Nevada Supreme Court Issues Three Important Rulings On The Minimum Wage Amendment

Volume 15, Issue 23
October 28, 2016

You may remember that in late 2006 Nevada increased its minimum wage through an amendment to the Nevada Constitution -- the Minimum Wage Amendment ("MWA" or "Amendment"). This Amendment made significant changes to Nevada minimum wage law; these changes include:

  • the establishment of a two-tiered system for minimum wage. Employers that "provide" qualifying health benefits are allowed to pay the lower-tier minimum wage, which was $5.15 an hour in 2006 -- while all other employers must pay the higher-tier minimum wage, then $6.15 an hour.
  • the definition of qualified health benefits as a health plan that provides coverage for the employee and his/her dependents at a cost to the employee that does not exceed 10% of the employee's "gross taxable income."
  • providing for Nevada's minimum wage to increase with inflation. As such, the minimum wage has been adjusted yearly by the amount of increases in the federal minimum wage over $5.15 per hour, or, if greater, by the cumulative increase in the cost of living. The adjusted rates are announced each April 1 and take effect the following July 1. Currently, the lower-tier and higher-tier minimum wage is $7.25 and $8.25, respectively.
  • expanded remedies for noncompliance by protecting employees from retaliation and permitting an employee to receive back pay, damages, reinstatement, injunctive relief, and attorney's fees and costs.

Yesterday, the Nevada Supreme Court issued three important rulings interpreting the MWA. These decisions are critical to most Nevada employers and will be addressed briefly below. The issues that arise from the Court's rulings are varied and complex. Accordingly, please contact us to discuss your questions and how to apply the decisions to your specific employees.

KZA Employer Report articles are for general information only; they are not intended and should not be construed to be legal advice. Reading or replying to such articles does not establish an attorney-client relationship. In addition, because the subject matters and applicable laws discussed in Employer Report articles are often in a state of change and not always applicable to every type of business entity or organization, readers should consult with counsel before making decisions based on the same.