Nevada Labor Commissioner Issues Paid Leave Guidance on COVID-19

The Office of the Nevada Labor Commissioner has issued formal guidance regarding employees’ rights to use—and employers’ obligations to provide—mandatory paid leave in light of COVID-19.  Specifically, the guidance addresses whether employers may require employees to use any paid leave hours they may have accrued under Nevada's recently enacted paid leave law (Senate Bill No. 312) if they are unable to report for work as a result of a mandatory government quarantine. 

The Commissioner advises that employers must not deduct hours from an employee’s paid leave balance if the employee misses work because of a “mandatory government quarantine by a state, federal, or local agency” for potential exposure to COVID-19.  The guidance explains that since “employees may not be accruing any type of leave or pay while under a mandatory government quarantine situation, this type of separation and/or leave from employment should not be counted against them.”  However, if the employee chooses to use any available paid leave hours while subject to mandatory quarantine, the employer should grant the request in accordance with the requirements of the paid leave law. 

The Commissioner further advises that employers are “encouraged” to offer employees payment for work time missed during a quarantine without deducting from their paid leave balance, or to offer alternative working arrangements such as telework.  However, the guidance makes clear that employers are not “required” to take these steps.  The Commissioner further explains that it is “recommended that employers with fewer than 50 employees also follow this guidance as needed,” notwithstanding that these employers ordinarily are not subject to state’s mandatory paid leave law.

Notably, the Commissioner’s guidance does not directly address what employers should do if their employees miss work as a result of a government-mandated closure of the employer’s business.  On March 17, 2020, Governor Sisolak ordered the closure of all nonessential businesses in the Nevada.  Employers with questions regarding the proper administration of their paid leave policies in light of these developments are encouraged to seek the advice of employment counsel.

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.