Minimum wage rising to $12 an hour in Nebraska after voters approved gradual increases a year ago

By: - December 20, 2023 6:47 pm
minimum wage

Kate Wolfe, campaign coordinator for Raise the Wage Nebraska, speaks after the 2022 initiative to increase the state’s minimum wage submitted 160,000 signature to put the issue before voters. (Paul Hammel/Nebraska

LINCOLN — The minimum wage in Nebraska will rise to $12 an hour Jan. 1 — an increase of $1.50 — after voters approved a ballot measure last year to make gradual increases in the minimum pay.

State voters in 2022, by a nearly 6-to-4 margin, approved a ballot initiative to increase the state’s minimum wage by $1.50 a year, until it reaches $15 an hour by Jan. 1, 2026.

An initiative petition drive, launched by the group Raise the Wage Nebraska, qualified the issue for the 2022 ballot by submitting signatures of 160,000 voters, well over the amount required.

The 2022 vote triggered the latest increase, to $12 an hour, effective  Jan. 1, 2024.

Nebraska is among 20 states that are increasing their minimum wage in 2024, according to the website

The state with the highest minimum wage in the country, according to the website, will be Washington State, at $16.28 an hour as of Jan. 1. New York and California are right behind at $16 an hour.

Twenty states have no state minimum wage and instead follow the federal minimum wage, which is $7.25 an hour.

In Nebraska, the minimum hourly wage for tipped employees will remain at $2.13 per hour, though employers are supposed to ensure that wages and tips for such workers, combined, equal at least the minimum wage.

The Nebraska Department of Labor said that the following minimum wage amounts are scheduled in the state:

  • Jan. 1, 2024: $12 per hour
  • Jan. 1, 2025: $13.50 per hour
  • Jan. 1, 2026: $15 per hour
  • Jan. 1, 2027: The minimum wage will increase based on the cost-of-living increase as measured by the Consumer Price Index.

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Paul Hammel
Paul Hammel

Senior Reporter Paul Hammel has covered the Nebraska state government and the state for decades. Previously with the Omaha World-Herald, Lincoln Journal Star and Omaha Sun, he is a member of the Omaha Press Club's Hall of Fame. He grows hops, brews homemade beer, plays bass guitar and basically loves traveling and writing about the state. A native of Ralston, Nebraska, he is vice president of the John G. Neihardt Foundation.

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