Nevada Expands Sick Leave to Include “Kin Care”

Employers in the Silver State that provide paid or unpaid sick leave must allow employees to use a portion of that leave for the care of immediate family.

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Young daughter supporting sick mother lying in hospital bed

Nevada employers that provide sick leave — whether paid or unpaid — to employees must allow the workers to use their leave to cover absences because of an injury, illness, or medical appointment for the worker’s immediate family starting October 1.

The new law covers all private employers and applies to employees in Nevada. However, the state statute doesn’t cover employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement.

Immediate family is defined as an employee’s child, foster child, spouse, domestic partner, sibling, parent, mother-in-law, father-in-law, grandchild, grandparent, or stepparent or any person over whom the employee is a legal guardian.

Nevada employers that provide sick leave — whether paid or unpaid — to employees must allow the workers to use their leave to cover absences because of an injury, illness, or medical appointment for the worker’s immediate family starting October 1.

Employer requirements and penalties

Employers are allowed to limit the amount of sick leave that an employee can use to an amount which is equal to the amount of sick leave that the employee accrues during a 6-month period.

Employers cannot retaliate against employees for using their sick leave benefits under the new state law.

There is a posting requirement. Employers must post a bulletin that “clearly” explains the new law in a conspicuous workplace location maintained by the employer.

The state law does not extend the amount of leave to which an employee is entitled under the Family and Medical Leave Act nor does it forbid or preempt an agreement to provide more generous sick leave benefits or paid time off.

Violations of the law are misdemeanors and subject to a $5,000 administrative penalty.

Employers must post a bulletin that “clearly” explains the new law in a conspicuous workplace location maintained by the employer.

State lawmakers noted in the bill that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has determined that “flexible workplace policies enhance employee productivity, reduce absenteeism, lower costs, aid in retention and recruitment of the best talent and may positively affect profits.”

The politicians also mentioned in the bill’s text that 348,000 Nevada family caregivers provided more than 324,000,000 hours of unpaid care in 2013, estimated to be worth more than $4.27 billion while a 2015 survey of registered voters in Nevada revealed that more than 58% of family caregivers in Nevada were employed full-time or part-time while providing care.

Paid leave for COVID-19 vaccinations

Nevada also amended its existing paid leave law this summer to require employers to provide additional paid leave to their employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. The law, which went into effect immediately upon the governor’s signing in June 2021, requires that private employers with at least 50 employees provide 2 hours of paid leave for one dose of vaccine. For vaccines that require 2 shots, employers must provide 2 consecutive hours of leave for each workplace absence, for a total of 4 hours of leave. The requirement expires December 31, 2023.

The law does not exempt seasonal, on-call and temporary employees from coverage, nor does it exempt employers that already provide the minimum paid leave required by the state, according to Wendy Medura Krincek and Neil C. Baker, attorneys at Littler Mendelsohn.

Employers that provide a paid clinic on their premises are exempt from the requirement as are employers within the first 2 years of operation.

The attorneys also noted that the law does not specify the rate at which vaccination leave should be paid.

Employers can not retaliate against workers for taking advantage of the paid vaccine leave requirement.

Paid leave for any reason

Both the expansion for kin care and the paid leave vaccine requirement expands the paid leave already required under Silver State law. Nevada became the second state to mandate that some employers must provide paid leave for any reason with a law that went into effect January 1, 2020. Private employers with 50 or more employees in the state are required to provide 40 hours of paid leave for any reason to employees who work 40 hours a week. However, new employers are not required to comply with the law during the first 2 years of operation.

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