Nevada Enacts Paid Vaccination Leave and “Kin Care” Laws and Amends its Existing Paid Leave Law

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Following the implementation of mandatory paid leave on January 1, 2020, Nevada has again expanded workers’ leave rights with the enactment of Senate Bill No. 209 (SB 209) and Assembly Bill No. 190 (AB 190).  Under SB 209, private employers generally must provide employees with paid leave for the purpose of receiving a COVID-191 vaccine.  SB 209 also specifies some of the purposes for which paid leave may be used under the existing mandatory paid leave law.  Under AB 190, employers2 that provide paid or unpaid sick leave must allow employees to use a portion of that leave for the care of immediate family.  Governor Sisolak signed SB 209 and AB 190 into law on June 9, 2021, and May 29, 2021, respectively.

Paid Vaccination Leave

Effective immediately through December 31, 2023, private employers with 50 or more employees in Nevada must provide all employees with up to four total hours of paid leave for the purpose of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.  Employees receiving a single-dose vaccine are entitled to use only two consecutive hours of vaccination leave, while employees receiving two doses are entitled to use two consecutive hours of vaccination leave per injection.  Employers that provide a clinic on their premises where the employee can be vaccinated for COVID-19 during their regular work hours, as well as employers in their first two years of operation, are exempt from these requirements.

Employees must give notice to their employers of their intent to use vaccination leave at least 12 hours before using the leave.  However, the law does not indicate whether employers may request documentation or other information as evidence that an employee has used leave for a permissible reason.  Also noteworthy, unlike the existing mandatory paid leave law, SB 209 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 statute.  The law is also silent on the rate at which vaccination leave should be paid.

Under SB 209, employers may not deny employees the right to use vaccination leave or condition the use of leave on the finding of a replacement worker.  Employers are also prohibited from retaliating against employees for using vaccination leave in accordance with the law. 

Specifying Some Purposes for which Employees May Use Mandatory Paid Leave

In addition to creating paid leave for COVID-19 vaccination, SB 209 amends the existing mandatory paid leave law by adding that such leave is available to employees for “any” use, which may include, but is not limited to:

  • Treatment of a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition;
  • Receiving a medical diagnosis or medical care;
  • Receiving or participating in preventative care;
  • Participating in caregiving; or
  • Addressing other personal needs related to the health of the employee.

While the existing mandatory paid leave law indicates that employees can use mandatory paid leave “without providing a reason,” this amendment specifies that the reasons may include sick leave.

“Kin Care” Law

Effective October 1, 2021, AB 190 will require employers providing paid or unpaid sick leave to allow an employee to use a portion of their accrued sick leave to assist an immediate family member3 with an illness, injury, medical appointment or other authorized medical need.  Under this new “kin care” law, employers may limit the amount of annual kin care leave to the amount of sick leave that the employee accrues during a six-month period.

Employers must permit the use of accrued sick leave for kin care purposes “to the same extent and under the same conditions that apply to the employee when taking such leave.”  Employers may not deny employees the right to use kin care leave or retaliate against them for exercising their right to do so.

Notably, AB 190 expressly provides that its provisions do not apply to an employee who is covered under a valid collective bargaining agreement.

Posting and Recordkeeping Requirements

Both SB 209 and AB 190 direct the Office of the Nevada Labor Commissioner to prepare a bulletin concerning the laws’ respective provisions.  Covered employers must post these bulletins in a conspicuous location in each workplace.

In addition to the required posting, SB 209 requires employers to maintain a record of employees’ receipt or accrual and use of vaccination leave for a period of one year.  It also provides that employers must make those records available for inspection on request from the labor commissioner’s office.  While AB 190 does not contain an express recordkeeping requirement, employers may wish to maintain internal records of sick leave as a recommended practice.

Enforcement

Like the mandatory paid leave law that took effect in 2020, AB 190 expressly amends section 608.180 of the Nevada Revised Statutes to empower the labor commissioner to enforce its provisions, as well as to refer alleged violations to a district attorney or the attorney general for prosecution.  Similarly, like the existing mandatory paid leave law, AB 190 amends section 608.195 to provide that violators are guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to an administrative penalty of not more than $5,000 for each violation.  On the other hand, SB 209 does not expressly grant enforcement powers to the labor commissioner, the attorney general, or any other agency or official.  For the time being, the significance of this point is not entirely clear.  Finally, neither AB 190 nor SB 209 expressly provides employees with a private right of action.

 

Footnotes

1 The law defines “COVID-19” as the “novel coronavirus identified as SARS-CoV-2,” any “mutation or variant of the novel coronavirus identified as SARS-CoV-2,” or a “disease or health condition caused by the novel coronavirus identified a SARS-CoV-2.”

2 Unlike SB 209, AB 190 does not expressly state that its leave requirements apply only to private employers.  However, the Office of the Nevada Labor Commissioner has long taken the position that Chapter 608 of the Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) does not apply to public-sector employers.  See Advisory Opinion 2013-01Dep’t of Business & Industry, Office of the Labor Comm’r (May 7, 2013).  Because the effect of AB 190 is to amend NRS Chapter 608, presumably its requirements do not apply outside the private sector.

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

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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