NFIB expects the return of some costly proposals it helped defeat last session
The Nevada Legislature meets in regular session only in odd-numbered years. Although any issue can crop up at any time, NFIB is expecting the return of some bad-for-small-business proposals when the 80th Nevada Legislature convenes for business in February 2019.
Protecting Entry-Level Wage Opportunities for Nevada’s Youth
The minimum wage is earned by just 2.7 percent of the nation’s workers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and most of them “tend to be young. Although workers under age 25 represented only about one-fifth of hourly paid workers, they made up about half of those paid the federal minimum wage or less. Among employed teenagers (ages 16 to 19) paid by the hour, about 10 percent earned the minimum wage or less, compared with about 2 percent of workers age 25 and older.”
Last session, NFIB helped defeat a proposal (Senate Bill 106) to increase the state’s minimum-wage rate primarily by reminding legislators of the punishing effects raising rates has on teens and young adults starting out their work lives and by pointing out to lawmakers that no credible study shows increasing minimum-wage rates correlating to lifting anyone out of poverty. Still, NFIB expects other attempts to boost the rate to surface in the 2019 session.
Safeguarding Employee-Employer Paid Leave Agreements
The vast majority of businesses already offer paid or unpaid time off for a variety of reasons, such as for sickness, care for a family member, a victim of domestic violence, and other reasons (see infographic here). Also, the federal Family and Medical Leave Act provides certain employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year. It also requires that their group health benefits be maintained during the leave.
Last session, Senate Bill 196 would have required that any business with 25 or more employees to give workers at least 24 hours of paid leave a year. In lobbying for SB 196’s defeat, NFIB has pointed out that small businesses know their employees on a more personal level, and most offer paid time off on a case-by-case basis, providing the employee what he or she needs in a way the business can afford. Mandatory paid leave would only impose unnecessary limitations on these businesses. Such initiatives assume one size fits all. But particularly in the small business world, what works in one company could be detrimental for the next. The rigid nature of these programs often has a negative impact on employee morale.
Another attempt to pass paid leave is expected to surface again in 2019. For more information on how devastating paid leave proposals could be, the Research Foundation of NFIB took a detailed look at a federal proposal, using sophisticated BSIM modeling (Business Size Insight Module). It can be read here.
Preventing Equal Pay From Turning Into More Pay for Lawyers Scheme
NFIB strongly supports equal employment opportunity and appropriate enforcement of the federal Equal Pay Act, which protects all employees, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Federal and state law already prohibit gender discrimination, including workplace compensation and benefits, but so-called “equal pay” legislation proposed in states are typically little more than increased penalties for behavior that is already against the law. While increasing penalties may enrich a few attorneys who file questionable lawsuits against numerous small-business owners who don’t have the resources to fight frivolous cases in court, they will do little or nothing to improve wages for women. Last session, NFIB/Nevada succeeded in modifying Assembly Bill 423 and Senate Bill 343 to make a survey, to be conducted by state government, mandatory for small-business owners to take into a voluntary one. NFIB will carefully monitor all legislation regarding this matter and oppose proposals that do nothing more than unfairly punish small businesses.