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Legislature eyes business incentives for paid family leave

2013 Legislative Session Day 2 - Extras

Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Assemblywoman Dina Neal takes part in a meeting of the Government Affairs Committee on the second day of the 2013 legislative session Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013 in Carson City.

Nevada lawmakers are considering a tax incentive for employers that choose to pay workers on family medical leave.

The Assembly Committee on Taxation is sponsoring a measure creating tax breaks for businesses that pay workers who take leave because of a serious illness or because they become parents, among other situations.

Assemblywoman Dina Neal, D-Las Vegas, presented the bill to taxation committee members Thursday, saying data from other states shows new mothers make most bonding claims.

Neal said several parts of the proposal mirror the federal Family Medical Leave Act, which protects workers’ jobs and unpaid time off.

The bill gives certain businesses a credit against the modified business tax or the commerce tax. Assemblywoman Lesley Cohen, D-Henderson, asked about including domestic partners in the bill, and Neal said that would make sense.

Assembly Bill 266 caps the deduction at $500 per week per employee for 12 weeks in a year. Business would have to offer employees at least 75 percent of their wages, among other requirements.

Assemblyman Keith Pickard, R-Carson City, said there are some union jobs that pay upward of $20 per hour and asked if the limits in the bill would fail to encourage those employers to offer paid family medical leave.

Neal said those amounts could be discussed but that paid leave isn’t meant to take the full effect of a paycheck.

“We are talking about workforce,” she said. “We want to be supportive, but we don’t want to be less productive in our business.”

If the bill passes, it would go into effect Jan. 1.

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