Nebraska Leave Laws

May 6th 2024

Leave laws in Nebraska are designed to support the health and well-being of employees. This article discusses both state and federal leave policies in Nebraska, detailing the various leave options employees can access. It distinguishes between required and non-required leave, and the distinct rules and conditions for public and private sector workers.

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Nebraska Required Leave
Nebraska Non-Required Leave

Nebraska Required Leave

Employers in Nebraska are legally required to provide employees with certain types of leave. The types of mandatory leave include:

1. Family and Medical Leave

  • Eligibility: To be eligible for family and medical leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), an employee must have worked for the same employer for at least 12 months and completed at least 1,250 hours within that timeframe.
  • Duration: Up to 12 weeks per year.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: Reasons may include giving birth, caring for a newborn, adopting or fostering a child, having an incapacitating health condition, or caring for a family member with a serious health condition.
  • Pay: Employers in Nebraska are not required to pay employees on family and medical leave.

2. Sick Leave (Public Employers)

  • Eligibility: Only public employees are entitled to sick leave. Temporary employees are not eligible for this type of leave. 
  • Duration: The amount of sick leave earned by each employee is based on the employee’s years of continuous service.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: Employees may take time off to attend to their health. Circumstances may include sickness (particularly if the employee’s presence at work would jeopardize the health of others), disability or injury. Employees can also take sick leave for medical, psychological, surgical, dental or optical treatment. 
  • Pay: By law, public employers must pay employees on sick leave.

3. Bereavement Leave (Public Employers)

  • Eligibility: Public employers in Nebraska must provide bereavement leave.
  • Duration: 1 day or, if the deceased was an immediate family member, 5 days of bereavement leave. 
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: State employees are permitted to take time off to grieve the loss of a loved one, make arrangements, and attend funeral services.

4. Jury Duty Leave

  • Eligibility: All employees in Nebraska who are summoned for jury duty are entitled to take leave for the duration of their jury service.
  • Duration: The scheduled and expected duration of the jury service.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: Employees must use this leave specifically for fulfilling jury duty obligations.

5. Voting Time Leave

  • Eligibility: All employees in Nebraska who are registered to vote are eligible for voting time leave if there is insufficient time outside of working hours to vote. However, they must submit a request to their employer two days in advance. 
  • Duration: Up to 2 hours of leave is provided to allow sufficient time for voting.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: Employees who don’t have time to vote during their shift may request two hours’ leave. 
  • Pay: Employees on voting leave are entitled to receive their normal rate of pay, ensuring no financial penalty for fulfilling their civic duty.

6. Military Leave

  • Eligibility: State employees called to active duty are entitled to military leave. In addition, private sector employers with at least 15 employees must provide military leave to employees who are spouses or parents of a service member called to active duty for at least 179 days. To qualify, employees must have worked for their employer for at least 12 months and accumulated at least 1,250 work hours during that period.
  • Duration: The duration of military leave depends on whether the employee themselves is on active duty or if it is a family member.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: Employees may use military leave to serve on active duty or to handle practical needs such as childcare arrangements, financial obligations, and other familial responsibilities while a family member is deployed in military service. 
  • Pay: The first 120 hours of leave are paid if the employee is on active duty. If an employee’s family member is on active duty, employers with 15-49 workers must provide a maximum of 15 paid days off, while those with 50 or more employees must provide up to 30 days of paid leave. Under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), service members who return to their previous job within 5 years must be reinstated to a similar position, and cannot suffer a loss of any seniority advancements that they may have earned prior to their deployment.

7. Vacation Leave (Public Employers)

  • Eligibility: Only permanent state employees are eligible for vacation leave.
  • Duration: Vacation leave accumulates based on years of continuous service and is credited at the end of each pay period. Employees can carry over a maximum of 40 hours, subject to approval, and must use or forfeit excess vacation days by year-end unless special extensions are granted.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: Vacation leave can be used for general time off and in specific situations, such as sickness or family/medical leave when approved. It requires prior application, unless used as sick leave or during unpaid leave.
  • Pay: Vacation leave is paid, and accumulated leave is payable upon termination, retirement, or death.

8. Holiday Leave (Public Employers)

  • Eligibility: All full-time state employees are entitled to holiday leave. Temporary employees, whether full time or part time, are not eligible for holiday leave.
  • Duration: The duration of a public holiday. 
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: Officially declared public holidays. 
  • Pay: As per state law, public employers in Nebraska are obligated to offer paid holiday leave. 

The following are the official federal holidays observed in the US:

State Official Holidays Date
New Year’s Day 1 January
Martin Luther King Jr. Civil Rights Day Third Monday in January
Washington’s Birthday Third Monday in February
Memorial Day Last Monday in May
Independence Day 4 July
Labor Day First Monday in September
Columbus Day Second Monday in October
Election Day Every other year
Veterans Day 11 November
Thanksgiving Day Fourth Thursday in November
Christmas Day 25 December

If you want to know more about the rights of employees in Nebraska, you can read our guides on Your rights as a salaried employee in Nebraska, and Your rights as an hourly employee in Nebraska. You can also learn more about Nebraska Labor Laws through our detailed guide.

Nebraska Non-Required Leave

Unless specified in the employment contract, Nebraska law does not require employers to provide the following types of leave to their employees:

1. Emergency Response Leave

Private sector employees who choose to volunteer in emergency response are not entitled to leave by law. However, state law protects registered volunteers of government-approved agencies from being fired for attending to emergencies. It’s important to note, though, that employers are not required to pay employees while they’re absent.

Important Cautionary Note

This content is provided for informational purposes only. While we make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information presented, we cannot guarantee that it is free of errors or omissions. Users are advised to independently verify any critical information and should not solely rely on the content provided.