Revised January 2017
Minimum Wage: Don't Overlook Arizona's Higher Requirement
Where there is a difference between the federal and state minimum wage, the higher of the two applies.
Many states, including Arizona, have a
higher minimum wage than that set at the federal level. Where there
is a difference between the federal and state minimum wage, the
higher of the two applies.
In 2006, Arizona voters approved a
proposition that permitted the Industrial Commission to set the
minimum wage, under
A.R.S. § 23-364(A).
In 2016, the voters passed Proposition 206, which
raised the state's minimum
wage on January 1, 2017, with three yearly increases thereafter. The Industrial Commission's rules are
found in the
Arizona Administrative Code at R20-5-1201 through 1220.
Unlike federal law, which provides many
exceptions to the requirement to pay the federal minimum wage,
Arizona law allows very few exceptions:
people working for a sibling or
state or federal employees, and
businesses with gross revenues
less than $500,000 per year, provided the business is not covered by
the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (this is not common).
As most employers know, penalties for
failure to pay overtime are heavy, but many employers are not aware
of the very serious consequences for failure to comply with the
state minimum wage. Such claims under Arizona's law involve payment
of double damages, as well as an ability for the employee to recover
back wages for an extended period of time, if the employer engaged
in a continuing course of conduct by not paying minimum wages.
Anti-retaliation provisions are also very stringent, providing high
protection for employees who question whether they are receiving the