum wage, overtime, and related matters cannot be made after a certain date. This deadline is known as a statute of limitations, and there are various rules for different claims.
The FLSA allows two years for a worker to recover back wages plus an amount equal to liquidated damages for overtime and minimum wage violations. This period is extended to three years if the violation was willful.
In Arizona, an employee must file a lawsuit within the following time periods:
- Overtime pay rights: no later than one year after a violation in order to recover treble damages (meaning three times the back pay owed).
- Minimum wage rights: no later than two years after a violation, or three years if the violation was willful. However, the claim may include all violations that occurred as part of a continuing course of employer conduct, regardless of their date.
State Law Remedies And Penalties
As indicated above, the remedies provided by Arizona wage and hour laws for both overtime and minimum wage violations are often more favorable to workers than federal law. Two notable examples are the right to recover up to triple damages for overtime pay violations and the right to file claims for minimum wage violations that go back more than 2-3 years where there is a continuing course of conduct.
The remedies under federal law for overtime violations are also available in Arizona. In most cases, a plaintiff will be entitled to an award of liquidated damages that is equal to the amount of unpaid overtime. That means it is possible to receive twice the amount of unpaid overtime. A successful plaintiff can also be awarded attorney’s fees and court costs.
Contact Our Arizona Overtime Laws & Wages Attorney
At The Lore Law Firm, our goal is to ensure that workers not only understand their rights but have the ability to assert them in court. If you suspect that your employer violated your right to minimum wage, overtime, or some other wage and hour protection, reach out to us by filling out our free and confidential intake form. Connect with us today.