Minimum Wage in Arizona: Arizona Minimum Wage in 2024

December 4, 2023

The minimum wage in Arizona is a crucial topic that every restaurant and business owner must stay informed about. Understanding the nuances of the Arizona minimum wage in 2023 and anticipating the changes in 2024 is essential for effective business planning and legal compliance.

This blog aims to provide a comprehensive guide to the minimum wage landscape in Arizona, focusing on its implications for restaurant and business owners. We'll cover historical trends, comparisons with federal rates, exemptions, and practical tips for adapting to changes.


What is the Minimum Wage in Arizona?

In 2023, the minimum wage in Arizona stands at $13.85 per hour, marking an increase from the previous year’s $12.80 per hour. This change reflects an ongoing effort to adjust wages in line with economic conditions and living expenses.

Looking forward to 2024, restaurant owners and employers should prepare for a further increase in the minimum wage. It’s slated to rise to $14.35 per hour starting January 1, 2024. This incremental adjustment ensures a gradual adaptation for businesses, helping to balance the needs of employees with the economic realities employers face.

Moreover, a significant development looms on the horizon. A ballot measure, potentially set for November 5, 2024, proposes a more substantial hike in the minimum wage, pushing it to $18 per hour. This proposal, if passed, could represent a transformative change for the Arizona labor market, particularly impacting the restaurant and service industries. Employers must stay informed and prepared for these potential changes, as they could have far-reaching implications for business operations and payroll management.

Arizona State Minimum Wage vs Federal Minimum Wage

Understanding the difference between the Arizona state minimum wage and the federal minimum wage is vital for restaurant and business owners. As of 2023, Arizona’s minimum wage stands at $13.85 per hour, a figure adjusted annually based on the Consumer Price Index to align with inflation. This proactive approach ensures that wages reflect the cost of living changes.

The federal minimum wage, applicable across the United States, is set at $7.25 per hour for nonexempt employees. This baseline serves as a national standard. However, in states like Arizona, where state law provides a higher wage rate, employers are required to comply with state standards.

Local/City Minimum Wages in Arizona

Arizona's state-level minimum wage laws are supplemented by city-specific ordinances, especially in Tucson and Flagstaff, where local regulations have set higher minimum wages.

Tucson Minimum Wage

The Tucson Minimum Wage Act, approved by Tucson voters in November 2021 as Proposition 206, sets a progressive increase in the local minimum hourly wage. Initially set at $13.00 from April 1, 2022, it will rise to $14.35 in 2024 and $15.00 by January 1, 2025. Annual adjustments based on the Consumer Price Index or higher state/federal minimum wages may follow. The Act covers full-time, part-time, or temporary employees working at least 5 hours per pay cycle within Tucson, excluding employees of the State of Arizona, the U.S., and tribal entities.

Flagstaff Minimum Wage

The minimum wage in Flagstaff, Arizona, as of 2023, is $16.80 per hour, with a tipped minimum wage of $14.80 per hour. This wage structure resulted from a gradual implementation process that started with the passing of Proposition 414, known as "The Minimum Wage Act," in the 2016 General Election. This proposition aimed to achieve a $15 per hour minimum wage in Flagstaff by 2021. 

The law, encapsulated in Title 15 of the Flagstaff City Code, applies to all individuals working or expected to work at least 25 hours within the city limits in any given calendar year. The minimum wage rates are adjusted annually on January 1st. 

For 2024, the minimum wage is set to increase to $17.40 per hour, and the tipped minimum wage will be $15.90 per hour. From 2025 onwards, adjustments will be based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) or $2.00 above the State of Arizona's minimum wage, whichever is higher​.

Minimum Wage for Tipped Employees in Arizona

In Arizona, the rules for tipped employees are distinct from those for non-tipped workers. As of 2024, the minimum wage for tipped employees is set at $10.85 per hour. This rate is crucial for restaurant owners to understand, as it directly impacts payroll and employee satisfaction.

Here's a breakdown of what this means for your business:

  • Tip Credit Explained: Arizona law permits a tip credit of up to $3.00 per hour against the standard minimum wage. This means that if an employee earns enough in tips, their direct wage from the employer can be as low as $7.85 per hour. However, this is contingent on the total earnings (wage plus tips) meeting or exceeding the standard minimum wage of $13.85 per hour.

  • Ensuring Minimum Wage Compliance: It’s your responsibility as an employer to ensure that your tipped employees’ total earnings (wages plus tips) never fall below the state minimum wage of $13.85 per hour. You must compensate the difference if an employee’s tips do not cover the gap. For instance, if a tipped employee earns $5.00 per hour in tips, you must add $2.85 per hour to their wage, ensuring they reach the minimum hourly rate of $7.85.

  • Tip Ownership and Pooling: While Arizona laws do not mandate that employees retain all their tips, as an employer, you must ensure that even after any permissible deductions, your staff receives at least the minimum wage. Be cautious about practices like tip pooling, ensuring they don’t lead to underpayment.

  • Timely Wage Payment: It’s important to pay your tipped employees their full wages, including any necessary tip credits, by the end of each workweek. Delaying this payment or manipulating tip pooling can lead to legal complications and employee dissatisfaction.

Understanding and adhering to these guidelines is vital for restaurant and business owners. Not only does it ensure legal compliance, but it also fosters a fair and motivating work environment.

Historical Minimum Wage Rates in Arizona

A journey through Arizona's minimum wage history reveals a progressive increase over the years, reflecting economic changes and cost of living adjustments. Let's take a glance at this evolution:

2013: $7.80

2014: $7.90

2015: $8.05

2016: $8.05

2017: $10.00

2018: $10.50

2019: $11.00

2020: $12.00

2021: $12.15

2022: $12.80

2023: $13.85

2024: $14.35

This historical perspective is crucial for restaurant and business owners in Arizona to understand the pattern of wage increases and to anticipate future trends in employee compensation.

Source: Labor Law Center

How is the Minimum Wage Determined in Arizona?

Voter-Approved Laws and the Consumer Price Index

The journey of Arizona's minimum wage law began with voter-approved initiatives and continues to evolve with economic indicators. The state's minimum wage has undergone significant changes due to propositions passed by voters and adjustments based on economic conditions. Let's break down these elements:

  1. Voter-Initiated Changes: Arizona's journey with progressive minimum wage laws began notably in 2006 with Proposition 202, setting a precedent for future increases. Later, Proposition 206, passed in 2016, marked another milestone by establishing a gradual increase pattern and connecting future adjustments to the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

  2. The Role of the Consumer Price Index (CPI): The CPI is a critical factor in adjusting the minimum wage in Arizona. Published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, this index tracks the inflation rate, which reflects changes in the cost of goods and services. The CPI's role is to ensure that the minimum wage keeps pace with economic realities, thereby maintaining its purchasing power.

  3. Annual Adjustments by the Arizona Industrial Commission: The Arizona Industrial Commission (AIC) reviews the state's minimum wage annually. This body examines the CPI from August of the previous year to the current year and adjusts the minimum wage based on this percentage increase. The AIC’s adjustments are finely tuned, rounded to the nearest five cents to ensure precision.

Arizona Minimum Wage Exemptions

As a restaurant or business owner in Arizona, it's essential to understand the specific exemptions under the Arizona Minimum Wage Act. While the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act outlines various exemptions, Arizona's approach is more streamlined, with limited exceptions.

Key exemptions include:

  • Family Employment: Individuals working for a parent or sibling.

  • Casual Babysitting: Babysitting roles in the employer's residence on an occasional basis.

  • Government Employment: Roles within the State of Arizona or U.S. Government.

  • Small Business Provision: Businesses with annual revenues below $500,000 are not mandated to adhere to the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage requirements.

Implications for Restaurant Owners

The new minimum wage in Arizona is $14.35 per hour. This might seem like a small increase, but it can greatly affect your restaurant.

1. More Money for Staff: If you have 15 people working for you at minimum wage, this new rate means you’ll pay an extra $15,600 a year if they all work 40 hours a week. This is a lot, especially since restaurants usually don’t make a huge profit.

2. Good and Bad for Workers: This wage increase is meant to help workers who don't earn much, like those who help in the kitchen. But it's not simple because it makes running your restaurant more expensive.

3. How It Affects Prices: In places like Phoenix, where there are a lot of restaurants, many already pay their staff more than the old minimum wage. But this new increase might make everything more expensive, from the food you buy to what you have to charge your customers. It's hard to raise prices because customers don't always want to pay more.

4. How to Deal with It: Restaurant owners have been thinking about this wage increase and what to do. Some might cut hours or raise their menu prices. This is even harder for restaurants that use local ingredients, as their costs might increase, too.

5. Hiring and Starting a Restaurant: The higher costs might make owners hire fewer new staff. It could also make people think twice about starting their restaurant because it’s more expensive now.

In short, the increase in the minimum wage in Arizona in 2024 is a big deal for restaurant owners. It means paying staff more, which is good for them but also makes running your restaurant more expensive. You’ll need to think carefully and come up with smart ways to handle these changes.

How Can I Prepare My Business for the Minimum Wage Increase?

To prepare your restaurant business for the upcoming minimum wage increase in 2024, consider the following strategies:

1. Assess Your Current Labor Costs

Start by examining your existing labor expenses. Determine how the increase in minimum wage will impact your overall payroll. Consider the potential need for adjusting hours, redistributing tasks, or even re-evaluating staffing needs. It’s crucial to understand this financial shift to plan accordingly.

2. Review Your Menu Prices

With rising labor costs, it might be necessary to adjust your menu prices. Conduct a cost-benefit analysis to understand the impact on your profit margins. Ensure that any price increase is justifiable and aligns with customer expectations and market standards.

3. Optimize Labor Scheduling

Efficient scheduling is key to managing labor costs. Analyze peak business hours and staff accordingly, ensuring you’re not overstaffed during slow periods. This approach saves on labor costs and ensures optimal customer service during busy times.

4. Cross-Train Employees

Cross-training staff can significantly enhance operational efficiency. Employees capable of performing multiple roles provide flexibility in scheduling and reduce the need for additional hires. This can be a strategic way to manage the increased labor costs without compromising service quality.

5. Evaluate Technology Solutions 

Implementing technological solutions can streamline operations and improve efficiency. This might include:

  • Online Ordering Systems: To reduce the need for staff handling phone orders, implement an efficient online ordering system. This can streamline the ordering process and reduce errors.

  • Self-Service Kiosks: For customer self-ordering, consider introducing self-service kiosks. This can reduce the need for front-of-house staff, allowing you to allocate resources more effectively.

  • Automated Inventory Management: An automated system can help optimize stock levels, reduce waste, and save time on manual inventory checks.

  • Digital Scheduling Tools: Utilize digital tools for more efficient staff scheduling, reducing the time spent on manual scheduling and improving staff utilization.

  • Point-of-Sale Systems: Updated systems can improve transaction speed and accuracy, enhancing customer experience and reducing wait times.

  • Implementing QR Code Ordering: QR code ordering can reduce staff interaction time per table, allowing for more efficient service and potentially reducing the number of required staff.

6. Communicate with Employees

Open communication with your staff is crucial. Discuss the changes and how they might impact their roles and schedules. Engaging employees in the process can lead to valuable insights and smoother implementation of new strategies.

7. Seek Professional Guidance

Consulting with financial and HR professionals can provide insights specific to your business. They can help you navigate the legal aspects of wage changes and offer tailored advice to optimize your business strategy.


The key is planning, being proactive, and adapting your business strategies to accommodate the changing economic landscape. By taking these steps, you can prepare your restaurant business for the minimum wage increase and maintain a strong financial position in the future.

To smoothly transition with these wage changes, consider enhancing your business operations with advanced tools. Book a Free Demo or Consultation with Chowbus POS today to explore how technology can help you manage these adjustments efficiently.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Minimum Wage in Arizona

Dive into our FAQ section to gain insights and clarity on the topic of minimum wage in Arizona, covering aspects from the current rates to specific work-hour classifications.

What is Arizona Minimum Wage 2023?

The minimum wage in Arizona has been set at $13.85 per hour for the year 2023. This is an increase from the previous year's $12.80 per hour, reflecting a significant jump of $1.05 or 8.2%. This adjustment is linked to the rise in the Consumer Price Index as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, specifically considering the inflation rate from August 2021 to August 2022. This new wage rate came into effect on January 1, 2023, and will remain valid until December 31, 2023.

What is Minimum Wage in Arizona for 2024?

The minimum wage in Arizona for 2024 is set to be $14.35 per hour. This represents a 50-cent increase from the 2023 rate of $13.85 per hour, effective from January 1, 2024​​​​​​​​.

Is 32 Hours Full Time in Arizona?

In Arizona, full-time employment typically means working at least 40 hours per week. However, under the Affordable Care Act, employees working an average of 30 hours a week may be eligible for health insurance benefits. Despite this, a 32-hour workweek is generally not classified as full-time in Arizona, as it falls below the standard 40-hour threshold, although there are some industry-specific or employer-based exceptions.

Disclaimer: This blog provides information on Arizona’s minimum wage for informational purposes only, not as legal advice. While efforts are made to keep content current and accurate, no guarantees are made regarding its completeness or reliability. Readers should consult a legal professional for specific advice on minimum wage laws, as this content is not a substitute for legal consultation.


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