Workers in Nevada are generally entitled to a minimum wage rate of either $8.00 if they receive company health insurance, or $9.00 without health insurance. But Nevada’s minimum compensation laws don’t apply to certain categories of workers, including:
- taxicab and limousine drivers
- domestic servants who live in the home where they work
- certain farm workers
- certain disabled workers
Employees who are wrongly being denied proper pay may try to settle the matter privately with the employer. If that does not work, employees should consider either:
- filing a wage and hour claim with the Nevada Office of the Labor Commissioner (labor.nv.gov), and/or
- bringing a civil lawsuit for the difference between what the employer paid and what the employer owes
In this article, our Las Vegas Nevada employment law attorneys discuss:
- 1. Minimum wage laws
- 2. Exceptions
- 3. Legal actions for proper pay
See our related article on overtime pay.
Currently, Nevada’s minimum hourly rate in a workday is:
- $8.00 an hour for employees offered health insurance benefits, or
- $9.00 an hour for employees not offered health insurance benefits.1
These rates are subject to review once a year and is based on the cost of living. The Nevada Legislature in Carson City relies on the Consumer Price Index by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics when determining whether to increases the rates.2
Nevada’s minimum wage may never be lower than the federal one (currently $7.25). Any increase is always announced by April 1st of a given year and is effective July 1st of that same year.
Nevada’s rate is scheduled to increase until it reaches $12 for jobs with no health insurance and $11 for jobs with health insurance, by 2024. Despite complaints to the Nevada Department of Business about the coronavirus / covid-19 pandemic, the latest wage increase took place on July 1, 2020 as scheduled. 3
(Note that daily overtime rates are $13.50 per hour for people without health insurance and $12.00 per hour for people with health insurance. Some workers are exempt from overtime pay.)
Nevada employers may pay the lower wage rate — $8.00 an hour — as long as they offer the employee qualifying health insurance benefits. But if employees are required to work for a set period of time before they can participate in the plan, then employers must pay the higher wage rate — $9.00 an hour — until they become eligible.4
Qualifying health insurance policies that allow employers to pay the lower wage rate have to meet several standards, such as:
- The plan covers every category of medical care costs employees may lawfully deduct from their federal income tax return;
- The plan provides medical care benefits pursuant to various federal guidelines, including:
- Premiums cost a maximum of 10% of the employees’ gross taxable income;
- Employees (and any dependents) can join the plan no later than after six months of employment5
Note that employers can pay the lower wage rate even if the employee declines health care coverage. But the employer should keep any documentation showing that the employee refused coverage.6
In general, Nevada employers are obligated to pay minimum wage to employees regardless of whether they receive tips. Therefore, employees with the following types of jobs are entitled to minimum wage separate and apart from any tips they receive:
- restaurant food servers
- valet drivers
- hotel bellhops
- delivery drivers7
Employers who require employees to wear uniforms must provide the clothing — and money to clean it — at no cost to the employees.
Employers who provide meals can count those meals against an employee’s wage if the employee agrees to it. The employer can charge no more than the following prices:8
Price employer may deduct from wages in Nevada
In general, employers are permitted to pay less than minimum wage to the following ten types of employees:
- minors (under 18 years old)
- people employed by non-profit organizations for after-school or summer employment
- casual babysitters
- taxicab and limousine drivers
- domestic service employees who live in the home where they work
- outside salespeople whose earnings are commission-based
- employees engaged in an agricultural pursuit for an employer who did not use more than 500 days of agricultural labor in any calendar quarter of the preceding calendar year
- certain types of trainees (for no longer than 90 days pursuant to section 6(g) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA))
- employees who agreed to waive min. rate terms under a valid collective bargaining agreement
- Severely disabled workers specified in certificates issued by the Rehabilitation Division of the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation9
Workers should always consult with an employment attorney before accepting a lower minimum wage job. Perhaps their employer is wrong about the workers being exempt from wage laws. Or perhaps there is an exception that permits the employee to demand normal compensation.
Workers who are wrongly denied applicable minimum wage pay by their employers are advised to take the following three steps if necessary.
- Negotiation with the employer,
- File a claim with the Nevada Labor Commissioner,
- File a civil lawsuit in court
Sometimes employers cut checks with insufficient amounts without realizing it, especially if they are ignorant about current wage laws. Employees may be able to resolve the matter just by speaking to the employer about it.
If an employee does approach an employer, the employee should be armed with information, including:
- copies of current minimum compensation laws
- the hours the employee worked
- the difference between the wages the employee is entitled to and what the employer paid
If the employer will not comply, employees can consider consulting with a labor law attorney. Perhaps the attorney can speak with the employer on the employee’s behalf or compose a compelling letter.
If the employee’s “good faith” effort to resolve the wage matter fails, the employee can consider filing a claim with the Nevada Office of the Labor Commissioner. Filing a claim is typically done online through the claim for wages form, where the employee can also attach supporting materials such as pay stubs.
Once the employee files a claim, the Labor Commissioner may investigate the matter, hold a hearing, and issue a binding resolution. Employees are always encouraged to consult with an employment law attorney before filing a claim. Attorneys are skilled in composing claims in a way that maximizes the chances of success.
Filing a lawsuit is an alternative to filing a claim with the Labor Commissioner. A Nevada employment law attorney can help the employee determine which option is better for his/her circumstances.
Pursuing a lawsuit is usually more time-consuming and more expensive than filing a claim. But if successful, employees may be able to recover not only their wages but also attorney’s fees.
Note that employees have only two (2) years after the non-payment of wages to file a lawsuit.
Also note employees who have accepted subminimum wage paychecks are not prevented from later bringing a lawsuit to recover their full minimum wage pay; in other words, depositing a subminimum wage paycheck is not a waiver of one’s right to minimum pay. 10
Work in California? See our article on California min. wage laws.
- State Of Nevada Minimum Wage 2018 Annual Bulletin (Posted April 1, 2018);
- NV Constitution, Art. 15, Sec. 16; NAC 608.100; NRS 608.250.
- NRS 608.250; NV Labor Commission – Minimum Wage Statutes and Regulations; Nevada Assembly Bill 456 (2019).
- NRS 608.250.
- NAC 608.100; NAC 608.102; NAC 608.104.
- NAC 608.106.
- NRS 608.160.
- Rules To Be Observed By Employers, Nevada Department of Labor.
- NRS 608.250; see Nevada Labor Commissioner training manual on wages.
- NRS 608.260; Neville, Jr. v. Eighth Judicial District Court, 133 Nev. Adv. Op. 95, Nevada Supreme Court (Dec. 7, 2017) (Workers may file a lawsuit for unpaid wages under Nevada’s wage and hour laws.).