Nebraska’s minimum wage increase goes into effect Jan. 1

After seven years of $9 an hour, Initiative 433 called on Nebraskans to increase the minimum wage. Almost 59% of voters checked “yes” on the November ballot. “It will take effect in January one,” said Ernie Goss, an economics professor at Creighton University. The proposal increases the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2026, starting with a $1.50 bump in 2023. Experts said it’ll help combat rising living costs, but economically, Goss said the state won’t see much of a change just yet. “The real impacts will come in future years, particularly as the minimum wage in Nebraska rises by an average of about 14% per year until it reaches $15 an hour in 2026,” he said. Goss said the boost could slightly close the poverty gap within the state, but it doesn’t take care of the current issue affecting companies. “Significant labor shortage right now. So, this will not have much of an impact on those companies. Those companies are already offering well above the proposed minimum wage of $10.50 an hour, and they’re much higher than the current $9 an hour minimum wage,” Goss said. Business owners like Preeda Joynoosaeng, who pays his employees anywhere from $12 to $19 an hour as an incentive for them to stay. “I think the labor shortage is still going to affect because it only goes up a dollar, something not really huge. But if it’s a $15, then it might affect, then maybe people come back to work and want to work,” Joynoosaeng said , owner of Sea Thai. He said it’s a blessing for employees and a curse for employers as they battled the effects of inflation. “It came at the same time as the food costs going up. And that already hurt a lot of small business,” he said. In the meantime, Goss said Nebraska will see some benefits from the increase when it comes to unemployment. “When the minimum wage increases, that encourages them to leave behind some of the government support payments and enter the workforce and earning that minimum wage,” Goss said. And make a difference for younger employees entering the workforce or those working in the hospitality industry. “Where individuals earn in some cases the minimum wage plus tips for those individuals,” he said.

After seven years of $9 an hour, Initiative 433 called on Nebraskans to increase the minimum wage. Almost 59% of voters checked “yes” on the November ballot.

“It will take effect in January one,” said Ernie Goss, an economics professor at Creighton University.

The proposal increases the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2026, starting with a $1.50 bump in 2023.

Experts said it’ll help combat rising living costs, but economically, Goss said the state won’t see much of a change just yet.

“The real impacts will come in future years, particularly as the minimum wage in Nebraska rises by an average of about 14% per year until it reaches $15 an hour in 2026,” he said.

Goss said the boost could slightly close the poverty gap within the state, but it doesn’t take care of the current issue affecting companies.

“Significant labor shortage right now. So, this will not have much of an impact on those companies. Those companies are already offering well above the proposed minimum wage of $10.50 an hour, and they’re much higher than the current $9 an hour minimum wage,” Goss said.

Business owners like Preeda Joynoosaeng, who pays his employees anywhere from $12 to $19 an hour as an incentive for them to stay.

“I think the labor shortage is still going to affect because it only goes up a dollar, something not really huge. But if it’s a $15, then it might affect, then maybe people come back to work and want to work,” Joynoosaeng said , owner of Sea Thai.

He said it’s a blessing for employees and a curse for employers as they battled the effects of inflation.

“It came at the same time as the food costs going up. And that already hurt a lot of small business,” he said.

In the meantime, Goss said Nebraska will see some benefits from the increase when it comes to unemployment.

“When the minimum wage increases, that encourages them to leave behind some of the government support payments and enter the workforce and earning that minimum wage,” Goss said.

And make a difference for younger employees entering the workforce or those working in the hospitality industry.

“Where individuals earn in some cases the minimum wage plus tips for those individuals,” he said.

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