Wages are an interesting topic in Nevada, and it’s on the upcoming ballot.
Nevada Ballot Question 2 is referred to the “Minimum Wage” question. “Shall the Nevada Constitution be amended to establish a state minimum wage that employers must pay at a rate of $12 an hour or any appropriate increases over that rate provided by federal law or the Nevada Legislature?”
This November, Nevadans will have the opportunity to set a minimum wage of $12 an hour for nearly all employees in the state.
This is dry, but here are the basics:
At the moment the the state of Nevada has a two-tier minimum wage system: The minimum wage allowed for employees who are offered qualifying health insurance is $1 less per hour than the minimum wage rate allowed for employees who are not offered qualifying health insurance.
Question 2, which is on the upcoming general election ballot would amend the Nevada Constitution and set a minimum hourly wage of $12, regardless of what type of benefits the employer offers.
If passed, the new minimum wage will come into force on 1 July 2024.
Nevada’s minimum wage is already scheduled to increase on that date up to $12 an hour for employees who are not offered health insurance by their employers. That’s because the Nevada state legislature passed a bill in 2019 to raise the minimum wage by 75 cents annually until it reaches $12 an hour in 2024.
The minimum wage for employees offered health insurance is currently scheduled to increase to $11 an hour on July 1, 2024.
Proponents of Question 2 say it’s a loophole that benefited greedy employers, which can provide subpar health insurance in order to pay workers the lower level minimum wage. Many minimum wage workers refuse such insurance because it is still too expensive, meaning they are left with no insurance (or hopefully insurance provided elsewhere) but still stuck earning at the lower minimum wage rate.
The language of Question 2 also makes clear that state legislatures still have the power to set a minimum wage rate higher than $12 an hour, but they cannot go lower.
Federal lawmakers could also force Nevada’s minimum wage even higher if they were to raise the federal minimum wage to more than $12 an hour. (The existing federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour has not changed since 2009.)
Nevada’s current minimum wage rates are $9.50 and $10.50 per hour. Those rates will increase to $10.25 and $11.25 an hour on July 1, 2023.
If Question 2 passes, employers will no longer be able to pay a dollar less as minimum wage if the business offers health insurance. There is more than 100,000 workers who will benefit from passing Question 2 – to be paid $10.50 instead of $9.50.
Nevada’s minimum wage remained flat at $7.25 and $8.25 from 2010 to 2019. They were raised in 2019 as a result of legislative action by the then-Democrat-controlled state House and governorship.
In 2019, Democratic lawmakers debated proposals to quickly raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour. That’s a number that’s favorable nationally for wage advocateswhich equals $31,200 per year (gross/before tax) for full-time (40 hours/week) employment.
That proposal was adapted, and the plan to implement it was spread over several years to make it more “tasty” to the business community, which typically argues that the market should dictate wages.
Twelve dollars an hour equals $24,960 a year(gross/before tax) for full-time (40 hours/week) employment. Eleven dollars an hour equals $22,880 a year.
Nevada voters overwhelmingly passed the minimum wage amendment in 2004 and 2006, with 68.4% and 68.7% approval, respectively. That constitutional amendment qualified for those ballots through the initiative process, which requires voter approval twice.
Hopefully this helps spell out a ballot that affects everyone in Nevada in some way.
Early voting is October 22 – November 4. Election day is November 8.