Wage and hour laws regulate the conditions of a worker’s employment and how much the employee is compensated for his or her time. These laws exist at both the state and federal level and set forth things such as minimum wages, how many hours can be worked in a day, overtime pay and benefits. Since employers are required to operate in full compliance with these laws, it is critical that they understand the topics that are covered.
Minimum Wage in North Carolina
The minimum wage rate in North Carolina is currently $7.25 per hour. This is the same as the current federal minimum wage rate.
Minimum Wage of Tipped Workers: North Carolina employers are allowed a credit for a certain amount of tips earned by its employees. This means that employers can pay tipped employees the federal tipped minimum wage of $2.13 per hour as long as when the wages are combined with the employees’ tips, it equals at least the hourly minimum wage rate. In circumstances where tip pooling is practiced, employees must retain 85 percent of the tips they receive.
Does Minimum Wage Apply to Me: The requirement to pay minimum wage applies to most North Carolina employers whose annual dollar volume is under $500,000. State exemptions include students and apprentices, certain domestic workers, some government employees and actors and performers. Exemptions also exist under federal law for certain employees such as executives and managers, computer professionals, agricultural workers and outside salespeople. Employers should contact the North Carolina Department of Labor for more information about minimum wage and exemptions.
When Are Raises Required: Under North Carolina law, employers are not required to pay employees more than what is required by the minimum wage and overtime provisions. It is up to an employer’s discretion whether it chooses to give an employee a raise. However, if a raise was agreed upon through an employment contract or other agreement, the employer is required to provide such a raise accordingly.
Work Hours in North Carolina
Neither state nor federal law limits the number of hours an employee who is over the age of 18 can work. An employer can adjust an employee’s hours at its sole discretion, regardless of what hours the employee is scheduled to work.
Paying Overtime: In general, employees must be paid 1.5 times their normal rate for any hours worked over 40 in a single work week. Just because an employee is salaried does not necessarily mean that he or she is exempt from receiving overtime. Exempt employees include executives, administrative supervisors and certain professional employees. A salaried employee who is exempt from overtime must make a guaranteed weekly salary of at least $455, except for outside salespeople.
Guaranteed Breaks and Meals: There is no provision in either federal or state law that guarantees adult workers breaks for meals or for rest. It is up to an employer whether employees shall receive any breaks. State law does allow for breaks for workers in North Carolina who are 16 years of age and under. Federal law requires that breaks be provided for nursing mothers to express milk for up to one year after their child is born.
Paid Time Off and Sick Pay: Vacation pay is not required under the law, and it is at the employer’s discretion to choose whether such paid time off is offered. While private employers are not required to provide employees with paid or unpaid sick leave, some may choose to do so as an employee benefit. If vacation or sick pay. is promised or agreed upon, the employer is bound to provide it.
Notice Period for Employee Termination: Unless the employee has signed a contract or employment agreement that provides for a notice period, North Carolina employers can terminate a worker’s employment at any time and by any method they choose.
Plant Closings & Layoffs: While there is no state law on this subject, federal law requires 60 days’ notice to employees if the company has at least 100 full-time employees and at least 100 employees whose combined weekly work hours total 4,000.
The content on our website is only meant to provide general information and is not legal advice. We make our best efforts to make sure the information is accurate, but we cannot guarantee it. Do not rely on the content as legal advice. For assistance with legal problems or for a legal inquiry please contact you attorney.