Nevada’s minimum wage going up to $12 an hour on July 1; two-tier system is out 

This increase comes after the passage of AB456, which increased the minimum wage by 75 cents annually over a five-year period.
Kelsea Frobes
Kelsea Frobes
EconomyIndy ExplainersLegislature

Before Nevada voters passed Question 2 in 2022, Nevada operated under a two-tier minimum wage system that allowed an employee to be paid a lower minimum wage if an employer offered qualified health benefits.  

But because of the constitutional amendment — and a multiyear effort to raise the minimum wage that was approved in the 2019 legislative session — Nevadans will make no less than $12 an hour starting July 1. That’s up from the previous minimum wage of $11.25 an hour, or $10.25 an hour if an employer offered qualifying health benefits.

The new law taking effect Monday was the product of arguments that Nevada's workers should not be penalized with a lower minimum wage because their employers offered certain health benefits.

Critics had argued the change could harm employers by removing an incentive that encouraged them to offer certain health benefits to their employees in exchange for lowering the employees' hourly wage. 

The ballot question passed by a 10-point vote margin.

The state's minimum wage will increase to match the federal minimum wage if the federal minimum wage rises above $12 per hour. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour and has remained unchanged since 2009.

The ballot measure also will eliminate the current method of making cost-of-living adjustments. Annual cost of living adjustments are capped, and according to proponents, “have never kept up with the true cost of living for Nevada's workers.”  

Bryan Wachter, Director of Public and Government Affairs for the Retail Association of Nevada (RAN) said RAN hears often that for many people, the minimum wage is “not something you can adequately live on here in Nevada.”

Also starting July 1, employees working more than 40 hours in one week who earn $18 per hour or more will be eligible for overtime pay at 1.5 times their regular rate.

Employees working more than eight hours in a 24-hour period or who are working over 40 hours in one week earning less than $18 per hour will also be eligible for overtime at 1.5 times their regular rate of pay starting July 1.

Those exempt by law including an employee under the age of 18, an employee employed by a nonprofit for after-school or summer employment, an employee employed as a trainee for 90 days or less or as an employee employed under a valid collective bargaining agreement do not qualify for the minimum wage increase.

Wachter said because of the many variables, it would be hard to calculate the financial impact of the increase on employers or on the state, but this increase is “very important to those workers who are going to see that increase.”


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