Minimum wage laws protect workers from unfair treatment by employers and aim to preserve a basic standard of living for workers who are in entry level or low-skill jobs. But they are subject to various exceptions and exclusions that workers need to understand.
As of today the minimum wage in Nevada is $8.25 per hour for employers who do not provide health insurance benefits. Workers who work more than 40 hours in a scheduled week of work, or who work more than 8 hours in a workday (unless they are on a four, 10-hour day schedule) are entitled to time-and-a-half overtime. NRS 608.018.
The relationship between federal and Nevada minimum wage
The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires most U.S. employers to pay most full- and part-time employees at least $7.25 an hour, but allows state and local governments to adopt a higher minimum wage, just as Nevada has done. In the event of a conflict, the higher minimum wage applies.
The FLSA provides exemptions from the standard minimum wage for certain workers or jobs, which in many cases can be paid a lower minimum wage. Here are a few examples:
- Workers who earn at least $30 in tips per month and collect at least $5.12 in hourly tips can be paid as little as $2.13 per hour.
- Workers under the age of 20 within the first 90 days of employment can be paid a minimum wage of $4.25 per hour.
- Student workers (in high school or college) doing certain jobs, like retail or agriculture, can be paid as little as 85% of the prevailing minimum wage, provided the employer satisfies Department of Labor requirements.
- The Department of Labor can exempt nonprofit and educational organizations from having to pay the full minimum wage.
Other types of worker are exempted entirely from the federal minimum wage and overtime laws. This includes white collar workers (executives, administrators, professionals). There are also numerous exemptions for agricultural laborers. Farms that use only a small amount of labor are exempt, as are certain specific types of agricultural employee (seasonal hand harvesters, for example).
Nevada’s minimum wage law
Like the FLSA, Nevada’s minimum wage law provides exceptions. NRS 608.250 allows the following workers to be paid less than the state minimum wage:
- Casual babysitters.
- Live-in domestic service employees.
- Outside salespersons who are paid by commission.
- Small-farm agricultural workers.
- Taxicab and limousine drivers.
- Persons with disabilities that limit their productive capacity. See NAC 608.200 et seq.
Independent contractors are also exempt from minimum wage rules. Employers will sometimes try to misclassify employees as independent contractors to avoid paying them minimum wage or providing other benefits to which employees are legally entitled.
Suing to recover back pay
Unfortunately, minimum wage workers are often victims of unscrupulous employers who try to get away with not paying minimum wage or complying with overtime laws. Complaints can be filed with the Nevada Labor Commissioner, which investigates wage violations and can enforce penalties against noncompliant employers. Although non-lawyers can file complaints, having the help of an attorney can significantly improve the chance of a complaint leading to a successful outcome.
Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez is proud of the work it does helping working people protect their rights. If you would like to speak to an attorney about your minimum wage questions, please give us a call today at 702-388-4476. We can also be reached through our contacts page.