Nevada’s minimum wage increase hits during Coronavirus pandemic

Published: Jul. 1, 2020 at 7:46 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Thousands of Nevadans just got a raise. Even if business isn’t booming thanks to COVID-19.

As of July 1st, the first of five increases to the Silver State’s minimum wage - per legislation signed last June by Governor Steve Sisolak - has gone into affect. Workers receiving qualified benefits must make at least $8 per hour, up from the Federal minimum of $7.25, or $9 per hour if not covered by their employer.

“It’s a tough hit,” said Justin Moscove, co-owner of Flowing Tide Pub. “But I’m just glad we’re open.”

Flowing Tide has six locations across Northern Nevada and another in Las Vegas. Their newest, at the corner of McCarran and Mira Loma in Reno, was scheduled to open the week Nevada’s businesses were shut down in March. Over 200 of their employees make minimum wage plus tips (unlike some states, Nevada doesn’t recognize gratuity as part of wage.)

“The way business was going before we shut down, it would’ve been more manageable,” Moscove says. “Right now, it hurts a lot more.”

Not that Moscove, and his partners, don’t agree with the increase. It just comes at a tough time. But even as many businesses fought to delay the July 1st increase, Nevada Labor Commissioner Shannon Chambers says it would’ve taken legislation.

“We’re confident that Nevada employers will adjust to this and will implement it,” said Chambers. “If we get a complaint or a wage claim, we’ll investigate it and go through the process.

Chambers adds Nevada’s Labor Office encourages anyone - employers or employees - to reach out if any concerns arise.

By 2024, Nevada’s minimum wage will stand at $11 per hour with qualified benefits, $12 per hour without. Moscove hints it’ll lead to increased prices at Flowing Tide Pub, and surely everywhere else.

“Minimum wages go up, it’s reality,” said Moscove. “Hopefully, it’s cyclical.”

“We couldn’t do it without our employees. Our employees are the face of our business. It’s really good to keep them happy.”

On July 1st, two other states increased their minimum wage. Illinois’ now stands at $10 per hour, while Oregon’s rose to $11.50 per hour.

Copyright 2020 KOLO. All rights reserved.

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