Operational Gaze:
How to Run Payroll in Nebraska?

April 7th 2024

Managing payroll responsibilities in Nebraska involves adhering to a set of legal steps and protocols when compensating employees. These procedures encompass activities like adhering to payroll tax laws, determining earnings, and adhering to rules regarding deductions. It is essential to comprehend and stay informed about the distinctive labor laws and tax regulations in Nebraska to effectively oversee payroll.

In this article, you will discover a detailed manual made specifically for Nebraska’s payroll demands, designed to aid businesses in accurately handling each pay period. The manual is intended to streamline the payroll procedure by furnishing insights and guidelines for Nebraska-based businesses, ensuring that payroll operations run smoothly and in accordance with the law, regardless of their level of experience.

This Article Covers

Laws That Affect Payroll Procedures in Nebraska
Worker Classifications in Nebraska
Payroll Forms and Relevant Bodies in Nebraska
Applicable Taxes in Nebraska
Key Pay Elements That Impact Payroll in Nebraska
Step-by-Step Guide to Payroll in Nebraska

Laws That Affect Payroll Procedures in Nebraska

In the context of payroll procedures, there are specific legal requirements that dictate how employees are paid, and it is essential for businesses to follow these regulations.

Nebraska Laws

  • Nebraska Labor Regulations: The Nebraska Administrative Code deals with various labor-related matters, such as wage payments, sick leave, medical benefits, and workers’ compensation.
  • Overtime: Nebraska overtime laws mandate that overtime pay must be determined based on the number of hours worked in a given workweek. Employees should receive overtime compensation for any hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek.
  • Paid Breaks or Lunch Periods: Nebraska, in line with federal wage and hour laws, does not mandate that employers provide breaks or meal periods. However, it is customary for employers to offer brief rest breaks, often lasting 20 minutes or less, and these breaks must be compensated. For minors aged 16 or 17 scheduled to work five or more consecutive hours, a 30-minute break during the workday is required.
  • Unemployment, Disability, and Workers’ Compensation: Nebraska employers are obliged to participate in the state’s unemployment fund, and both disability and unemployment insurance are legally required.
  • Minimum Wage: Employees in Nebraska are entitled to the minimum wage. The minimum wage in Nebraska is currently set at $12.00.
  • Paid Time Off and Leaves: Leave compensation in Nebraska is subject to federal labor laws, which means employers are not compelled to provide payment for various forms of leave, including sick leave, holiday leave, jury duty leave, voting leave, or bereavement leave.
  • Payment Records: Employers in Nebraska are obligated to provide pay stubs with each wage payment, detailing an employee’s earnings and deductions.
  • Final Paycheck: When an employee is terminated in Nebraska, they are entitled to promptly receive their final wages, which should include any accrued but unused vacation or paid time off, as specified by state labor regulations.

Federal Laws

There are three crucial federal laws that will significantly influence the manner in which you manage your payroll processing procedures:

  • The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA): The FLSA establishes important rules and regulations regarding minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, classification for exemptions, and child labor standards in various industries. These provisions are not limited to private businesses but also encompass federal, state, and local government organizations.
  • The Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA): FICA necessitates both employers and employees to make contributions towards Social Security and Medicare. Employers are obliged to deduct 6.2% for Social Security tax and 1.45% for Medicare tax from each employee’s earnings. Employers are also obligated to match these contributions, leading to a total FICA payroll tax rate of 15.3% for each employee.
  • The Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA): FUTA mandates that employers must contribute to unemployment taxes, which are utilized to offer benefits to eligible employees experiencing job loss. Although it doesn’t have a direct impact on employees’ paychecks, as it’s an employer responsibility, FUTA contributions still need to be included in each payroll cycle. Typically, a 6% tax on the initial $7,000 paid to an employee annually is required, with potential exceptions depending on the industry.

HR Laws

  • New Hire Reporting: Employers in Nebraska must adhere to regulations regarding reporting new hires. According to state law, they are obliged to inform the Nebraska Department of Labor (NDOL) within 20 days after hiring a new employee or rehiring someone. This notification helps the state manage various programs, including child support enforcement. Employers must provide comprehensive details about the newly hired worker, such as their full name, address, social security number, employer name, and Federal Tax ID number. Compliance with this rule is crucial for effective enforcement of child support orders and maintaining accurate employment records in the state.
  • Posting Requirements: Nebraska also imposes posting requirements on businesses with employees. The Nebraska Department of Labor enforces these rules, mandating that all employers in the state with workers must display labor law posters visibly in the workplace. These posters cover important labor laws and regulations, serving as a crucial resource for both employers and employees to understand their rights and duties. The mandatory labor law posters in Nebraska may encompass information regarding minimum wage laws, workplace safety standards, workers’ compensation, and other relevant labor regulations. Ensuring compliance with these posting requirements is vital to keep employees informed about their legal rights and protections while working in Nebraska. Employers must regularly update and display these posters to reflect any changes in labor laws, as failure to do so may result in penalties or legal consequences.

Worker Classifications in Nebraska

It is crucial to correctly categorize individuals as employees or independent contractors in Nebraska. This determination carries significant ramifications for both payroll tax responsibilities and the rights and benefits of workers.

Employees and Independent Contractors

In Nebraska, it’s essential to distinguish between employees and independent contractors because it has significant implications for their rights, duties, and tax responsibilities. Employees typically follow their employer’s instructions, receive benefits, and have taxes taken out of their paychecks. Independent contractors, on the other hand, have more freedom in their work, handle their own taxes, and don’t get the same employment perks as employees.

Getting the worker classification right is crucial for following Nebraska’s labor and tax laws. Misclassifying employees or independent contractors can lead to legal and financial troubles for employers. To ensure accurate classifications, it’s a good idea to consult guidelines provided by relevant authorities. In cases where the classification is complicated, seeking advice from professionals is a wise step. This can help employers navigate Nebraska’s labor and tax rules and avoid potential legal problems.

To learn more about the rights of salaried and hourly employees, you can read our guides on your rights as a salaried employee in Nebraska, and your rights as an hourly employee in Nebraska.

The Common Law Test in Nebraska

In Nebraska, the determination of whether services performed without wages constitute employment relies on a common law test. According to this test, an individual is considered an independent contractor if they engage in work as part of an independent occupation or employment, and the person for whom the work is done controls only the result of the work, not the methods or means used.

To determine whether someone is an employee or an independent contractor, multiple factors must be taken into account, as there is no single definitive test. These factors include:

  • The level of control the employer can exert over the work details as specified in the agreement.
  • Whether the individual employed is involved in a distinct occupation or business.
  • The nature of the occupation and whether similar work in the local area is typically performed under an employer’s direction or by independent specialists.
  • The level of skill required for the specific occupation.
  • Determining whether the employer or the individual performing the work provides the tools, equipment, and workspace.
  • The duration of the engagement.
  • The method of payment, whether it’s based on time worked or a per-job basis.
  • Whether the work is an integral part of the employer’s regular business.
  • Whether both parties believe they are establishing an agency relationship.
  • Whether the employer is currently operating a business.

Payroll Forms and Relevant Bodies in Nebraska

Nebraska Payroll Forms

  • Form W-4N (Employee’s Withholding Certificate for Nebraska): This form is used by employees to declare their Nebraska state income tax withholding allowances.
  • Form 941N (Employer’s Quarterly State Income Tax Return): Employers use this form to report state income tax withholding on a quarterly basis.
  • Form W-3N (Transmittal of Wage and Tax Statements): This form is used to transmit Nebraska state Form W-2 information to the Nebraska Department of Revenue.

Federal Payroll Forms

  • W-4 Form: This form assists employers in determining the correct amount of tax to withhold from their employees’ paychecks.
  • W-2 Form: It presents an overview of each employee’s total annual earnings.
  • W-3 Form: It provides a summary of the combined compensation and tax information for all employees.
  • Form 940: This document reports owed unemployment taxes to the IRS.
  • Form 941: Employed on a quarterly basis, this form reports income and FICA tax deductions from employees’ paychecks.
  • Form 944: It reports the annual income and FICA taxes withheld from employees’ paychecks.
  • 1099 Forms: These forms furnish independent contractors with the necessary information to calculate the taxes they owe to the IRS based on their earnings.

Federal and Nebraska Payroll/ Tax Bodies

  • Internal Revenue Service (IRS): The IRS serves as the primary federal agency responsible for overseeing and collecting federal income taxes, which includes tasks related to tax withholding and reporting.
  • Social Security Administration (SSA): The SSA is in charge of administering Social Security and Medicare programs, which receive funding through payroll taxes. Employers are tasked with deducting and remitting Social Security and Medicare taxes on behalf of their employees.
  • U.S. Department of Labor (DOL): The DOL enforces federal labor laws, such as minimum wage and overtime regulations, to ensure fair compensation and working conditions for employees.
  • U.S. Department of the Treasury: The U.S Department of the Treasury manages various financial aspects, including the handling of federal funds and payments linked to payroll taxes.
  • Nebraska Department of Revenue: The Nebraska Department of Revenue oversees the implementation of state tax laws, encompassing income and sales taxes. Employers in Nebraska may interact with this agency for state tax-related affairs.
  • Nebraska Department of Labor (NDOL): The NDOL supervises labor-related matters in the state, including unemployment insurance and wage and hour rules. Employers are obligated to report and remit state unemployment insurance contributions through this department.
  • Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Court: The Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Court is responsible for managing workers’ compensation claims and guaranteeing that employees injured at work receive the appropriate benefits. Employers must maintain workers’ compensation coverage and abide by state rules in this regard.
  • Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS): The DHHS is involved in specific payroll-related aspects, such as child support enforcement. Employers are required to report new hires to support efforts related to child support enforcement.
  • Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Insurance: Employers in Nebraska can secure workers’ compensation insurance from various providers to provide coverage for employees in cases of work-related injuries.

Applicable Taxes in Nebraska

Employer Contributions

  • Unemployment Taxes in Nebraska: Nebraska complies with the Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA), which establishes a standard federal rate of 6.0% on the first $7,000 of each employee’s wages. Employers in Nebraska are responsible for withholding and paying FUTA taxes to the federal government to support the unemployment benefits program.

Withheld from Employee’s Wages

  • State Income Taxes: Nebraska enforces a state income tax, encompassing both individual residents and corporate entities. The state employs a progressive income tax structure featuring multiple tax brackets, ranging from 2.46% to 5.84%. All income earned by individuals and corporations is subject to Nebraska’s state income tax. Furthermore, it’s worth noting that Nebraska doesn’t have a state-level sales tax; however, local jurisdictions have the authority to impose sales taxes, with a maximum rate of 2%.
  • Workers’ Compensation in Nebraska: Nebraska law mandates that employers should provide workers’ compensation coverage to their workforce. This system guarantees that employees who experience work-related injuries or illnesses receive compensation for their medical expenses and disability benefits. In the unfortunate circumstance of a work-related fatality, workers’ compensation benefits are extended to the dependents of the deceased employee.
  • Social Security (FICA) Withholding: Employers operating in Nebraska must comply with the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA). This federal legislation necessitates the deduction of taxes for Social Security and Medicare from employees’ salaries. Employers are also accountable for matching these withholdings by contributing an equivalent amount for Social Security and Medicare. Notably, for the additional Medicare tax, employers are only responsible for withholding the employee’s portion and are not required to match it themselves.

Additional Relevant Subtractions to Withhold on Behalf of Employees

In Nebraska, deductions from an employee’s wages can include federal itemized deductions or the federal standard deductions, as allowed by federal tax regulations. Employers can facilitate these deductions through formal written agreements with their employees, provided that such deductions are conducted in accordance with federal tax laws and do not reduce the employee’s wage below the minimum wage or overtime rates mandated by state and federal regulations. It’s important to ensure that these deductions are done in compliance with both state and federal laws to avoid legal issues and ensure fairness to employees.

Key Pay Elements That Impact Payroll in Nebraska

Minimum Wage

The current lowest pay permitted by law in Nebraska stands at $12.00 per hour for workers. Nebraska’s labor regulations prohibit employers from using tips to meet the minimum hourly wage.


Nebraska adheres to overtime regulations established by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The basic rule is that if an employee works more than 40 hours during a workweek, they must be compensated at a rate of 1.5 times their regular hourly wage. In Nebraska, where the minimum wage is $12.00, this results in an overtime rate of $18.00 per hour.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance

In Nebraska, employers must provide workers’ compensation coverage for their employees if they employ one or more workers, unless the employer has been granted approval as a self-insurer by the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Court. Similar to Alaska, there are specific exceptions to this regulation, which encompass certain part-time, seasonal, or specialized workers.

Pay Stub Laws

Nebraska employers are required to furnish employees with a pay statement during each pay period. This statement should outline the duration of the employee’s work, their earnings, and payments received. It must specify regular and overtime hours worked, hourly wage, total earnings, tax deductions, and any other deductions authorized by the employee. Furthermore, the pay stub should specify the start and end dates of the pay period.

Nebraska Payday and Minimum Pay Frequency

Employers in Nebraska can select from various methods to compensate their staff, including electronic means, paper checks, or cash. Alternative payment forms like vouchers, punch cards, or similar instruments are also allowed, provided they can be fully exchanged within the United States. Employers must ensure that employees receive their earnings without deductions, and the use of payment platforms with transaction fees on recipients is not permitted.

Wage Garnishment

Wage garnishment laws in Nebraska, much like in other states, are guided by both federal and state regulations. The Consumer Credit Protection Act (CCPA) sets limits on the maximum percentage of an individual’s income that can be garnished from their wages, typically capped at 25% of disposable income. Different types of debts, such as child support, alimony, student loans, and unpaid taxes, can be subject to wage garnishment. For debts like credit card or medical bills, a court judgment is generally required before wages can be garnished.

In Nebraska, state laws align with federal guidelines for wage garnishment and provide protections for employees. It is against the law to terminate an employee solely due to wage garnishment, except in cases involving multiple garnishments. Creditors are required to provide notice to the debtor before initiating wage garnishment, and debtors have the right to dispute the debt or request a hearing. Nebraska’s state laws specify the order in which various types of debts are handled and detail the process for wage garnishment.

Final Paycheck

An employer is required to provide a departing employee with their final paycheck either on the upcoming regularly scheduled pay date or within two weeks, depending on which comes first. Similarly, an employee who voluntarily resigns from their job is entitled to receive their final paycheck on the upcoming regularly scheduled pay date or within two weeks, whichever occurs earlier.

Step-by-Step Guide to Payroll in Nebraska

Managing payroll in Nebraska involves several important steps. To begin, follow this straightforward breakdown:

  • Understand Payroll Regulations for Your Business: It’s crucial to be aware of and adhere to the payroll regulations that apply to your company in Nebraska. These rules come from both state and federal authorities. In Nebraska, consider factors such as minimum wage, overtime rules, tax deductions, and other aspects affecting payroll.
  • Register Your Company as an Employer with the IRS: This involves obtaining your Employer Identification Number (EIN) and setting up an account in the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS). For new businesses, it’s important to get an EIN before creating a customized payroll process. The EIN is a unique identifier used by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to track your tax-related activities. You can easily apply for an EIN online using Form SS-4.
  • Register with the State of Nebraska: If your business operates in Nebraska, you need to register it with the state. New businesses can complete the necessary forms for business licensing with the Nebraska Secretary of State. Additionally, Nebraska businesses must register with the Nebraska Department of Revenue for tax purposes.
  • Classify Your Employees: It’s crucial to correctly classify employees and independent contractors to handle their tax obligations accurately. In Nebraska, the Economic Reality Test is used to determine an individual’s status as an independent contractor.
  • Collect Employee Payroll Forms: Newly hired employees must submit required documentation, including payroll forms, as part of their onboarding process. All employees must undergo I-9 verification within the first few days of employment. Additionally, each employee should have a completed W-4 form on file.
  • Set Up a Payroll Schedule: Determine the dates for employee paychecks. Nebraska payroll regulations stipulate that employees should be paid within standard pay periods, which should not exceed one calendar month or thirty days.
  • Track Time and Attendance: Accurate time and attendance tracking is essential for precise payroll management. Employers should Keep records of employee workweeks, overtime calculations, break times, paid leave, and sick leave entitlements. To simplify payroll management and time tracking, tools like time and attendance software, a payroll hours tracker, or a time-off tracker can help.
  • File Federal Payroll Taxes in Nebraska: Follow IRS regulations for federal taxes, including unemployment tax. When submitting federal tax payments, you have two options: If the IRS assigns a monthly schedule, you should deposit employment taxes for payments within a calendar month by the 15th of the following month. If the IRS designates a semiweekly schedule, you should deposit employment taxes for payments made on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday by the following Wednesday, and for payments on Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, by the following Friday.
  • Maintain Payroll Records: In Nebraska, it’s important to keep accurate records of your employees’ payroll, including their work hours, pay statements, tax forms, and other relevant paperwork. Federal and state laws require Nebraska employers to retain these records for a certain period, typically at least three years. Keeping these records secure is necessary to comply with audit rules and have proof available in case of questions or investigations by tax authorities.
  • File Annual Payroll Reports: Each year, you must complete government reports, including W-2 Forms and 1099 Forms. Employees should receive these forms no later than January 31 of the following year.

Final Thoughts

Complying with payroll regulations in Nebraska demands a strong understanding of the state’s employment laws. Employers and business owners operating in Nebraska must ensure strict adherence to the state’s payroll requirements. To simplify the process of managing payroll, you should consider exploring our list of the top 6 applications tailored to streamline payroll responsibilities in the United States. If you’ve already established a payroll system, we’ve provided ten tips to enhance your payroll procedure within the United States.

Important Cautionary Note

This content is provided for informational purposes only. While we make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information presented, we cannot guarantee that it is free of errors or omissions. Users are advised to independently verify any critical information and should not solely rely on the content provided.