State employees vacation bill passed

Lawmakers passed a bill April 12 that ensures state employees are compensated for unused vacation time.

Under LB830, introduced by Omaha Sen. Burke Harr, a state agency that denies an employee’s reasonable request to use vacation leave before it is forfeited under the “use it or lose it” policy must pay the employee the cash equivalent of the forfeited leave that was denied.

The employing agency has discretion in approving or denying vacation requests. The length of vacation leave requested, the number of days left before forfeiture and the prior notice given to management all are considered in determining what is and is not a reasonable request. These provisions also require that any cash payment for forfeited vacation leave be paid by the state agency within 30 days after the requested and denied leave is forfeited.

Employees of the Legislature and the court systems are exempt from the bill’s provisions.

Under the bill, cash payments made are considered compensation in state employees’ defined contribution and cash benefit plans but are not considered compensation for state employees’ defined benefit plans. Currently only judges, state patrol and public school employees have defined benefit retirement plans.

LB830 also incorporates provisions of LB972, another bill introduced by Harr. These provisions add major, nontenured policymaking positions under the definition of employment under the Employment Security Law, making them eligible for compensation under LB830.

The bill passed on a 48-0 vote.

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