In Nebraska, employers are not required to provide employees with vacation benefits, either paid or unpaid. If an employer chooses to provide such benefits, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract. See Roseland v. Strategic Staff Management, Inc., 272 Neb. 434, 722 N.W.2d 499 (Neb. Sup. Ct. 2006).
In Nebraska, an employer can require employees to meet certain requirements before they can earn vacation leave. However, once employees earn vacation leave according to an employer’s policy or contract, an employer cannot deny payment for such vacation leave upon separation from employment, regardless of the reason. See NE Statute 48-1229(4); Roseland v. Strategic Staff Management, Inc., 272 Neb. 434, 722 N.W.2d 499 (Neb. Sup. Ct. 2006).
An employer may lawfully cap the number of vacation leave hours an employee can accrue.
An employer cannot implement a “use it or lose it” vacation policy requiring employees to use their earned vacation leave by a set date or lose it. See NE Statute 48-1229(4); Roseland v. Strategic Staff Management, Inc., 272 Neb. 434, 722 N.W.2d 499 (Neb. Sup. Ct. 2006).
Nebraska law does not require employers to provide employees with sick leave benefits, either paid or unpaid. If an employer chooses to provide sick leave benefits, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract. An employer does not need to pay an employee for accrued sick leave upon separation from employment unless required by policy or contract.
An employer in Nebraska may be required to provide an employee unpaid sick leave in accordance with the Family and Medical Leave Act or other federal laws.
Nebraska law does not require private employers to provide employees with either paid or unpaid holiday leave. In Nebraska, a private employer can require an employee to work holidays. A private employer does not have to pay an employee premium pay, such as 1½ times the regular rate, for working on holidays, unless such time worked qualifies the employee for overtime under standard overtime laws. If an employer chooses to provide either paid or unpaid holiday leave, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract.
Visit our Nebraska State Holidays page for a list of holidays recognized and observed by the state of Nebraska as well as information regarding state laws governing holiday leave for public employers and employees.
Jury Duty Leave
An employer must pay an employee for time the employee is excused from shift work while serving on a jury, except an employer may reduce the pay of an employee by an amount equal to any compensation, other than expenses, paid the employee by the court for jury duty.
An employer may not subject an employee to discharge from employment, loss of pay, loss of sick leave, loss of vacation time, or any other form of penalty, as a result of his or her absence from employment due to jury duty, so long as the employee has provided reasonable notice to his or her employer of the jury summons.
Nebraska law allows employees who do not have two (2) consecutive hours when not required to be at work during polling hours are entitled to up to two (2) paid hours leave to vote. Pay cannot be deducted if the employee gives notice in advance of election day. The employer can set the time for leave to vote.
Nebraska law does not require employers to provide employees bereavement leave or leave to attend funerals. Bereavement leave is leave that is taken by an employee due to the death of another individual, usually a close relative. Employers may choose to provide bereavement leave and may be required to comply with any bereavement policy or practice they maintain.
Family and Medical Leave
Employers in Nebraska must follow the federal guidelines laid out by the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
Under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), employees will receive 12 weeks of unpaid leave within 12 months. This amount of leave will renew every 12 months if employees continue to meet the eligibility requirements.
These requirements include:
- Employees must have worked for an employer for a minimum of 12 months
- Employees must have worked a minimum of 1250 hours the previous year
- Employees must work at a location with 50+ employees within a 75-mile radius
There are multiple reasons why you may want to consider taking time off through the FMLA. With the Family Medical Leave Act, employees can receive time off for the following instances:
- Caring for an ailing family member
- Caring for an ailing or injured military family member
- Recuperating from an existing medical ailment
- Bonding with a child
Employees who require time off under the FMLA to care for an ailing or injured military family member receive an additional leave.
Compared to the original 12 weeks, employees will receive 26 weeks of unpaid leave within 12 months. This time off is available per injury and family member.
Military members in Nebraska are entitled to the same benefits that the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) offers, including:
- Employees have the right to continue group healthcare benefits for 24 months of their leave
- Upon return, employees must be reinstated to the same (or equivalent) previously held position
- Employees must receive up to five years of unpaid leave for military service (with exceptions)
One other type of leave that falls within military leave is Nebraska’s military family leave laws.
With these regulations, employers with at least 15 employees must provide unpaid time off to parents or spouses of military members. These military members must be called to service within 179 days either by the state, the United States, or the president.
To be eligible for this type of leave, you must meet the same qualifications as receiving FMLA. Additionally, these employees are eligible to receive this leave at any point in time that the deployment orders are in effect.
As mentioned, upon returning to employment after active duty, employers must offer the same or equivalent position to employees.
As an employee serving in the military, you must provide your employer with reasonable enlistment notice. Also, employers cannot discriminate against employees enlisted in the armed forces.