Nevada minimum wage hike to $12 becomes law; paid sick leave, collective bargaining bills also signed

CARSON CITY, Nev. — Surrounded by more than two dozen labor leaders, Gov. Steve Sisolak on Wednesday signed SB135, giving state workers collective bargaining rights.

He praised state workers saying they work every day for safer, healthier and stronger communities, providing services that sometimes can be thankless. He said many took pay cuts during the recession but, “continued to diligently serve Nevadans.”

“With SB135, state workers will finally have a seat at the table for the first time in Nevada history,” Sisolak said. “It's about respect, respect for state workers.”

Lee Saunders, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, said he came to Nevada just for the signing ceremony: “I wouldn't have missed this for the world. They finally have a seat at the table and a voice on the job.”

The bill provides state workers the right to collective bargaining for wages, benefits, working conditions and includes arbitration to resolve disputes.

But it gives lawmakers and the governor the ability to control or opt out of pay raises and other things backed by an arbitrator depending on whether there's the necessary money available.

In addition to collective bargaining, Sisolak signed SB312 requiring employers to offer their workers paid leave; and AB456 raising the minimum wage in incremental steps to $12 an hour in 2024.

SB312 guarantees "hardworking Nevadans, who work in businesses with more than 50 employees, the ability to accrue up to five days of paid time off each year to care for themselves or their loved ones," according to a statement provided by Time to Care Nevada.

“Our coalition applauds Governor Sisolak for his leadership and dedication to working families," Natalie Hernández, Time to Care Nevada's Campaign Manager, said in a statement regarding SB312's adoption. "Throughout the session, we shared stories from vibrant and diverse Nevadan families. We are proud Nevada has moved forward to respond to the life and death situations that workers without paid sick time have.”

As for AB456, incremental increases start July 1, 2020, when the state's minimum wage will rise by 75 cents, and will continue at that rate each year until it hits its $12-an-hour apex in 2024.

He also signed SB166 and SB448. The former codifies protections for equal pay in state law. The latter authorizes up to $10 million in tax credits a year for the creation and construction of affordable housing.

Along with SB448, he signed SB425 expanding the federal funding Nevada receives to assist vulnerable populations in obtaining affordable housing.


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