New Paid Sick Leave Law Enacted, Effective in 2020

On June 13, 2019, Gov. Sisolak signed SB 312 into law. The law creates new paid leave requirements for certain employers. Specifically, Nevada employers with 50 or more employees in the state will be required to provide employees with at least 0.01923 hours of paid leave for each hour worked in a benefit year, and employees can use that leave for any reason.

Under the related formula, an employee who works 40 hours per week during the year will earn approximately 40 hours of paid leave for that year. Importantly, the law does not apply to temporary, seasonal, or on-call employees, and includes exemptions for employers in their first two years of operation and employers that, pursuant to a contract, policy, or collective bargaining agreement, provide employees with paid leave or PTO benefits that meet the law’s minimum requirements.

As for benefits, employers may limit the use of paid leave to 40 hours within a benefit year, and employers can front-load paid leave (credit the total amount of paid leave at the beginning of the year) or require leave to be accrued during the course of the year. If accrual is used, employers must allow employees to carry over accrued, unused paid leave to the following year (employers can limit the carryover to 40 hours, though). If front-loading is used, employers are not required to allow such a carryover.

According to the law, employers cannot deny an employee the right to use accrued paid leave for any reason, require an employee to provide an explanation for using the paid leave, or instruct an employee to find a replacement as a condition to using paid leave. Employees, though, must provide advance notice, where possible, of the intent to take leave.

Employers will have to post a notice (which will eventually be available from the Nevada Labor Commissioner) explaining employees’ and employers’ rights and obligations under the law. Employers will also be required to maintain a record of accrual and use of paid leave for each employee for a one-year period, and must provide employees an accounting of their paid leave accrual and use each payday (through a paystub or other method).

Employers will want to work closely with payroll providers in developing appropriate tracking, recording and accrual policies and procedures. The Labor Commissioner is charged with enforcement of the law and may impose administrative penalties of up to $5,000 per violation. (Violations can include failure to provide the leave or notice or to maintain mandated records.)

The new law is effective January 1, 2020, which gives employers little time to come into compliance. The Nevada Labor Commissioner will publish regulations in the future which will hopefully provide additional clarifications and guidance. Employers will want to work with payroll providers and with outside counsel in developing appropriate leave policies, considering the new law in Nevada.

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