Arizona Labor Laws: A Complete Guide to Wages, Breaks, Overtime, and More (2024)

In this article, we’ll dive deep into Arizona’s labor laws, with details on all the important aspects of the state’s regulations on your employees.

Running an efficient workforce requires more than assembling a team of hardworking experts skilled at their job roles. It also calls for a structure of rules that protect the employer and serve as guidelines to safeguard employees’ interests. This structure of rules often comes in the form of state laws and directives.

Arizona, also fondly known as The Copper State, follows in the footsteps of many other states, with rules that guide the employer-employee relationship, ensuring fairness, and delineating the rights and responsibilities of both parties. These state-specific laws dictate every facet of employment and labour, protecting both parties’ rights.

As an employer in Arizona, navigating the intricacies of Arizona labor laws, and U.S. labor laws in general, ensures that you avoid the fines, penalties, and possible lawsuits that are a result of not being compliant with the law.

This article is part of a 50-part series that explores state-specific laws in America, focused on helping every employer in Arizona understand labour laws in employee operation and ensuring employees within the state remain aware of their rights.

Meals And Breaks in Arizona

When it comes to employee meal breaks, no state-specific law in Arizona mandates an employer to provide breaks to employees. However, if an employer chooses to provide a meal period or break, they can do so on their own preference.

In the absence of a state-specific law, federal law applies – this rule does not require the provision of a break.

However, the US Department of Labor provides guidelines stating employers must pay for all breaks under 20 minutes. On the contrary, any break exceeding 30 minutes is typically unpaid so long as the employee is free to do what they want with their time. If the employee is required to remain at their post during their break, then the break must be paid for.

Below is a short video for understanding workers’ rights in Arizona:

Leave and Paid Time Off (PTO) in Arizona

Statistics show that 21% of U.S. employees receive six paid holidays per year.

Leave and PTO in Arizona offer employees much-needed time to cool off from being productive at work. This fosters an efficient work environment without burnout and communicates to employees that taking time off is crucial.

Regarding leave and PTO in Arizona, the available options are split into required and non-required leave. However, the state has no set laws for both required and optional leave, leaving the provision of these leave to the employer’s discretion.

However, employers are typically required to establish leave policies and clearly state these policies in employee contracts. The video below should explain Arizona’s current laws on paid leave and minimum wage – it’s quite long, so feel free to bookmark and revisit:

Required Leave in Arizona

Employers in Arizona are required by law to provide their employees with certain types of leaves.

Sick and Family Leave

Since 2016, employers have been required to provide paid sick leave to employees. This leave can be used in any illness-related case, be it for the employers themselves or for their close family members. Some reasons an employee might seek a sick and family leave include:

The state law states that employees can earn paid sick leave, also called sick leave accrual. This pay is accumulated if:

Jury Duty Leave

In cases where an employee is summoned to serve a jury or subpoenaed as a witness on a court case, employers must not penalize the employee for taking time off. However, the employer is also not required to pay for an employee’s leave for jury duty summons.

If the subpoenaed employee works in a company with 5 or fewer full-time employees, the court might choose to postpone their jury duty service if another employee in the same company is already serving jury duty.

Voting Time Leave

In the event of an election, an employer must provide employees with paid leave to vote. However, employees are required to request this leave before election day.

Additionally, all employees should get 3 consecutive hours to vote between the opening and closing hours of the polls. The voting paid leave can be used flexibly.

Domestic Violence or Sexual Assault Leave

An employer with 50 or more employees is obligated to provide unpaid leave to employees who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

The state of Arizona does not provide paid or unpaid leave for victimized employees to recover from physical or mental injuries, only legal proceedings. However, in some cases, the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) may override an employer’s decision, as it provides job-protected time off for a wider range of circumstances and injuries.

The two criteria for this kind of leave are:

Organ and Bone Donation Leave

For state employees who want to donate bone marrow, employers must provide 5 days of paid leave for bone marrow donation, with verified documentation that the employee is a donor.

For employees who want to donate an organ, the employer must provide 30 days of paid leave, with verified documentation that the employer is a donor.

Military Leave

The State of Arizona’s military leave law requires an employer to approve military leave in the public and private sector for National Guard and Military Reserve Components members.

Arizona, like all states in the US, abides by the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), that states employers are required to allow employees to return to their jobs after military service without loss of vacation days, seniority, or potential promotions.

Arizona Non-Required Leave

There are several leaves employers in Arizona are not required to provide employees but may do so regardless as a sign of goodwill. These leave include:

Holiday Leave

Private employers are not legally required to provide paid or unpaid holiday leave as Arizona lacks regulations concerning paid or unpaid leave. However, they must comply with any established policies concerning these leaves when implemented. 

Consequently, a private company can ask employees to work holidays without premium pay (higher pay for being on duty during the holidays). The only exception is if the employment falls under the Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA) and is eligible for overtime pay in these cases. Conversely, public offices must be closed on all legal holidays Arizona recognizes.

Here is a quick overview of all holidays recognized in Arizona:

Vacation Leave

Arizona has no specific regulation that requires employers to provide employees with vacation benefits, whether paid or unpaid. This allows employers to set terms and benefits that suit their organizational objectives.

The lack of state-specific laws means that each company will have its own rules about leave and PTO unique to the organization. However, if an employer provides vacation benefits, it must be stated in employee contracts.

Bereavement Leave

The State of Arizona doesn’t offer paid or unpaid leave for bereavement, but employers may decide to provide a benefit. If the employer does, the conditions must comply with existing company policy.

Overtime Regulations in Arizona

In October 2023, the average working week for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls in the United States was 34.3 hours.

There are no laws governing the payment of overtime in Arizona. Hence, Federal overtime laws apply in the state.

Federal laws under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) state that employees are eligible for overtime if they work more than 40 hours per week unless otherwise exempt. The standard overtime pay is 1.5 times the regular pay.

The federal overtime rule stipulates that the minimum salary requirement for administrative, professional, and executive exemptions is $684 per week or $35,568 per year. Workers making at least this much income may be eligible for overtime based on their job duties.

By the FLSA’s standard, workers paid $20 an hour will receive $30 an hour for overtime.

Non-compliance with these overtime work laws often comes with severe penalties ranging from hefty fines to lawsuits. It’s important to keep accurate track of work hours and pay to avoid these.

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Wages and Benefits in Arizona

Standard minimum wage


Tipped minimum wage


Arizona’s minimum wage is currently $13.85. This is slated to increase to $14.35 an hour effective January 1, 2024, and continue increasing yearly based on the increase in costs of living from the previous year.

Employees who make tips as part of their earnings may be paid a cash wage of $3.00 an hour less than the minimum wage so long as the cash wage and the extra tips combine to reach the state’s minimum wage – that is, tipped employees are expected to earn at least $3 per hour in tips based on this adjusted minimum.

Additionally, employers in the 9th Circuit, which includes the state of Arizona, may not require or coerce employees who customarily receive tips to share those tips with those who do not, such as “back of the house” employees like kitchen workers, managers, and janitors.

Pay Frequency

An employer in Arizona must designate two or more days each month, not more than sixteen days apart, as fixed paydays except in limited circumstances.

Employers may pay employees their standard wages at a different time than they pay overtime wages and exception pay.

Employers may satisfy the requirement to pay employees – except for school district employees or persons employed by employee leasing firms that contract with school districts – all their standard wages due by:


Prevailing Wages in Arizona

Arizona lacks a state-ordered prevailing wage law. However, when federal funding is involved in the public works construction project, Davis-Bacon Act requirements may apply.

The Davis-Bacon and Related Acts apply to contractors and subcontractors performing on federally funded or assisted contracts over \$2,000 for the construction, alteration, or repair (including painting and decorating) of public buildings or public works.

The law states that contractors and subcontractors must pay their laborers and mechanics employed under the contract no less than the locally prevailing wages and fringe benefits for corresponding work on similar projects in the area.

In some cases, the prevailing wage rates may differ from the state’s standard minimum wages. 

For employers seeking more information for compliance with the prevailing wages law in Arizona, check the following sites for more information about prevailing wages:

Hiring Practices in Arizona

As of October 2023, there were 134.82 million full-time employees in the United States.

Arizona hiring laws uphold fairness in the employment process, beginning with job postings. The state prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, or genetic testing results.

Drug Testing

Employers are protected from lawsuits related to drug and alcohol testing if they follow certain strict guidelines. These guidelines set out extensive requirements for documentation, provision, and/or protections related to drug tests:

Additionally, employers are not allowed to discriminate against an applicant or employee because they are a registered cardholder for and/or use medical marijuana unless he or she is applying for a safety-sensitive position.

Background Checks

Arizona mandates employers to carry out background checks for certain types of employees by requiring these employees to obtain a fingerprint clearance card. The following types of employees that must undergo a background check include:

Equal Employment Opportunities

Arizona upholds the law of equal opportunities, prohibiting job discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin, to ensure equality of opportunity in all aspects of employment.

Health and Safety Standards in Arizona

The Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health (ADOSH) enforces state laws and regulations regarding workplace safety and health.

ADOSH operates under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) which covers federal workplace safety and health requirements. This act requires employers to provide a safe working environment, and ADOSH ensures compliance with OSHA standards.

To report unsafe working conditions, employees can contact ADOSH directly or use the online reporting tool available on the Arizona Department of Economic Security website.

Employers can also access resources on the ADOSH website to stay informed about safety regulations and best practices to ensure a secure workplace. Regular training and communication on safety protocols are essential to maintain compliance and protect the well-being of employees.

Child Labor Laws in Arizona

Child labor laws in Arizona are enacted to protect the rights and prevent the exploitation of minors or children below the legal age limit.

Minors aged 14 and 15 are generally allowed to work in certain non-hazardous jobs, but they require a work permit issued by their school. Work hours for 14- and 15-year-olds are limited, with restrictions on late-night and early-morning shifts.

Minors aged 16 and 17 don’t need work permits but must adhere to hour limitations during school days. There are also restrictions on hazardous occupations for all minors. It’s important for employers to be aware of these regulations to ensure compliance and the well-being of young workers.

In Arizona, no child or minor under sixteen can work more than three hours on a school day when enrolled on a day when school is in session, or more than eight hours on a non-school day, for a total of eighteen hours per week.

Additionally, no minor under sixteen can work before 6:00 a.m. or after 9:30 p.m. when there is school the next day. However, when there is no school the next day, minors can work until 11:00 p.m.

When school is not in session or when the child is not enrolled in school, minors under sixteen can work eight hours per day for a total of forty hours per week. However, they can not work before 6:00 a.m. or after 11:00 p.m. when school is not in session, or when the person is not enrolled.

The law also prevents minors from being employed in solicitation sales or door-to-door solicitation past 7:00 p.m.

Generally, the state allows youths 16 and 17 years old to work in a wide range of jobs. However, they cannot work in organizations that:

Additionally, youths are not allowed to work in occupations that require handling machinery like power tools and vehicles, exposure to radioactive substances, or slaughtering of meat.

Arizona child labor laws exempt the following youth from its minimum age requirements for hazardous occupations:

Employee Termination and Resignation in Arizona

Arizona operates under at-will employment, which means an employer can fire the employee at any time, and an employee can choose to quit at any time.

However, while employees can be terminated for no reason, employers must ensure the reason is not discriminatory and not a retaliatory action against the employee.

Following termination, employers must pay the terminated or laid-off employees their final paycheck within 7 days, or by the next payday, whichever comes first. Employees who resign or are suspended must be paid their final paycheck by the next scheduled payday.

While there’s generally no statutory requirement for notice of termination, employers and employees may have contractual agreements specifying notice periods. Severance pay is typically not mandated by state law unless it’s part of an employment contract.

Right-To-Work Law

Arizona is a right-to-work state, meaning employees cannot be compelled to join or support a union as a condition of employment. Employers need to be familiar with both state and federal employment laws to ensure compliance when handling terminations or resignations.

Unemployment Benefits In Arizona

Unemployment insurance benefits provide temporary financial assistance to workers unemployed through no fault of their own that meets Arizona’s eligibility requirements.

To be eligible for unemployment benefits in Arizona, you must be a resident of the state and meet the following criteria:

To apply for an unemployment insurance claim online, visit the Arizona Department of Economic Security website. You can also visit the Employment Administration’s website for more information.

Sometimes, an employer may need to navigate the intricacies of employee benefits, performing actions like responding to unemployment claims, contesting benefit charges, and other aspects of the employer’s involvement in the unemployment insurance system.

To understand the law and its processes, employers can find resources and guidelines on the Arizona DES website to understand their role in the unemployment benefits process.

Penalties for Noncompliance in Arizona

Labor law violations in Arizona often come with several penalties. The penalty varies with the severity of the crime.

Some penalties for noncompliance in Arizona include:

Enforcement mechanisms include investigations initiated by complaints from employees, competitors, or the public. Violations can be reported to the Arizona Division of Labor by filing a complaint online or contacting their office directly. The division has the authority to conduct audits and inspections to ensure compliance.

Employers should stay informed about labor laws and maintain compliance to avoid potential penalties and ensure fair and lawful practices in the workplace. 

Other Essential Information About Labor Laws in Arizona

Some other important labor laws every employer should be aware of includes:

Recordkeeping Laws

Employers must retain the following employment and payroll data for periods as given under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA):


COBRA is a federal law that allows many employees to continue their health insurance benefits after their employment ends. Arizona operates on a limited Mini-COBRA that allows an employee’s spouse or dependent children to continue their coverage for disability insurance. The disability insurance policy must contain a notice of the right to continue coverage.

Arizona Credit And Investigative Check Laws

Employers in Arizona may obtain credit reports on applicants and employees. However, if they take adverse action against the applicant or employee based on the report, they must tell them of the name and address of any credit reporting agency that provided the report.

Labor Unions and Collective Bargaining

Arizona allows both public and private sector employees to unionize. While the state does not have specific laws governing collective bargaining for private-sector employees, public-sector employees may engage in collective bargaining.

The Bottom Line on Arizona Labor Laws

Arizona’s labor laws play a pivotal role in shaping the dynamics of the workforce, impacting both employers and employees alike. From minimum wage standards to regulations governing breaks and overtime, a comprehensive understanding of these laws is essential for maintaining a fair and lawful work environment. 

Employers bear the responsibility of compliance, ensuring that their policies align with the state’s regulations. Likewise, employees should be aware of their rights, fostering a culture of transparency and mutual respect. For both parties, staying abreast of labor laws remains paramount for cultivating a workplace that prioritizes equity, productivity, and employee well-being in Arizona.

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