Nebraska Prompt Payment Guide and FAQs

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Nebraska Prompt Payment Rules for Construction

Nebraska Prompt Payment Requirements


  • Private Jobs
  • Public Jobs
30
DAYS
Prime Contractors

On private projects, Nebraska property owners must pay the general contractor within 30 days after payment request. Retainage must be released within 45 days of the project's substantial completion.


10
DAYS
Subcontractors

General contractors in Nebraska must pay subcontractors within 10 days after receiving payment. This deadline applies to retainage payments as well.


10
DAYS
Suppliers

Payment is due to material suppliers on private projects within 10 days after the hiring party receives payment.


1%
/ MONTH
Interest & Fees

Nebraska's Prompt Payment Act for private construction projects charges interest of 1% per month on late payments.

45
DAYS
Prime Contractors

Public agencies in Nebraska must pay the Prime Contractor within 45 days after either receipt of an invoice or receipt of services, whichever is later.


NO
DAYS
Subcontractors

On public construction projects, payments to subcontractors are not regulated by Nebraska statute.


NO
DAYS
Suppliers

On public construction projects, payments to suppliers are not regulated by Nebraska statute.


YES
Interest & Fees

Nebraska's Prompt Payment Act for public projects sets the interest penalty equal to "the average short-term borrowing rate for the federal government during July of the previous year rounded to the nearest whole percentage” plus 3%.

Prompt payment laws in Nebraska set a deadline for payments on both public and private construction projects. If payment is late, interest penalties and attorney fees may apply. This page explains exactly when those laws apply on construction projects in Nebraska, and details the deadlines and penalties.

Projects Covered by Prompt Payment in Nebraska

The Nebraska prompt payment provisions are split into two sections, covering both private and public projects. These statutes govern the timing of all payments on construction projects, and impose penalties for late payment in the form of interest.

Private Projects

Payments on private projects are regulated by the Nebraska Construction Prompt Pay Act, found in Neb. Rev. Stat. §45-1201 et seq. These regulations apply to all private projects except residential projects of 4 units or fewer.

Payment Deadlines for Private Projects

On private construction projects in Nebraska, the property owner has 30 days to make payments to the prime contractor after receiving a payment request. In order to qualify, the prime contractor must perform in accordance with the contract, and submit a request for payment.

Once the prime contractor receives payment from the owner, they must pay their subcontractors and suppliers within 10 days. This 10-day payment deadline applies to all other payments made down the payment chain on private projects.

The property owner must pay retainage within 45 days of substantial completion of the project. Within 10 days of receiving the retainage payment from the owner, the GC must release retainage to subcontractors.

Penalties for Late Payment on Private Projects

For late payments on private projects in Nebraska, interest will accrue at a rate of 1% per month (or a pro rata fraction thereof). However, interest will only accrue if the non-paying party was notified by the contractor or sub. In addition, if the dispute goes to court, the court may award attorney fees to the prevailing party.

Note that Nebraska’s prompt payment provisions for private projects do provide certain reasons when payments can be properly withheld. However, if none of these exist, and payment is late or otherwise wrongfully withheld, the unpaid balance will be subject to interest penalties.

Public Projects

Payments on public construction projects in Nebraska are governed by the state’s Prompt Payment Act, found in Neb. Rev. Stat. §81-2401 et seq. These payment deadlines and penalties apply to all public works projects within the state except those related to highway or road construction, or those that are funded exclusively by the federal government.

Payment Deadlines for Public Projects

On public works projects in Nebraska, only payments from the public agency to the prime contractor are regulated. The hiring agency must make payment to the prime contractor within 45 days of receiving either a request for payment, or the goods and services themselves, whichever is later. Goods or services are deemed to be “received” when they are actually accepted by the agency.

Payments from the prime to subcontractors and suppliers are not regulated by Nebraska’s Prompt Payment Act. Instead, these payments are regulated by the terms of the contract between the parties.

Penalties for Late Payment on Public Projects

Nebraska’s Prompt Payment Act sets the interest rate for late payments equal to “the average short-term borrowing rate for the federal government during July of the previous year rounded to the nearest whole percentage” plus 3%.

As with private projects, the prompt payment statutes allow for certain circumstances in which payments can be properly withheld. However, if payments are late or otherwise improperly withheld, interest penalties will be imposed.

 

Nebraska Prompt Payment FAQs

Frequently asked questions about prompt payment laws in Nebraska, with answers written by construction attorneys and payment experts.

FAQs

How do I qualify for prompt payment penalties in Nebraska?

On qualifying private projects in Nebraska, prompt payment requirements automatically apply. However, the unpaid contractor or supplier must notify the hiring party of the prompt payment provisions before interest will begin to accrue.

On public projects in Nebraska, the Prompt Payment Act only regulates payments to the general contractor. In order to collect interest penalties, the GC must request the interest within 90 days from the payment due date.

What are the penalties for late payments under Nebraska's Prompt Payment Acts?

Nebraska has separate prompt pay statutes that apply, depending on whether the construction project is private or public; so late payment penalties will differ.

For late payments on private construction projects in Nebraska, the interest penalty is 1% per month. (In order to qualify to receive the interest payment, unpaid parties must notify the hiring party about the prompt payment provisions.)

On public works projects in Nebraska, the interest penalty is equal to “the average short-term borrowing rate for the federal government during July of the previous year rounded to the nearest whole percentage” plus 3%.

When can payments be withheld according to Nebraska's Prompt Payment Acts?

On private construction projects, Nebraska caps retainage at 10%. In addition, the law allows payments to be withheld for the following reasons:

  1. Reasonable evidence showing that the completion date set forth by contract will not be met due to unsatisfactory job progress;
  2. Third-party claims filed or reasonable evidence thereof with respect to contract work;
  3. Failure to make timely payments for labor, equipment, subcontractors, or materials.

However, if a payment is late, qualifying parties may also file a mechanics lien in Nebraska to recover the unpaid balance.

Nebraska’s Prompt Payment Act for public works projects allows allows payments to be withheld due to a good faith dispute. However, the hiring party must provide notice of the dispute before the payment due date. The Prompt Payment Act goes back in effect on the date that the dispute is resolved.

 

How do I recover interest under Nebraska's prompt payment laws?

If your hiring party doesn’t automatically pay the interest penalty, there are generally 2 steps to recover the prompt payment penalties on private projects in Nebraska:

  1. Provide notice to the non-paying party
    This may take the form of a prompt payment demand letter or a notice of intent to make a prompt payment claim. The main requirement is that the unpaid party provide notice of the prompt payment provisions that apply.
  2. Make a prompt pay claim
    Filing a prompt payment claim requires bringing suit in civil court.

On public construction projects, the Nebraska public agency is required to pay the interest charge upon request; GCs must submit a request within 90 days. If they still fail to pay the interest, you may need to make a prompt payment claim in civil court.

Can I include prompt payment fees in a mechanics lien or bond claim in Nebraska?

No. Miscellaneous amounts are not allowed in a mechanics lien in Nebraska. Similarly, on a public project, a Nebraska bond claim is limited to the amount unpaid according to the contract.

If the paying party doesn’t provide the interest payment upon request (or demand), claimants will need to make a prompt payment claim: Learn how to make a claim under prompt payment laws.

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Nebraska Prompt Payment Statutes

Getting informed about prompt payment laws is important. An examination of Nebraska’s prompt payment laws, the rules and regulations related to payment timing, is important to know your rights and responsibilities as a party on a construction project. Nebraska’s specific laws can be found in: Neb. Stat. §§ 45-1201 – 45-1210, Neb. Stat. §§ 81-2401 – 81-2408, and Neb. Stat. § 39-1349 , and are reproduced below.

Prompt Payment Statute on Private Projects

45-1201: Act, How Cited

Sections 45-1201 to 45-1211 shall be known and may be cited as the Nebraska Construction Prompt Pay Act.

45-1202: Terms, Defined

For purposes of the Nebraska Construction Prompt Pay Act:

(1) Contractor includes individuals, firms, partnerships, limited liability companies, corporations, or other associations of persons engaged in the business of the construction, alteration, repairing, dismantling, or demolition of buildings, roads, bridges, viaducts, sewers, water and gas mains, streets, disposal plants, water filters, tanks and towers, airports, dams, levees and canals, water wells, pipelines, transmission and power lines, and every other type of structure, project, development, or improvement coming within the definition of real property and personal property, including such construction, repairing, or alteration of such property to be held either for sale or rental. Contractor also includes any subcontractor engaged in the business of such activities and any person who is providing or arranging for labor for such activities, either as an employee or as an independent contractor, for any contractor or person. Contractor does not include an individual or an entity performing work on a contract for the State of Nebraska or performing work on a federal-aid or state-aid project of a political subdivision in which the state makes payments to the contractor on behalf of the political subdivision;

(2) Owner means a person (a) who has an interest in any real property improved, (b) for whom an improvement is made, or (c) who contracted for an improvement to be made. Owner includes a person, an entity, or any political subdivision of this state. Owner does not include the State of Nebraska;

(3) Owner’s representative means an architect, an engineer, or a construction manager in charge of a project for the owner or such other contract representative or officer as designated in the contract document as the party representing the owner’s interest regarding administration and oversight of the project;

(4) Real property means real estate that is improved, including private and public land, and leaseholds, tenements, and improvements placed on the real property;

(5) Receipt means actual receipt of cash or funds by the contractor or subcontractor;

(6) Subcontractor means a person or an entity that has contracted to furnish labor or materials to, or performed labor or supplied materials for, a contractor or another subcontractor in connection with a contract to improve real property. Subcontractor includes materialmen and suppliers. Subcontractor does not include an individual or an entity performing work as a subcontractor on a contract for the State of Nebraska or performing work on a federal-aid or state-aid project of a political subdivision in which the state makes payments to the contractor on behalf of the political subdivision; and

(7) Substantially complete means the stage of a construction project when the project, or a designated portion thereof, is sufficiently complete in accordance with the contract so that the owner can occupy or utilize the project for its intended use.

45-1203: Contractor Payment; Payment Request; Subcontractor Payment; Retainage Payment

(1) When a contractor has performed work in accordance with the provisions of a contract with an owner, the owner shall pay the contractor within thirty days after receipt by the owner or the owner’s representative of a payment request made pursuant to the contract.

(2) When a subcontractor has performed work in accordance with the provisions of a subcontract and all conditions precedent to payment contained in the subcontract have been satisfied, the contractor shall pay the subcontractor and the subcontractor shall pay his, her, or its subcontractor, within ten days after receipt by the contractor or subcontractor of each periodic or final payment, the full amount received for the subcontractor’s work and materials based on work completed or service provided under the subcontract for which the subcontractor has properly requested payment, if the subcontractor provides or has provided satisfactory and reasonable assurances of continued performance and financial responsibility to complete the work.

(3) The owner or the owner’s representative shall release and pay all retainage for work completed in accordance with the provisions of the contract within forty-five days after the project, or a designated portion thereof, is substantially complete. When a subcontractor has performed work in accordance with the provisions of a subcontract and all conditions precedent to payment contained in the subcontract have been satisfied, the contractor shall pay all retainage due such subcontractor within ten days after receipt of the retainage.

45-1204: Withholdings; Authorized

When work has been performed pursuant to a contract, an owner, a contractor, or a subcontractor may only withhold payment:

(1) For retainage, in an amount not to exceed the amount specified in the applicable contract, which shall not exceed a rate of ten percent. If the scope of work for the contractor or subcontractor from which retainage is withheld is fifty percent complete and if the contractor or subcontractor has performed work in accordance with the provisions in the applicable contract, no more than five percent of any additional progress payment may be withheld as retainage if the contractor or subcontractor provides or has provided satisfactory and reasonable assurances of continued performance and financial responsibility to complete the work;

(2) Of a reasonable amount, to the extent that such withholding is allowed in the contract, for any of the following reasons:

(a) Reasonable evidence showing that the contractual completion date will not be met due to unsatisfactory job progress;

(b) Third-party claims filed or reasonable evidence that such a claim will be filed with respect to work under the contract; or

(c) Failure of the contractor to make timely payments for labor, equipment, subcontractors, or materials; or

(3) After substantial completion, in an amount not to exceed one hundred twenty-five percent of the estimated cost to complete the work remaining on the contract.

45-1205: Delay in Payment; Additional Interest Payment

Except as provided in section 45-1204, if a periodic or final payment to (1) a contractor is delayed by more than thirty days after receipt of a properly submitted periodic or final payment request by the owner or owner’s representative or (2) a subcontractor is delayed by more than ten days after receipt of a periodic or final payment by the contractor or subcontractor, then the remitting owner, contractor, or subcontractor shall pay the contractor or subcontractor interest due until such amount is paid, beginning on the day following the payment due date at the rate of one percent per month or a pro rata fraction thereof on the unpaid balance. Interest is due under this section only after the person charged the interest has been notified of the provisions of this section by the contractor or subcontractor. Acceptance of progress payments or a final payment shall release all claims for interest on such payments.

45-1206: Other Remedies Available

The Nebraska Construction Prompt Pay Act shall not modify the remedies available to any person under the terms of a contract in existence prior to October 1, 2010, or by any other statute.

45-1207: Residential Real Property; Applicability of Act

The Nebraska Construction Prompt Pay Act does not apply to improvements to real property intended for residential purposes when the residence consists of no more than four residential units.

45-1208: Applicability to Contracts Entered into on or after October 1, 2010.

The Nebraska Construction Prompt Pay Act applies to contracts or subcontracts entered into on or after October 1, 2010.

45-1209: Contract Provisions; Void

The following provisions in any contract or subcontract for construction work performed within the State of Nebraska shall be against public policy and shall be void and unenforceable:

(1) A provision that purports to waive, release, or extinguish rights to file a claim against a payment or performance bond, except that a contract or subcontract may require a contractor or subcontractor to provide a waiver or release of such rights as a condition for payment, but only to the extent of the amount of the payment received;

(2) A provision that purports to make any state law other than that of Nebraska applicable to or governing any contract for construction within the state; or

(3) A provision that purports to require that the venue for a court or arbitration hearing be held at any location outside of the state.

45-1210: Construction Performed for Political Subdivision; Liquidated or Unliquidated Claim; Procedure; Civil Action Authorized

(1) Any liquidated or unliquidated claim against any political subdivision of this state arising from construction performed for such political subdivision shall: (a) Be presented in writing to the individual or officer as set forth in subsection (2) of this section; (b) state the name of the claimant and the amount of the claim; and (c) identify the item or service for which payment is claimed or the time, place, nature, and circumstance giving rise to the claim. All claims shall be filed within one hundred eighty days after the date of substantial completion of the construction project.

(2) A construction contract entered into by any political subdivision of this state may provide the name and location of the office in which a claim under this section may be filed. In the absence of such provision, a written claim shall be filed as follows:

(a) Claims against a city of the metropolitan, primary, first, or second class shall be filed with the appropriate city clerk;

(b) Claims against a village shall be filed with the village clerk;

(c) Claims against a county shall be filed with the county clerk; and

(d) Claims against any other political subdivision shall be filed with the person who executed the contract on behalf of the political subdivision or that person’s successor in office.

(3) The applicable political subdivision shall issue a decision on the claim within ninety days after receipt thereof. If no decision has been issued after such period, the claim shall be deemed to be denied in whole and the claimant may commence an action in accordance with subsection (4) of this section.

(4) If a claim is denied in whole or in part, a claimant may bring a civil action on the claim. An action under this subsection may only be brought within two years after the denial of the claim or the date upon which the claim is deemed to be denied. Any such action shall be in the nature of an original action and not an appeal and shall be commenced in the district court of the county in which the construction project at issue was located. Either party may appeal from the decision of the district court.

(5) Notwithstanding any other provision of law in Chapters 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, and 23, claims against a political subdivision of this state arising from construction performed for such political subdivision shall be governed by this section.

Prompt Payment Statute on Public Projects

81-2401:

Sections 81-2401 to 81-2408 shall be known and may be cited as the Prompt Payment Act.

81-2402: Terms, Defined

As used in the Prompt Payment Act, unless the context otherwise requires:

(1) Agency shall mean the state and any agency, department, office, commission, board, panel, or division of the state. Agency shall include the University of Nebraska and the Nebraska state colleges;

(2) Bill shall mean a proper billing or invoice which requests a payment and which is supplemented by all necessary verification and forms required by agency rules and regulations to process payments;

(3) Creditor shall mean any person, corporation, association, or other business concern engaged in a trade or business, either on a for-profit or not-for-profit basis, and providing any goods or services to an agency;

(4) Good faith dispute shall mean:

(a) A contention by the agency that goods delivered or services rendered were of less quantity or quality than ordered or specified by contract, faulty, or installed improperly; or

(b) Any other reason giving cause for the withholding of payment by the agency until the dispute is settled, except that failure to give notice as prescribed in section 81-2405 shall preclude an agency from claiming a good faith dispute in the case of a defective or improper billing;

(5) Goods shall mean any goods, supplies, materials, equipment, or other personal property but shall not mean any real property; and

(6) Services shall mean any contractual services, including, but not limited to, architectural, engineering, medical, financial consulting, or other professional services, any construction services, and any other personal services but shall not mean any services performed as an officer or employee of any agency.

81-2403: Goods or Services; Payment in Full; When Required

(1) Except as provided in subsection (2) of this section, each agency shall make payment in full for all goods delivered or services rendered on or before the forty-fifth calendar day after (a) the date of receipt by the agency of the goods or services or (b) the date of receipt by the agency of the bill for the goods or services, whichever is later, unless other provisions for payment are agreed to in writing by the creditor and the agency.

(2) Any agency making payment for goods or services provided for third parties shall make payment in full for such goods or services on or before the sixtieth calendar day after the date of receipt by the agency of the bill.

(3) No goods or services shall be deemed to be received by an agency until all such goods or services are completely delivered and finally accepted by the agency. For purposes of determining whether payment was made in accordance with this section, payment in full by an agency shall be considered to be made on the date the warrant or check for such payment was mailed or otherwise transmitted.

81-2404: Creditor; Charge interest

Any creditor of an agency not receiving payment in full for goods delivered or services rendered within the forty-five-day or sixty-day time period, whichever is applicable, may charge the agency interest on the unpaid principal balance at the rate specified in section 45-104.02, as such rate may from time to time be adjusted. Interest charges shall begin to accrue on the thirty-first calendar day after (1) the date of receipt by the agency of the goods or services or (2) the date of receipt by the agency of the bill for the goods or services, whichever is later, and shall terminate on the date on which payment in full of the amount due is made. Each agency shall pay the interest charge upon request unless the bill is the subject of a good faith dispute between the agency and the creditor. No claim by a creditor for interest charges shall be allowed unless the agency is requested to pay the interest charges within ninety calendar days from the date on which payment in full is due.

81-2405: Incorrect Bill; Notice to Creditor; Corrected Bill

When a bill submitted to an agency is filled out incorrectly or when there is any defect or impropriety in a bill submitted, the agency shall notify the creditor in writing prior to the date on which payment in full is due. The notice shall contain a description of the defect or impropriety and any additional information necessary to enable the creditor to correct the bill. Upon receiving a properly corrected bill, the agency shall make payment in full of the bill on or before the forty-fifth calendar day after the receipt of the corrected bill or, when the agency is making payment for goods or services provided by a third party, on or before the sixtieth calendar day after the receipt of the corrected bill.

81-2406: Act; How Construed

Nothing in the Prompt Payment Act shall be construed to prohibit full or partial payments by agencies for goods or services whether or not such goods or services have been completely received or finally accepted by the agencies.

81-2407: Act; Applicability

The Prompt Payment Act shall not apply to the following:

(1) Claims subject to a good faith dispute if notice of the dispute is conveyed to the creditor in writing before the time required for payment, except that the Prompt Payment Act shall take effect on the date that the dispute is resolved;

(2) Contracts related to highway or road construction, reconstruction, or maintenance; and

(3) Claims, contracts, or projects which are to be paid for exclusively with federal funds.

81-2408: Agency; Reports

Each agency shall report monthly to the Director of Administrative Services and the Legislative Fiscal Analyst any account that has not been paid within the applicable time period prescribed by section 81-2403. The report submitted to the Legislative Fiscal Analyst shall be submitted electronically. Each agency shall report annually any interest charge on a past-due account, whether paid or unpaid, to the Governor and to the Appropriations Committee of the Legislature. The report submitted to the committee shall be submitted electronically.

39-1349: Construction Contracts; Interest on Retained Payments; Predetermined Minimum Wages.

(1) Except as provided in subsection (3) of this section, all contracts for the construction, reconstruction, improvement, maintenance, or repair of state highway system roads and bridges and their appurtenances shall be let by the department to the lowest responsible bidder who has been qualified by the department. The department may reject any or all bids and cause the work to be done as may be directed by the department. If the contractor has furnished the department all required records and reports, the department shall pay to the contractor interest at a rate three percentage points above the average annual Federal Reserve composite prime lending rate for the previous calendar year rounded to the nearest one-tenth of one percent on the amount retained and on the final payment due the contractor beginning sixty days after the work under the contract has been completed as evidenced by the completion date established in the department’s letter of tentative acceptance or, when tentative acceptance has not been issued, beginning sixty days after completion of the work and running until the date when payment is tendered to the contractor.

(2) When the department is required by acts of Congress and rules and regulations made by an agent of the United States in pursuance of such acts to predetermine minimum wages to be paid laborers and mechanics employed on highway construction, the Director-State Engineer shall cause minimum rates of wages for such laborers and mechanics to be predetermined and set forth in contracts for such construction. The minimum rates shall be the scale of wages which the Director-State Engineer finds are paid and maintained by at least fifty percent of the contractors in performing highway work contracted with the department unless the Director-State Engineer further finds that such scale of wages so determined would unnecessarily increase the cost of such highway work to the state, in which event he or she shall reduce such determination to such scale of wages as he or she finds is required to avoid such unnecessary increase in the cost of such highway work.

(3) The department, in its sole discretion, may permit a city or county to let state or federally funded contracts for the construction, reconstruction, improvement, maintenance, or repair of state highways, bridges, and their appurtenances located within the jurisdictional boundaries of such city or county, to the lowest responsible bidder prequalified to bid by the department when the work to be let is primarily local in nature and the department determines that it is in the public interest that the contract be let by the city or the county.

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