The 104th Nebraska Legislature ended April 20, 2016, with some very important victories for small business.
From the 2016 half
Won Change in Health-Care Coverage
NFIB lobbied for the successful passage of Legislative Bill 817, which now allows small businesses to contract with a primary care physician and pay a manageable monthly fee to provide primary care services to employees. Supplemented with a wrap-around insurance policy for catastrophic coverage, these contacts are estimated to result in cost savings of 12 percent to 15 percent for small businesses.
Defeated Three Costly Proposals
- Minimum Wage Increase/Tipped Employees–Legislative Bill 1089 would have increased the state minimum wage rate for tipped employees from the current rate of $2.13 per hour to $3.60 per hour on August 1, 2016, and to $4.50 per hour on January 1, 2017.
- Paid Sick Leave–Legislative Bill 493 would have required employers to provide paid sick leave to full-time employees on the basis of one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 40 hours annually.
- Paid Family Medical Leave Insurance Act–Legislative Bill 850 would have required employers to pay employees all other benefits during the leave of absence and to allow employees to return to their jobs after exercising their right to family medical leave.
From the 2015 half
- reduce the interest rate currently applicable to awards of WC benefits on appeal from 14 percent to approximately 8 percent
- reinstate the defense of employee misrepresentation to allow employers to avoid having to pay benefits resulting from an injury or condition relating to misrepresentations given by the employee when applying for a position with the employer
- clarify that the prohibition against “balance billing” an employee for medical expenses in excess of the workers’ compensation fee schedule extends to finance charges and late penalties
- authorize trust funds required to be established under the Workers’ Compensation Act to be invested in the same manner authorized for corporate trustees holding retirement or pension plans for the benefit of current or former employees of political subdivisions.