Category Archives: Arizona enacted legislation

Paid Sick Leave Is Now The Law In AZ

Arizona’s new law mandating paid sick leave starts July 1. Businesses and non-profit groups could face penalties for failing to keep records, post notices and could incur damages for failing to provide paid sick time. Employers who retaliate against workers exercising their rights could face fines of at least $150 per day.

The law mandating as many as 40 hours of paid sick leave, which was approved by voters in November of 2016 that also raised the state’s minimum wage, applies to almost all businesses and non-profits with at least one Arizona employee including entities not headquartered in the state.  The only exceptions are those employed by Arizona’s state or federal government and sole proprietors. So, whether full-time or part-time, temporary or seasonal, all will receive paid sick time. They will be able to use this benefit for a variety of reasons.

The minimum requirements are 24 hours of paid sick time off annually for businesses with 14 or fewer workers, or 40 hours off for entities with 15 or more people. Employees are entitled to receive paid sick-time off; independent contractors are not. The general rule is that if you issue a W-2 to a worker, that person is an employee entitled to the benefit.

The law allows paid leave for various reasons besides sickness or injury such as domestic violence, sexual abuse, stalking or the closing of a child’s school owing to a public health emergency.  Additionally, reasons include taking time off to meet with an attorney, arranging shelter services or securing safe housing, as well as issues on behalf of family members. The definition of family members is quite broad including siblings, grandparents, in-laws and others. Significantly, an employer can request proof or documentation only after a worker has been absent for three days in a row. And, when proof is required, it can come in a variety of  forms such as a doctor’s note, a police report, a letter from an attorney or simply a worker’s own statement that he or she needed time off. Employers generally will be required to grant the time off. Penalties and damages await companies that ignore the new law. 

 

AZ Adopts Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act

Many people believe their heirs will inherit their digital photos, business documents, social media accounts, websites, texts, or other digital property through their Will or by law. No.

Prior to the governor signing the Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (FADAA) in May, companies that store those assets such as Facebook, Google or Yahoo, determined who could receive the items if a person became deceased or incapacitated. The website’s terms-of-service agreements superseded Wills and trusts preventing heirs from gaining access to the digital property. Under the new law, a fiduciary or other person with legal authority to manage another person’s property will have the ability to access and distribute the deceased or incapacitated person’s digital assets. It appears the legislation is effective August 6, 2016.

FADAA provides a three-tiered system for distributing digital assets. First, if the company holding the digital assets, like Facebook, provides an online tool that allows the user to name another person to have access to the user’s digital assets, FADAA makes the user’s online instructions legally enforceable.

Second, if the company does not provide an online planning tool, or if the user does not use it, the user may give legally enforceable directions for the disposition of digital assets in a Will, trust, power of attorney or other written record.

Third, if the user has not provided any direction, either online or in an estate plan, the terms-of-service for the user’s account will determine whether a fiduciary may access the user’s digital assets.

If the terms-of-service do not address fiduciary access, the default rule will be to require that the company holding the digital assets to provide a catalogue of the communications showing the addresses of the sender and recipient, and the date and time the message was sent.  However, if the decedent has an estate plan, power of attorney or notarized written statement, they can direct the company to give the fiduciary full access to the content to distribute to named heirs.

To obtain the digital assets, the fiduciary must send a request to the company with a certified copy of the document granting the fiduciary authority, such as a letter of appointment, court order, or certification of trust. Thus, individuals should make a provision in their Will, trust, power of attorney or other written document to distribute digital assets.  They should also be aware that any directions made through an on-line tool will supersede their trust or Will.