In our recent article, we explained the COVID-19 epidemic’s potential impact on Arizona employers’ duty to provide paid sick leave to their employees. Significantly, we noted that in the event the governor declared a “public health emergency,” various business and school closures ordered by a “public official” in connection with that declaration could trigger paid sick leave obligations under Arizona’s earned paid sick time law.
On March 11, 2020, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey issued a Declaration of Emergency for COVID-19. While this is exactly the type of public health emergency contemplated by the paid sick time law, the governor’s declaration alone is not enough to trigger paid sick leave obligations. However, if a “public official” with the authority to act in furtherance of the declaration were to order a business closed, if schools were closed by order of the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) or a district superintendent, or potentially even where an order simply prevented employees from working (such as an area-wide quarantine), then absences caused by such events very likely would be subject to paid sick time benefits.