In recent years, there has been a growing recognition of the importance of paid sick leave and paid time off (PTO) as essential components of employee compensation. In the United States, while there is no federal law mandating paid sick leave, several states and municipalities have enacted their own regulations to ensure workers have access to these benefits. In the state of Nebraska, compensation with sick and paid days off varies depending on the employer’s policies and practices and possible collective bargaining agreements. It’s important to seek legal counsel whenever there are significant changes in labor and employment laws, or regulations at the federal, state, or local levels. This could include changes in minimum wage laws, overtime regulations, anti-discrimination laws, etc. One important potential new employment law is the Paid Sick Leave initiative that Nebraska is considering. This will likely appear on the ballot on November 5, 2024. The labor and employment attorneys of Adams & Sullivan will proactively counsel its clients whenever new employment law and labor regulations arise such as this one. Now, let’s delve into what compensation with sick and paid days off typically looks like in Nebraska.

Paid Sick Leave Laws in Nebraska

Nebraska does not have a statewide law requiring employers to provide paid sick leave to employees. However, there could be already established collective bargaining agreements that would establish the agreed and required paid leave policies. Such policies would include how employees are eligible to earn paid time off and or sick time as well as the process for an employee to use said paid time off.   The accrual of sick time may be different than vacation time, therefore, when an employee does not have the appropriate bank of sick time available, those days missed due to illness could potentially be unpaid.  Some employers may allow for use of vacation time in addition to sick leave, but again, if all banks are empty, then the employee takes that time away as unpaid.  Making sure employees are well educated on how to earn and how to use their time is exceptionally beneficial in promoting a positive and fair work environment.  Also having set procedures and process for earning and using the paid time off helps eliminate any conflicts and confusion on the part of the employee.

Paid Time Off (PTO) Policies

Many employers in Nebraska offer paid time off (PTO) benefits, such as sick leave, vacation time, and personal days. PTO policies vary widely among employers in terms of accrual rates, eligibility criteria, and usage restrictions. Some employers may provide a set number of PTO days annually, while others may use a system where PTO accrues based on years of service or hours worked. An important change employers need to know is that Nebraska no longer allows a “use it or lose it” approach to leave time.  Employers can set a maximum leave time accrual and employees won’t be able to earn additional leave time until there is less than that maximum time in the employee’s leave time bank. If you need to seek legal counsel, the labor and employment attorneys of Adams & Sullivan will ensure your company remains legally compliant with labor and employment issues ranging from human resource policies to compliance with federal, state, and local laws, as well as the Nebraska Paid Sick Leave initiative currently being considered.

Compensation and Benefits Package

In Nebraska, compensation with sick and paid days off are typically part of an employee’s overall compensation and benefits package. Employers may offer competitive PTO benefits as a means of attracting and retaining talent, improving employee morale, and promoting work-life balance. For employees, having access to paid sick leave and PTO can provide financial security during times of illness, personal emergencies, or vacations.

Employer Obligations and Compliance

Employers in Nebraska that offer paid sick leave or PTO must ensure compliance with applicable contracts, laws and regulations. This includes providing eligible employees with information about their rights and entitlements regarding sick leave and PTO, accurately tracking accrued leave, and administering leave requests in a fair and consistent manner.

Negotiating Compensation and Benefits

When negotiating employment terms, job seekers in Nebraska should carefully review the prospective employer’s policies regarding sick leave, PTO, and other benefits. Understanding the details of the compensation package, including the amount of paid leave offered and any restrictions on its use, can help prospective employees make informed decisions about job offers.

While Nebraska does not have a statewide paid sick leave law, many employers in the state offer paid time off benefits as part of their compensation packages. Whether through PTO policies or contracts, employees in Nebraska may have access to paid leave for various purposes, including sick days, vacation, and personal time. Understanding employer policies, rights, and obligations regarding sick leave and PTO is essential for both employers and employees to ensure fair and equitable treatment in the workplace.

For any questions or suggestions regarding your employment issues or concerns, please contact Adams and Sullivan, and we can assist you in making your company thrive and your company culture stay positive.

These goals may be achieved by doing the following:

  •  Reviewing and drafting employee handbooks and helping to clearly define paid sick leave and paid time off (PTO) to avoid litigation
  •  Providing Human Resource training
  • Providing training to employees regarding problematic behaviors that may lead to litigation issues.
  • Preparing and negotiating employee and union contracts

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Molly Moberg Miller

Molly Moberg Miller

Ms. Miller has been an attorney since 2004 and worked ten years with Amoni Law Offices, P.C. in Aurora, Illinois prior to moving to Omaha and joining Adams & Sullivan. She was Lead Counsel in arbitrations and mediations for personal injury files, and served as Co-Counsel for a large, regional bank conducting commercial and residential foreclosure litigation, and real estate dealings. Her current practice focuses on employment law, personal injury law and litigation.