Las Vegas Sun

December 6, 2019

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Activists make a case for paid sick leave in Carson City


Time to Care Nevada

Activists visited Carson City Monday, Feb. 18, 2019, to speak with legislators about possible action on paid sick leave.

Lupe Guzmán’s voice is raspy.

A single mother of six, Guzmán has a throat issue that’s causing her to lose her voice. A Carl’s Jr. employee — she’s a manager on the graveyard shift — Guzmán said she has been unable to take off to deal with the issue due to a lack of paid sick days.

There’s a push in Carson City to change that. Activists with Time to Care Nevada traveled to the Capitol on Monday to speak with legislators about possible action on paid sick leave.

Natalie Hernandez, campaign manager for Time to Care Nevada, said the group’s push worked, and they expect legislation to be introduced within a few weeks.

The group is seeking legislation that would give workers one hour of sick leave for every 26 hours worked. This would give a worker who puts in 40 hours per week 10 paid sick days a year. The proposal would kick in after 60 days on the job.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 10 states — including Washington, Arizona and California — have implemented some sort of paid sick leave laws. Nevada employers are not required to offer paid sick leave.

Hernandez said there has been support from lawmakers on the issue, which she said overwhelmingly affects professions such as retail or fast food.

This legislation, if brought forward, would not be the only sick leave-related bill proposed this session. A bill currently referred to the Committee on Commerce and Labor would allow employees to use sick leave if a member of their immediate family was sick — an issue that Guzmán referred to when speaking about her struggles.

“You know how hard it is raising six kids on your own?,” said Guzman, who is also a brain cancer survivor. “When my kids get sick, I have to be there for them.”

The issue is a stressful one for her — she said she’s at the Capitol “begging” for a bill to go through.

“I’m here for my kids,” she said. “I have to go to work.”