What is the current minimum wage?
Effective July 24, 2009, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.

In Nevada it’s a bit different. An amendment to the Nevada Constitution sets up a two-tiered minimum wage system. Effective July 1, 2010, the minimum wage for employees is either $7.25 per hour or $8.25 per hour depending on whether the employer offers qualified health insurance to it’s employees and their dependents. These two rates will be adjusted every July 1st, and will be communicated in advance via an Annual Minimum Wage Bulletin on April 1st of the same year.

In all cases, employers must pay a minimum wage which is the higher of the applicable state minimum wage or the federal minimum wage.

Regulations meant to clarify this amendment went into effect October 31, 2007. (NAC 608.100), (NAC 608.102), (NAC 608.104), (NAC 608.106), (NAC 608.108)

When must an employer pay overtime?
An employer must always pay a non-exempt employee overtime when he/she works over 40 hours in a workweek. Nevada law requires employers to pay overtime to employees who work more than 8 hours in a “workday” (as defined by Nevada Revised Statute) if they earn less than one and one-half times the minimum wage (see 2010 Annual Daily Overtime Bulletin). Please refer to Question #1 for more information regarding minimum wage.(NRS 608.018)

What is meant by “exempt” and “non-exempt”?
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires that most employees in the United States be paid at least the federal minimum wage for all hours worked and overtime pay at time and one-half the regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 hours in a workweek. These employees are known as “non-exempt”. However, Section 13(a)(1) of the FLSA provides an “exemption” from both minimum wage and overtime pay for employees employed as bona fide executive, administrative, professional and outside sales employees. Section 13(a)(1) and Section 13(a)(17) also exempt certain computer employees. To qualify for exemption, employees generally must meet certain tests regarding their job duties and be paid on a salary basis at not less than $ 455 per week. Job titles do not determine exempt status. In order for an exemption to apply, an employee’s specific job duties and salary must meet all the requirements of the Department’s regulations. NOTE: State requirements for certain exemptions may differ from Federal requirements. Employers should check both State and Federal requirements before classifying employees as exempt. (More about exemptions…)

Are employers required to give their employees rest breaks?
Nevada law requires employers to permit their employees to take at least one paid 10-minute rest period for every 4 hours worked, or major fraction thereof. The rest periods, which, insofar as practicable, must be in the middle of each work period. According to the adopted regulations of the Labor Commissioner (effective 08/25/04), the number of rest periods are as follows:

If the employee works: They must be permitted:
less than 3 ½ hours No rest period required
3 continuous hours and less than 7 continuous hours One 10-minute rest period
7 continuous hours and less than 11 continuous hours Two 10-minute rest periods
11 continuous hours and less than 15 continuous hours Three 10-minute rest periods
15 continuous hours and less than 19 continuous hours Four 10-minute rest periods

An unpaid lunch break is not considered when determining the number of hours worked by an employee for the purposes of this subsection.

NOTE: An employee may voluntarily agree to forego any rest period or meal period. The employer has the burden to prove the existence of any such agreement. (NRS 608.019)

Are employers required to give their employees lunch breaks?
In Nevada, an employer shall not employ an employee for a continuous period of 8 hours without permitting the employee to have an uninterrupted meal period of at least 30 minutes. Lunch breaks need not be paid. (NRS 608.019)

How soon must an employer pay an employee who is discharged or laid off?
Whenever an employer discharges an employee or lays an employee off, the wages and compensation earned and unpaid at the time of such discharge shall become due and payable immediately. However, employers are not penalized for delaying payment for up to 3 days after the discharge or lay off. (NRS 608.020 and NRS 608.040)

How soon must an employer pay an employee who quits or resigns?
Whenever an employee resigns, the wages and compensation earned and unpaid at the time of his/her resignation must be paid no later than the day on which he/her would have regularly been paid the wages or compensation or within 7 days, which ever is earlier. Commissions are to be paid at the regularly scheduled time. (NRS 608.030)

Under what circumstances may an employer withhold a portion of an employee’s paycheck?
Other than deductions required by federal and state law, an employer may not withhold, deduct, or divert any part of an employee’s earned wages unless the deduction is for the benefit of the employee, or the employee specifically consents to the deduction in writing and it is for a lawful purpose. (NRS 608.110)

What records must an employer keep?
It is the responsibility of the employer, not the employee, to keep accurate records of the wages it pays its employees. This would include the total number of hours worked per day in the pay period. The records must be maintained by the employer for a 2-year period following the entry of information in the record. (NRS 608.115)

How often must employees be paid?
Wages must be paid semi-monthly (twice a month) or more often. Wages or compensation earned and unpaid before the first day of any month is due not later than 8 a.m. on the 15th day of the month following that in which the wages or compensation was earned. Wages or compensation earned and unpaid before the 16th day of any month is due not later than 8 a.m. on the last day of the same month. (NRS 608.060)

Can tips be applied toward an employee’s statutory minimum wage?
Nevada law does not allow tips to be applied as credit toward the payment of the statutory minimum wage. (NRS 608.160)

Does an employer have to pay an employee unused vacation or other accrued leave upon termination of employment?
Nevada law requires payment only for time worked and does not require payment for vacation or sick time. However, employers should use caution not to conflict with their existing policies or past practices. (NRS 608.016)

Can an employer require an employee to purchase uniforms?
Nevada law requires that all uniforms or accessories distinctive in style, color, or material shall be furnished, without cost, to employees by their employer. (NRS 608.165)

What is meant by “employment-at-will”?
‘Employment-at-will’ is not a law. It is a doctrine or philosophy which maintains that an employer or employee may terminate the employment relationship at any time, with or without notice, with or without cause. Generally, Nevada is considered an employment-at-will state. However, employers should use caution when applying this doctrine, as it may conflict with progressive disciplinary policies or past practices, or conflict with anti-discrimination or contractual laws.

What is meant by “right to work”?
Right to work laws prohibit any person from being denied the opportunity to obtain or retain employment because of non-membership in a labor organization. Nevada is a “right to work” state. (NRS 613.250, NRS 613.260, NRS 613.270 and NRS 613.280)

What employment laws do employers have to comply with?
The following is a basic list of employee minimums required by federal employment laws for employer coverage. Keep in mind that these requirements may have additional stipulations. Nevada generally mirrors these federal laws with the noted exceptions below. Again, this list is not all inclusive.

Employment Law: Scope of Coverage:
Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act (prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, sex, color, national origin, and religion) 15 or more employees
Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) 15 or more employees
Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) 20 or more employees
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) 15 or more employees
Amendment to Chapter 613 of the Nevada Revised Statutes (adds “sexual orientation” to the list of protected classifications for Nevada employers only) 15 or more employees
Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) 50 or more employees in a 75 mile radius
Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) employers that offer a health plan and have 20 or more employees
Nevada Revised Statute 689B.245 (requires a “COBRA-like” provision in group health plans allowing for continued coverage for Nevada employers only) employers that offer a health plan and have LESS than 20 employees
Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) all employers
Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) all employers
Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) 100 or more employees
Executive Order 11246 (written Affirmative Action Plan) Nonconstruction (i.e., supply and service) contractors and subcontractors with 50 or more employees AND at least one government contract for $50,000 or more
EEO-1 Reporting 100 or more employees OR contractors and subcontractors with 50 or more employees AND at least one government contract for $50,000 or more

Is an employer required to allow employees to leave work to vote?
Yes. Any registered voter may absent himself from his place of employment at a time to be designated by the employer for a sufficient time to vote, if it is impracticable for him to vote before or after his hours of employment (must be liberally construed to achieve its purpose of ensuring that employees have an opportunity to vote).
Such voter may not, because of such absence, be discharged, disciplined or penalized, nor shall any deduction be made from his usual salary or wages by reason of such absence. Application for leave of absence to vote shall be made to the employer or person authorized to grant such leave prior to the day of the election. A sufficient time to vote shall be determined as follows (distance between the place of employment and the polling place where employee votes/time allowed to vote):

Distance: Time Allowed to Vote:
2 miles or less 1 hour
More than 2 miles but not more than 10 miles 2 hours
More than 10 miles 3 hours
(NRS 293.463)

Is an employer required to give employees time off for jury duty?
Yes. It is illegal for an employer to discharge, or threaten to discharge an employee as a consequence of his/her service as a juror or prospective juror. Although an employee’s position and benefits must be maintained, an employer is not required to pay wages during his/her service as a juror or prospective juror. Also, an employer may not require the employee to use sick leave or vacation time; or, require the employee to work: (1) within 8 hours before the time at which he is to appear for jury duty; or (2) if his service has lasted for 4 hours or more on the day of his appearance for jury duty, including his time going to and returning from the place where the court is held, between 5 p.m. on the day of his appearance for jury duty and 3 a.m. the following day. (NRS 6.190)

Is an employer required to give employees time off to attend school conferences?
Yes. It is unlawful for an employer to terminate the employment of a person who, as the parent, guardian or custodian of a child either appears at a conference requested by an administrator of the school attended by the child or, is notified during his work by a school employee of an emergency regarding the child. Also, an employer may not assert to the person that his appearance or prospective appearance at such a conference or the receipt of such a notification during his work will result in the termination of his employment. (NRS 392.920)

Effective August 15, 2009, Assembly Bill 243 requires employers with 50 or more employees to grant 4 hours of leave per school year, per child, to parents, guardians and custodians of children to participate in certain school activities.

Is an employer required to give employees time off when they have been summoned to attend a court proceeding?
Yes. It is unlawful for an employer to terminate or threaten to terminate the employment of a person who is a witness or who has received a summons to appear as a witness in a judicial or administrative proceeding. (NRS 50.070)

Under what circumstances may an employer decrease the compensation of an employee?
Where an employee works at the beginning of the change to daylight saving time, only a seven-hour shift but receives pay for an additional hour, the payment for the hour not worked need not be included in computing the employee’s regular rate and may not be credited toward overtime compensation due under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) if overtime is worked during the other days in the week. Shift workers on duty at this time who normally work an eight-hour shift will actually work an extra our, for a total of nine hours of work on that day. Employees MUST be paid for all nine hours of work under the FLSA. They are also entitled to overtime for all hours worked in excess of 40 worked during the week, including the extra hour worked during the conversion to standard time.

What pay obligations does an employer have when the time changes in the Spring and Fall?
It is unlawful for any employer to pay a lower wage, salary or compensation to an employee than the amount earned by the employee when the work was performed unless the employer provides the employee with a 7-day written notice of the decrease before the employee performs any work at the decreased wage, salary or compensation. (NRS 608.100)