Gordon Law

Is the Government going to try to cure your employee’s sickness?

sick leave

Currently, there is a push on both the federal level and within the state of Nevada to mandate employers to provide paid sick leave to their employees. The effects of such a mandate can be difficult for smaller businesses. According to Rollcall, there is a push led by Republicans to advance such plans. Please read more here:  https://www.rollcall.com/news/congress/republicans-seeing-opportunities-suburbs-advance-paid-leave .

Within Nevada, as declared by Governor Sisolak in his State of the State address and now followed by both houses of the Legislature, there are stronger moves to mandate employers to provide paid sick leave and criminalize action to the contrary. The first bill coming from the Assembly is less oppressive. Essentially, it states that if an employer already has a s sick leave policy, the employer must allow employees to utilize the benefit to care for an immediate family member’s medical needs. This does not mandate an employer to create such a policy. However, if there is a policy and the employer does not allow the employee to use it to care for a family member (the definitions of family member are concerning), then the employer is guilty of a misdemeanor and can be fined up to $5,000 for each violation.

The bill that is expected to come from the Senate is based upon a 2017 bill which was vetoed. That bill forced employers to provide paid sick leave at the rate of at least one hour for every 40 hours worked up to a total of 80 accrued hours. Under the bill, the employer would have to collect and maintain private information from the employee concerning his/her medical condition—a violation of federal law. Just as with the Assembly bill, an employer who did not properly follow the mandate would be guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to a fine of up to $5,000 per violation.

For smaller businesses, the effect of these proposed laws is disproportionate to larger businesses. First, larger businesses frequently already have a paid time off policy. Second, in larger businesses, the greater number of employees ensures that the work of the business can be accomplished while one or more employees takes time off. Under any circumstance, the criminalization and enormous potential fines will be very concerning for any business.

As many of you know, I am the Chairwoman of the Henderson Chamber of Commerce’s Legislative Committee. I recently traveled to Carson City to express the concerns that businesses have with these bills. I will continue to advocate for the voices of business to be heard on this front.

In the event that these bills pass (which in some form is very likely), what will you need to do? If you have a policy that is broader than what the government mandates, you will not have to do anything but enforce your policy  However, you should ensure that your policy is compliant. If you don’t have a policy, or if you have one that is not as broad as the government mandate, then you will have to be certain to immediately implement all of the requirements or face criminal prosecution and/or extraordinary fines.  Under any circumstance, Gordon Law will continue to be a resource for you to help you ensure compliance.

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