Nevada Hits Businesses with Wave of New Employment Laws

July 9, 2019 Advisory

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak signed a series of new employment laws in June that will begin impacting Nevada employers next year. These new laws address a wide variety of subjects:

  • Paid Leave Mandate (S.B. 312). Employers with more than 50 employees in Nevada must provide employees paid leave beginning on Jan. 1, 2020.
    • Employees will accrue at least 0.019230 hours of paid leave for every hour of work performed.
    • Paid leave carries over from one year to the next, but employers can cap the amount of carried-over leave at 40 hours.
    • Covered private sector employers must allow employees to use paid leave beginning on the 90th calendar day of employment, and an employee need not give a reason for using paid leave.
    • Employers should proceed carefully when calculating the pay rate that applies to an employee’s paid leave. For employees earning salary, commission, piece rate or any method other than an hourly wage, paid leave is calculated by dividing the employee’s total wages (except bonuses awarded at the employer’s sole discretion, overtime pay, hazard pay, holiday pay and tips) for the 90-day period preceding the leave by the employee’s hours worked during that period.
    • If a former employee is rehired within 90 days of the separation, the employee’s accrued, unused paid leave at separation must be reinstated upon rehire. This requirement, however, does not apply to employees who have voluntarily resigned.
    • Employers must maintain records of paid leave accrual and use.
    • Employers cannot retaliate against employees who use paid leave, require employees to find a replacement when using paid leave, or deny an employee’s request to use paid leave. The prohibition of denying paid leave use raises troubling questions—especially for small employers—facing numerous leave requests for the same day or leave requests from key employees on dates that are critically important to business operations.
    • The new law, however, allows employers to opt out of the statute’s coverage by providing paid leave or paid time off “to all scheduled employees at a rate of at least 0.01923 hours of paid leave per hour of worked performed.”
    • Violation of the law can result in an administrative penalty of up to $5,000 for each violation and/or a misdemeanor.
  • $12 Minimum Wage (A.B. 456).Employers will face a rising state minimum wage, increasing by 75 cents per year until it eventually reaches $12 per hour in 2024.
    • Starting on July 1, 2020, the Nevada minimum wage will rise to $8 per hour for employers offering compliant health insurance and $9 per hour for employers that do not provide compliant health insurance.
    • After July 1, 2020, the minimum wage will increase by 75 cents annually until reaching $12 per hour without health insurance (or $11 with health insurance) on July 1, 2024.
  • Marijuana Testing Restrictions (A.B. 132).Effective Jan. 1, 2020, employers will be prohibited from rejecting job candidates who test positive for marijuana, subject to certain exemptions.
    • This law will not apply to applicants for jobs as a firefighter or emergency medical technician (EMT), or for a job that the employer determines “could adversely affect the safety of others.”
    • Marijuana testing and employment-determinative consequences for testing positive will be permitted where the job requires operating a motor vehicle and federal law requires drug testing (such as truck drivers), or for those who are required to submit to drug tests per employment contracts or collective bargaining agreements.
    • Employers will be required to accept and give appropriate consideration to results of second drug screening paid for by an employee if the employer requires the employee to submit to a drug test in first 30 days of employment.

These statutes are part of a wave of employee-friendly laws being enacted at the state and municipal levels across the country in recent months. Armstrong Teasdale’s Employment and Labor practice closely monitors developments in this area of the law and will issue additional alerts as the obligations of employers continue to evolve.