CARSON CITY — Nevada lawmakers are considering a bill that would require some employers to offer a week’s worth of paid time off to workers.
Senate Bill 312, sponsored by 10 Senate Democrats, would require private employers with at least 50 workers to provide a minimum of 40 hours of paid time off per year to their workers starting Jan. 1, 2020.
The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Joyce Woodhouse, D-Henderson, said it would allow workers not to feel pressured to go to work sick for fear of missing a day’s pay, as well as have the ability to take time off to care for sick children and other family members if needed.
“Too many families still do not have access to this basic workplace standard,” Woodhouse told lawmakers on the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee on Thursday.
The idea of mandating that employers offer paid time off is relatively new. Connecticut was the first state to enact laws requiring paid sick leave for workers in the private sector, in 2011. Since then several other states, including California, Arizona and Oregon, have placed such laws on the books.
No one testified against the bill. Lawmakers unanimously voted it out of committee after the hearing, and the bill now heads to the Senate floor for a vote.
Under SB 312, employers would be able to cap the amount of paid sick leave an employee could use in a single year at 40 hours.
Not all workers would be covered by the bill, as companies would not be required to offer paid time off to seasonal and temporary workers.
The bill was amended from its original version, which called for paid sick time based on the number of hours an employee worked; the final version sets the minimum time at 40 hours. The amendment also changed the threshold for the requirement, from 25 employees to 50.
Those changes were enough to get business groups like the Reno Sparks Chamber of Commerce, the Nevada Retail Association and others to support the measure.
“Our chamber understands the needs for employees to have paid time off, whether it is to care for an ill family member or to have time off to personally recharge,” said Ann Silver, president and CEO of the Reno Sparks Chamber of Commerce.