July 1st is just a few months away…. Small business owners need to get prepared for Arizona’s new Paid Sick Leave requirements. When Arizona voters approved Proposition 206 in November the minimum wage was increased to $10 an hour. But, few realized that the more alarming increase in our wage expense was the addition of a mandated Paid Sick Leave. This is one of the biggest changes to Arizona employment law in recent history.
As of July 1st, employers must provide paid sick leave to all employees regardless of the size of business. As our chamber has spread the word throughout the region, many business owners ask us about a small business exemption. Simply – there are no exemptions for size or geography. The new requirements applies to all businesses in Arizona.
It’s time to pull out your employment manual and review your paid time off policies to ensure that they comply. Here are a few of the important points. Be sure to seek advice from your payroll professional or bookkeeper.
1. Employees must accrue a minimum of one hour of paid sick leave per 30 hours worked.
4. Employees are required to make a good faith effort to provide notice to the employer in advance of the leave and make a reasonable effort to schedule the time off that does not unduly disrupt the operations of the employer.
5. Unused sick leave carries over one year to the next, but does not need to be paid to employees upon separation of employment.
For many small businesses who are caught unaware, this will create a hardship. Our Tucson Hispanic Chamber continues to offer business consulting and business education classes throughout the region to assist businesses in analyzing the impact. Raising your product or service prices (if you can) or restructuring your business may be necessary. It’s time to contact your employment law attorney or payroll company for details of how the mandated Paid Sick Leave requirement will impact your business.
Lea Marquez Peterson, MBA
Tucson Hispanic Chamber and our affiliate chambers in Sierra Vista, Ambos Nogales and Douglas
Last month, an Arizona Republic article by Elvia Diaz caught my attention: Arizona is a beacon of hope? The nation's largest Latino group says yes. Earlier this year, I learned that the National Council of La Raza is hosting their national conference this summer in Phoenix. For most, this is interesting but not thought provoking.
However, from my perspective this is a major shift for Arizona. I became the President of our Tucson Hispanic Chamber seven years ago and one of the first challenges I faced was our organization’s response to the passing of SB1070.
As the state debated immigration reform, our chamber held multiple emergency board meetings and surveyed our members to form our opinion. Ultimately, we came out neutral due to the outcry from our members in support and in opposition to the bill. Yes – we had latino businesses owners who supported the idea of a more stringent immigration policy for our state. In hindsight, I think everyone in Arizona will agree, however that it was a political nightmare due to the fear of racial profiling and gave Arizona a negative public image in our nation.
During that time, I reached out to many national Latino groups and implored them not to boycott Arizona. I spoke of the potential impact on the 120,000 Hispanic owned businesses in our state and our belief that immigration reform was necessary and should be handled at the national level. We warned other states leaders that boycotts can easily turn on other states and expressed that this was not the direction to take.
Our argument was heard by the United States Hispanic Chamber who did not support the Arizona boycott. Unfortunately, it was promoted by the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) – one of the nation’s most visible latino social justice organizations. Today, seven years later, Arizona has repaired relations and NCLR has come back to Arizona.
The reporter, Elvia Diaz projects that the NCLR event is expected to draw 4,000 people to the July 8-11 conference in Phoenix and upwards of 18,000 to the expo. Organizers say that translates into an estimated $6 million to the Phoenix economy. Our chamber is assisting in the coordination of the NCLR conference (www.nclr.org) and promoting the event to our members.
This high profile national event could not have occurred without the leadership of Governor Ducey and the relationships he has built within the Hispanic community in Arizona and with leadership in Sonora, Mexico. In addition, over the last four years both Mayor Stanton of Phoenix and Mayor Rothschild of Tucson have stressed the importance of our Latino community in Arizona and Sonora in their words, tone and presence at key events in Arizona and Mexico. If more states in our nation engaged thoughtfully with the Latino community, valued our purchasing power and the importance of trade with Mexico, our nation would not be in such a politically tense moment. I agree with the Arizona Republic reporter - Arizona is a “beacon of hope” in our battle over immigration reform.
Lea Marquez Peterson
Tucson Hispanic Chamber and affiliated chambers in Sierra Vista, Ambos Nogales and Douglas
A quality workforce, job training, and workforce development are some of the leading priorities of the members of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (THCC). But it all starts with quality education from an early age. The annual THCC State of Hispanic Education
luncheon hosted on April 20th served as an opportunity to explore some of the education challenges facing southern Arizona and to address the role the Hispanic business community plays in improving education across our region.
“Our economic growth and the success of our business community depends on the availability of highly-skilled and trained workers capable of innovating and fulfilling productivity demands,” said Lea Marquez Peterson, President and CEO of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “At the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, we analyze and discuss the challenges facing Hispanic students in the Tucson area and Arizona, and actively engage in initiatives and programs that improve education standards and prepare students for college or to enter the workforce.”
Less than fifty percent of Arizona's high school graduates are college or career ready. For southern Arizona Hispanics, the dropout rate continues to be a disappointing figure, despite a recent decline. In Pima County, the dropout rate among Latino students is 4.9 percent – well above the state average of 3.5 percent.
However, there are encouraging statistics in Latino higher education that will lead to a positive effect on the development of Southern Arizona’s workforce. Santa Cruz and Cochise Counties have done a remarkable job in reducing the dropout rates for their Hispanic students, to levels that are lower than the national average. According to Scarborough, more than 35,000 Santa Cruz and Cochise students plan to seek higher education over the next twelve months. In addition, according to the THCC’s Hispanic Market Outlook report, nearly half of all Hispanics in the Tucson area have enrolled in some college courses, and those 18 years of age and older are more likely than the general population to plan to go back to school over the next twelve months.
THCC luncheon panelist and business owner, Carlos Ruiz said “Investing in education is investing in the future of our workforce.” Ruiz, a small business owner and the President of the Board of the Tanque Verde School District, has focused on connecting education administration officials to the business community and policymakers. “Engaging the business community is crucial to understanding the needs of the labor market and preparing students to enter careers in those areas. They also have the potential to serve as mentors and role models, which is of particular importance among Hispanics.”
Tucson Hispanic Chamber members focus on education initiatives in a number of ways. The chamber’s Latino Education Committee meets monthly to discuss Latino student enrollment levels, high school and college graduation rates, and keeps abreast of important legislative issues. The THCC is also proud to spearhead the A for Arizona Initiative in conjunction with the Arizona Chamber of Commerce Foundation. The initiative is an effort to increase the number of public schools providing quality education to low income families throughout the state. The chamber also launched a Young Entrepreneur Academy which educates students age 11 – 18 on launching their own business in partnership with Tucson Unified School District and the University of Arizona Eller Business School. Learn more about business engagement in education initiatives at www.TucsonHispanicChamber.org.
by Lea Marquez Peterson
Tucson Hispanic Chamber
Welcome to the Tucson Hispanic Chamber Blog Page.
Our goal is to help member companies grow and prosper. We work to achieve this goal by advocating a pro-business agenda in Tucson and connecting members with business leaders and policy makers. How? With Networking & educational events, and online initiatives — like this blog.