Paid Holidays in Arizona (2024 Guide For Employers)

Arizona business owners have a lot to be concerned about when it comes to labor law compliance. You have to track worker wages in real-time, stay up to date on new legislation, and ensure breaks and paid time off are accurately accrued. Tracking paid holidays on a yearly basis only adds to these complications.

Yet monitoring paid holidays is crucial not only to maintaining worker satisfaction, but also to ensure your operations run smoothly in the long-term.

In this article we’ll not only cover everything business owners need to know about paid holidays, including topics such as:

  • Defining Paid Holidays
  • How Paid Holidays impact the public sector vs the private sector
  • Federal Holidays vs State Holidays
  • Arizona Specific Holidays
  • The Benefits of Offering Paid Holiday Time
  • FAQs
  • How Buddy Punch helps you conquer Paid Holidays.

What is a Paid Holiday?

A paid holiday is a national, state, or religious holiday that employers have the eligibility to grant their employees. If they choose to do so, employees are compensated for a full day’s worth of wages with no downside. While there are strict laws in place to determine minimum wage and overtime compensation, As the U.S. Department of Labor notes, there is no law that requires employers to offer employees days off.

That said, many business owners choose to do so in order to remain competitive and to offer a sweet benefits package, attracting high quality talent to their business. Employees get days off to recharge, employers get staff members that are competent and generate revenue. The relationship is beneficial for everyone.

Who do Paid Holidays apply to?

While it’s true that private employers do not have to offer paid holidays, public employers do for their employees. According to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) public employees include anyone that works for the United States Government, directly for a state, the District of Colombia, a territory or possession of the United States, a city, a municipality, a township, a county, a parish, or a similar government.

That said, private employers can still choose to offer paid holidays. Once they do (via an employee contract, PTO policy, or some other documentation) they are legally held to that agreement.

There are a few blanket rules that apply for all federal holidays regardless of what day they fall on. For example, for any holiday that happens to fall on a Saturday, federal employees are given the Friday before the holiday off. If a federal holiday happens to land on a Sunday, employees get a day off the following Monday.

Federal Holidays

The list of all 2024 federal holidays to be observed (regardless of what state you’re in) and the date they fall on is as follows:

  • New Year’s Day (Monday, January 1)
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day / Civil Rights Day (Monday, January 15)
  • Washington’s /Lincoln’s Day / President’s Day (Monday, February 19)
  • Memorial Day (Monday, May 27 – last Monday in May)
  • Juneteenth National Independence Day (Wednesday, June 19)
  • Independence Day (Thursday, July 4)
  • Labor Day (Monday, September 2)
  • Columbus Day (Monday, October 14)
  • Veterans Day (Monday, November 11)
  • Thanksgiving Day (Thursday, November 28)
  • Christmas Day (Wednesday, December 25)

While these are the only official federal holidays, plenty of private employers choose to offer other days or hours off. For example, many businesses will stay open for reduced hours the day before Thanksgiving or on Christmas Eve to allow employees to travel and be with family.

Holidays Specific to the State of Arizona

Below is a list of state holidays recognized in Arizona.

Unlike federal holidays, many of these would-be day offs land on weekends. As a reminder, when any of the listed holidays falls on a Sunday, it is observed on the following Monday, except for those holidays that are always on Sundays, and Constitution Commemoration Day.

When considering any of these days off, state law comes into effect if you’re a public business. For example, all Arizona public employers (public offices and courts of justice) are required to be closed on these legal holidays for their public employees. No judicial business may be completed by state employees, except in four specific circumstances:

  • Giving instructions to a jury deliberating on its verdict, but only if requested by those on jury duty
  • Receiving a jury verdict
  • Discharging a jury
  • Exercising the powers of a magistrate in a criminal action or in a proceeding of criminal nature.

As we mentioned before, private employers in Arizona are not required to close on any of these listed holidays, federal or state. There is no federal law requiring this either, as only the federal government is required to observe these holidays. Private employers can also deny time off requests around these dates if they wish.

That said, businesses across the country tend to observe these holidays to stay competitive during the hiring process and include provisions in their employment contract that 1. offer employees this time off 2. leaves business owners beholden to those promises. If you’ve agreed to allow your team members paid holidays off, you must adhere to those promises or you’re in violation of employment law.

Impact of Common Arizona Leave Laws

While we’re observing the overall impact of paid holidays on work hours, let’s take a look at Arizona’s Labor Laws.

Sick Time

Employees working for an employer with less than 15 employees can earn up to 24 hours of sick leave pay per year, unless the employer chooses a higher limit.

Vacation Leave and Holiday Time

Arizona does not require employees to receive paid vacation time or to be compensated for holidays. However, employers can institute a use it or lose it policy for vacation time so long as employees are granted reasonable opportunity to use it.

Furthermore, employers are not required to pay out accrued vacation time when an employee leaves your company.

Parental Leave

An employee may take up to 12 weeks of parental leave for childbirth, miscarriage, abortion, or adoption of children. After this they are entitled to return to their previous job. If their position no longer exists, a reduction-in-force may be conducted.

Bereavement Leave

An employee is allowed 24 work hours for bereavement, increased to 40 hours if the employee must travel outside of Arizona for the travel. These conditions only apply in the case of a death of a spouse, natural child, adopted child, foster child, stepchild, natural parent, stepparent, adoptive parent, an individual who stood “in loco parentis,” grandparent, grandchild, brother, sister, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, mother-in-law, father-in-law, son-in-law, or daughter-in-law.

Jury Duty

Arizona employers are not allowed to require annual, vacation, or sick leave used for an employee selected for the jury selection process or for serving on a jury. An employer also cannot refuse to allow an employee to serve as a juror, nor can they cause them to lose seniority or precedence in their business.


In Arizona, employers are required to grant paid leave for voting in situations where there are less than three hours between polls opening and closing and an employee starting or ending their shifts. That said, employees have to request leave before Election Day, and an employer can specify the number of hours the employee gets to take off.

Overtime Pay

Arizona doesn’t have specific overtime laws, which means the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) takes precedent here. Non-exempt employees must receive 1.5 times their regular rate of pay for working over 40 hours in a workweek.

Read our guide here for a more comprehensive look at how Arizona Law affects your workplace.

The Benefits of Paid Holidays

Even though we’ve made it clear that only public employers are required to offer paid holidays, we think it’s important that all business owners in Arizona consider offering holidays off. The reasons for this are:

#1 – Paid Holidays keep your business competitive.

Especially in a job market that weathered the pandemic, employees are more conscious than ever of their mental and physical health. The key to maintaining this is a healthy work-life balance, which means, among other things, taking breaks to reset and recharge. While generous PTO policies in your workplace allow proactive employees to make the most of their time, giving them federal and state holidays off is an added boon (and lets them connect with friends and family on those days as well).

#2 – Paid Holidays boost company morale.

Hand-in-hand with the benefits above, your employees will appreciate you and your administrators giving them some time to themselves. 39% of workers who quit their job in 2021 cited working too many hours, which 45% pointed to a lack of flexibility in their hours and 43% took issue with a lack of good benefits such as health insurance and paid time off. These are pain points that can cause an employee to grow more and more dissatisfied over time. Being proactive This appreciation can turn into loyalty and longevity at your company, which means more productivity and less employee turnover.

#3 – Paid Holidays are cheaper than they appear.

Paying your existing employees holiday pay for a day they take off may initially seem like a waste, but that’s only if you’re looking at the tangible effects. What’s happening while they’re not at work? They’re relaxing. They’re unloading. If there’s any issue in their personal lives, they’re using their free time to work towards getting it resolved. All this adds up to an employee that comes back to work in a fresher state of mind. Any frustrations are gone or reduced. They’re ready to keep working, not just that day, but for months and hopefully years. In short, a regular pattern of days off helps you keep employees around for the long term, and helps those employees do better work.

Not to mention that according to Pew Research Center, 46% of U.S. workers use less paid time off than they’re offered. Employers benefit from being a business willing to offer it, and are unlikely to see their entire team taking advantage of every day. You save a ton of money because you’re not having to hire and train new employees, and your current employees are only getting more proficient as they continue to work & strive for accolades.

When you consider these long-term benefits, suddenly the cost of holiday pay is easily worth it.

Use Buddy Punch to Stay on Top of Paid Holidays

While keeping track of paid holidays in your state might seem like a tall order, especially when you have to monitor employee working hours and accrual of paid time off on top of that, there are plenty of digital tools you can make use of to make it easier. If you utilize a workforce management solution like Buddy Punch, you can have PTO hours automatically accrue, and receive notifications whenever an employee submits a paid leave request. In fact, you can even enable trusted employees to be automatically approved for their leave requests, no oversight on your part required.

If you’re interested in the potential of Buddy Punch to help you manage your team members, take a look at our many Paid Leave features. Otherwise, we hope this post has helped you understand the importance of Paid Holidays (as well as providing enough guidance for you to master managing them).

Frequently Asked Questions

So, offering PTO of any kind is optional in Arizona?

You are not required to provide paid time off, but you are required by law to provide paid sick time.

What accrual rate do I have to use for paid sick leave?

In Arizona, employers with less than 15 employees must accrue a minimum of one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, but your team members will not be entitled to accrue or use more than 24 hours of earned paid sick time per year – unless you select a higher limit yourself.

If you’re an Arizona employer with more than 15 employees, your team members will accrue a minimum of one hour of earned paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, but they won’t be entitled to accrue or use more than 40 hours of earned paid sick time per year, unless you select a higher limit.

Since when have Arizona businesses been required to provide sick leave?

This has been the case in Arizona since the Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act was voted on the ballot in November 2016. It took effect July 1, 2017.

Do employers tend to offer employees all 11 paid federal holidays?

According to a survey conducted by Zippia, the average U.S. employees receive 7.6 paid holidays. The two most common paid holidays are Thanksgiving and Christmas, while President’s Day and New Year’s Eve are the two least common.

Do Arizona business owners have to pay out unused PTO in the case of termination?

There is no law that says Arizona employers have to pay out unused vacation time unless they outline that they will do so in their own company policy.

How much is Holiday Pay?

Holiday pay is equal to an employee’s basic rate of pay.

What is Arizona’s minimum wage?

Arizona’s minimum wage as of 2024 is $14.35 per hour. You can keep up with changes in minimum wage or payroll laws via our post here.

Official State Resources

Disclaimer: Not Legal Advice

This blog post provides a general overview of Arizona Holiday & Paid Leave Laws but does not constitute legal advice. Laws and regulations are subject to change, and there may be additional requirements or exemptions that apply to specific situations. Employers and employees should consult a qualified labor law attorney for advice on their specific circumstances.

If you have any questions about your rights or obligations as an employer or employee in Arizona, it is essential to consult with a labor law attorney to receive accurate information and guidance tailored to your situation. By seeking professional legal advice, you can ensure that you are taking the appropriate steps to comply with labor laws and protect your rights.

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