Labor and Employment Law Overview: Nebraska

Labor and Employment Law Overview requirements for other states

Federal law and guidance on this subject should be reviewed together with this section.

Author: XpertHR Editorial Team

Summary

  • Nebraska law prohibits an employer from discriminating and retaliating against employees in a variety of protected classes. Employers must also provide pregnancy accommodations and equal pay. See EEO, Diversity and Employee Relations.
  • Nebraska permits, but limits, preemployment drug and alcohol testing. See Recruiting and Hiring.
  • In Nebraska, there are requirements relating to the minimum wage, meal breaks and child labor. See Wage and Hour.
  • Nebraska has laws that relate to employee pay and benefits, including health care continuation, pay frequency, pay statements and wage deductions. See Pay and Benefits.
  • Under Nebraska law, employees are entitled to certain leaves or time off, including family military leave, military leave, voting leave, jury duty leave and volunteer emergency responder leave. See Time Off and Leaves of Absence.
  • Nebraska prohibits smoking in the workplace and texting on a handheld device while driving. An employer may prohibit weapons in the workplace, but not in privately owned vehicles in a company parking. See Health and Safety.
  • When employment ends, Nebraska employers must comply with applicable final pay and job reference requirements. See Organizational Exit.

Introduction to Employment Law in Nebraska

Nebraska has laws that provide greater protections to employees than federal law, including pregnancy accommodation rights, a higher minimum wage and health care continuation coverage obligations for smaller employers, but generally follows federal law with respect to topics such as military leave and occupational safety.

Select Nebraska employment requirements are summarized below to help an employer understand the range of employment laws affecting the employer-employee relationship in the state. An employer must comply with both federal and state law.

An employer must also comply with applicable municipal law obligations affecting the employment relationship, in addition to complying with state and federal requirements.

EEO, Diversity and Employee Relations

Key Nebraska requirements impacting EEO, diversity and employee relations are:

Fair Employment Practices

The Nebraska Fair Employment Practice Act prohibits employers with 15 or more employees from discriminating against or harassing individuals on the basis of protected characteristics, such as:

  • Race;
  • Color;
  • Sex (including pregnancy);
  • National origin;
  • Marital status;
  • Disability; and
  • Religion.

The Nebraska Age Discrimination in Employment Act prohibits employers with 20 or more employees from discriminating on the basis of age (40 years and older).

Under Nebraska's antidiscrimination laws, an employer may not retaliate against individuals who oppose discriminatory employment practices or who file a charge or testify, participate or assist in proceedings under applicable law.

Equal Pay

The Nebraska Equal Pay Act (NEPA) prohibits employers with two or more employees from discriminating between employees in the same establishment on the basis of sex by paying wages to any employee at a rate less than that paid to any employee of the opposite sex for equal work on jobs that require equal skill, effort and responsibility under similar working condition. Nothing in the NEPA prohibits employers from basing wage differentials on a seniority system, a merit system, a system that measures earnings by quantity or quality of production or any factor other than sex.

Pregnancy Accommodation

The NFEPA requires an employer with 15 or more employees to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions. Reasonable accommodations include, but are not limited to:

  • Acquisition of equipment for sitting;
  • More frequent or longer breaks;
  • Periodic rest;
  • Assistance with manual labor;
  • Job restructuring;
  • Light-duty assignments;
  • Modified work schedules;
  • Temporary transfers to less-strenuous or less-hazardous work;
  • Time off to recover from childbirth; and
  • Break time and appropriate facilities for breastfeeding or expressing breast milk.

Be aware that where there is overlap between federal, state and/or local law, complying with the law that offers the greatest rights or benefits to the employee will generally apply.

Additional information on EEO, diversity and employee relations practices in Nebraska can be found in the Nebraska Employee Handbook Table of Contents, EEO - Discrimination: Nebraska, EEO - Harassment: Nebraska, EEO - Retaliation: Nebraska, Disabilities (ADA): Nebraska, Nebraska Workplace Labor and Employment Law Posters and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in Nebraska? Federal requirements can be found in EEO - Discrimination: Federal, EEO - Harassment: Federal, EEO - Retaliation: Federal and Disabilities (ADA): Federal.

Recruiting and Hiring

A Nebraska employer generally may conduct drug and alcohol testing as a condition of employment, but state law, which applies to employers with six or more employees, regulates the manner in which the tests are performed and how the results are handled.

Be aware that where there is overlap between federal, state and/or local law, complying with the law that offers the greatest rights or benefits to the employee will generally apply.

Additional information on recruiting and hiring practices in Nebraska can be found in Preemployment Screening and Testing: Nebraska and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in Nebraska? Federal requirements can be found in Preemployment Screening and Testing: Federal.

Wage and Hour

Key Nebraska requirements impacting wages and hours are:

Minimum Wage

Nebraska employers must pay employees a minimum wage of $9.00 per hour, with certain exceptions, such as certain student workers, trainees and tipped employees. Nebraska's minimum wage requirements apply to employers employing four or more employees at any one time.

Meal Breaks

Employers that own or operate assembly plants, workshops or mechanical establishments must provide employees with a meal break of at least 30 consecutive minutes in each eight-hour shift. Employees must be relieved of all duties and may not be required to remain in the building or on the premises where their labor is performed.

Child Labor

Child labor laws in Nebraska restrict the occupations in which minors may be employed and the number of hours and times during which they may work.

All minors are generally prohibited from working in a job that is dangerous or where "his or her morals may be depraved."

Minors under the age of 16 may not work:

  • More than eight hours in one day;
  • More than 48 hours in one week; or
  • Before 6 a.m. or after 8 p.m. if they are under the age of 14, or after 10 p.m. if they are between 14 and 16 years old.

Be aware that where there is overlap between federal, state and/or local law, complying with the law that offers the greatest rights or benefits to the employee will generally apply.

Additional information on wage and hour practices in Nebraska can be found in the Nebraska Employee Handbook Table of Contents, Minimum Wage: Nebraska, Hours Worked: Nebraska, Child Labor: Nebraska, Nebraska Workplace Labor and Employment Law Posters and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in Nebraska? Federal requirements can be found in Minimum Wage: Federal, Hours Worked: Federal and Child Labor: Federal.

Pay and Benefits

Key Nebraska requirements impacting pay and benefits are:

Health Care Continuation

Nebraska employers with fewer than 20 employees generally must offer health care continuation coverage to their employees and their dependents. Continuation coverage is available only when the employee dies or is involuntarily terminated (unless for misconduct) and only for up to six months.

Pay Frequency

A Nebraska employer must pay all wages due on regular days that are:

  • Designated by the employer; or
  • Agreed upon by the employer and employee.

An employer must provide employees with 30 days' written notice before changing paydays.

Pay Statements

An employer must provide a pay statement to each employee on payday that includes the following information:

  • Employer's identity;
  • Hours for which the employee is being paid;
  • Amount of wages earned by the employee for the pay period; and
  • Deductions taken from the employee's pay.

Wage Deductions

An employer may make deductions from employees' wages that are:

  • Required by state or federal law; and
  • Expressly authorized in writing by the employee (e.g., for health insurance, retirement, breakages, uniforms or cash shortages).

Be aware that where there is overlap between federal, state and/or local law, complying with the law that offers the greatest rights or benefits to the employee will generally apply.

Additional information on pay and benefits practices in Nebraska can be found in Health Care Continuation (COBRA): Nebraska, Involuntary and Voluntary Pay Deductions: Nebraska, Payment of Wages: Nebraska and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in Nebraska? Federal requirements can be found in Health Care Continuation (COBRA): Federal, Involuntary and Voluntary Pay Deductions: Federal and Payment of Wages: Federal.

Time Off and Leaves of Absence

Nebraska has several laws relating to required time off and leaves of absence for employees. These laws include:

  • Family military leave (covering employers with 15 or more employees);
  • Military leave;
  • Voting leave;
  • Election official leave;
  • Jury duty leave; and
  • Emergency responder leave (covering employers with 10 or more employees).

Be aware that where there is overlap between federal, state and/or local law, complying with the law that offers the greatest rights or benefits to the employee will generally apply.

Additional information on time off and leave of absence practices in Nebraska can be found in the Nebraska Employee Handbook Table of Contents, FMLA: Nebraska, Other Leaves: Nebraska, USERRA: Nebraska, Jury Duty: Nebraska and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in Nebraska? Federal requirements can be found in FMLA: Federal, Other Leaves: Federal, USERRA: Federal and Jury Duty: Federal.

Health and Safety

Key Nebraska requirements impacting health and safety are:

Smoke-Free Workplace

The Nebraska Clean Indoor Air Act prohibits smoking in a public place or a place of employment, but does not prohibit or restrict smoking in outdoor areas.

Weapons in the Workplace

Employers in control of property may prohibit a permitholder from carrying a concealed handgun into or onto the place or premises if the place or premises are open to the public, and if the employer has posted conspicuous notice that carrying a concealed handgun is prohibited in or on the place or premises or has requested that a permitholder remove the concealed handgun from the place or premises.

An employer may also prohibit employees or other permitholders from carrying concealed handguns in employer-owned vehicles. However, a permitholder may carry a concealed handgun in a privately owned vehicle parked in an employer parking lot as long as it is securely locked away.

Safe Driving Practices

Nebraska drivers are prohibited from using handheld devices to read, type or send messages while driving.

Be aware that where there is overlap between federal, state and/or local law, complying with the law that offers the greatest rights or benefits to the employee will generally apply.

Additional information on health and safety practices in Nebraska can be found in the Nebraska Employee Handbook Table of Contents, HR and Workplace Safety: Nebraska, Employee Health: Nebraska, Workplace Security: Nebraska and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in Nebraska? Federal requirements can be found in HR and Workplace Safety (OSHA Compliance): Federal, Employee Health: Federal and Workplace Security: Federal.

Organizational Exit

Key Nebraska requirements impacting organizational exit are:

Final Pay

Terminated employees must be paid their final wages (including accrued vacation pay) by the next regular payday or within two weeks of the date of termination, whichever is earlier.

References

With the employee's written consent, an employer may disclose certain information to a prospective employer, including the employee's job description and duties, recent drug testing results and most recent performance evaluation.

Be aware that where there is overlap between federal, state and/or local law, complying with the law that offers the greatest rights or benefits to the employee will generally apply.

Additional information on organizational exit practices in Nebraska can be found in Payment of Wages: Nebraska, Employee Communications: Nebraska and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in Nebraska? Federal requirements can be found in Payment of Wages: Federal and Employee Communications: Federal.