Governor Hobbs Boosts Paid Leave for AZ State Employees

1 min read
September 8, 2023
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Photo by Mike Glezos on

Arizona is stepping up its game for state employees, offering 12 weeks of paid leave for new parents and expanding leave for those tending to sick family members under a pilot program—a significant stride under Democratic Governor Katie Hobbs.

Why it matters: These reforms touch a substantial chunk of the workforce—around 34,000 state workers. Beyond the optics, such moves can significantly impact employee morale, retention, and recruitment strategies, making Arizona an attractive place for top-tier talent.

Driving the news: Paid parental leave, previously a mirage for many state employees, is now a reality. Additionally, accrued sick time that can be used for family care has been boosted from 40 hours annually to a game-changing 480 hours.

By the numbers:

  • 3 statesSouth Carolina, New Hampshire, and Georgia had extended this privilege to their state workforce by 2022.
  • 12 weeks of paid leave are provided to Federal employees.
  • 12 weeks of paid leave is now available after a child’s birth or adoption/fostering, contrasting the unpaid leave previously offered under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act.
  • To be eligible, Employees must have clocked 1,250 hours in the last year and served the state for 12 months within the previous seven years.

Yes, but: There are caveats. Only some state employees will benefit. Those under the State Personnel System are in, but some agencies like the Department of Public Safety are out.

What’s next: This pilot program is initiated under an existing state rule allowing two-year trials. Arizona will use this window to gauge the policy’s impact, adoption rate, and potential budgetary implications.

The bottom line: With these reforms, Arizona is making a powerful statement on prioritizing work-life balance for its employees. This move could set the tone for other states to follow.

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