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Option to increase Arizona’s minimum wage likely to reach ballot in November

(KTAR File Photo)

PHOENIX — Arizonans may be able to decide in November whether they would like to raise the state’s minimum wage.

Arizona Healthy Working Families said Thursday that supporters have filed 275,000 petition signatures on a ballot initiative that would raise the minimum wage to $12 by 2020 and give employees paid sick days.

Only a little over 150,000 of those signatures need to be valid in order for the initiative to appear on the ballot.

The Arizona Chamber of Commerce has already voiced its opposition to the measure, saying that it is “bad for Arizona” and would hurt the people it is supposed to be helping.

“Employers could lay off employees, raise prices, institute hiring freezes, invest in automation that will make employees unnecessary or even close up shop,” the board said in its statement.

Opponents of the initiative previously made an attempt to create a smaller wage increase alternative to the one that will now be on the ballot. That measure failed in the House.

If the initiative passes, it would increase the minimum wage to $10 by 2017 then gradually to $12 by 2020.

It would also provide 40 hours earned paid sick time for employees of larger companies and 24 hours of sick time for those of smaller companies, with certain protections for employees in regards to using the benefit.