Possible Change to Minimum Wage


We could see a possible change to Nebraska's minimum wage increase. A state senator has introduced a bill to lower the wage for high school kids in 2016.

By then state minimum wage will be $9 an hour. Senator Laura Ebke wants to make it $7.25 an hour for high school students 18 and younger.

The idea was brought to her by an independent grocers group. A co-owner with Hogelands in Alma says he had to cut hours for some of his high school employees with the minimum wage increase. He thinks Ebke's bill could help out his staff.

“We would replace some of the hours our young people don't have right now. The minimum wage being raised to $8 knocked off a lot of hours from our young kids,” Ron Hogeland said.

Some of his workers lost 20 hours a week. If this measure passed it would only apply to those 18 or younger who are under the support of their parents.

Employers would only be allowed to pay this lower wage to a quarter of their employees. Ebke says in some jobs kids under than the age of 18 are not allowed to do things adults are in the workplace.

“Because they can't do the full scope of work required they don't feel as comfortable hiring them for the same amount as someone who is 20, who can do everything,” Ebke said.

Ebke and Hogeland both agree the current minimum wage increase makes it tough for some businesses to hire high school kids.