Will new minimum wage and sick time rules hurt small AZ businesses?

PHOENIX - New rules on how much sick time employers must provide go into effect Saturday.

Arizona's Proposition 206, which passed in November, will increase the state minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2020 and require most employers to provide paid sick time. 

The Paper Plate Deli is a breakfast and lunch kitchen in Downtown Phoenix, which shares the building with 12 News and the Arizona Republic

It's got the basic breakfast and lunch food items and some extras.

A sandwich or wrap is $6 with a side. But that price may soon go up.

"I'm going to probably have to raise prices,” said Corie Lieb, the owner of the deli.

Raising prices is never a crowd pleaser—even for a place with many regular customers.

"I know people here love [our employees],” said Lieb. “So I think if I tell [the customers] I'm taking care of my employees, the people that you like,” then maybe they will understand, she said.

Lieb said she hasn't changed any prices since she opened shop more than five years ago.

Considering a price change is her attempt to absorb the cost of an increase in minimum wage and not go out of business.

Starting July 1, her employees will be legally entitled to earn paid sick time as well.

The Arizona Small Business Association chimed in with a statement saying it knew early on that "Prop 206 ... would be daunting. Government mandates like mandated paid sick leave disproportionately affect small businesses, forcing employers to possibly reduce costs (jobs) or raise prices or both."

To be clear, Lieb is not against offering a higher wage or paid time off.

"I know I've given my girls raises since they've been here,” she said. “On and off, since they've been here, we've reevaluated."

But she said she would prefer it be a matter of earning it, not entitlement.

"You want to work at McDonalds the rest of your life, they should have a pay scale that adjusts,” said Lieb. “You work your butt off, and you work hard, yes. I think you should be able to do that."

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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