The North Carolina Wage and Hour Act is codified at N.C. Gen. Stat. § 95‑25.1 et seq. and governs employment-related topics such as minimum wage, overtime, youth employment, wage payment, payment to separated employees, wages in dispute, withholding of wages, vacation pay plans, and notice and recordkeeping requirements. Both employers and employees should be familiar with the provisions of the Act, as employers who violate the Act can be liable for two times the amount of any wrongfully withheld wages, plus attorneys’ fees and costs, as well as other monetary penalties for violating other provisions of the Act.
Recently, on July 8, 2021, Senate Bill 208 was ratified and became effective immediately in North Carolina, detailing important changes to the Act. First, employers now must provide, at the time of hiring, written notice to the employee of his or her promised wages and the day and means of paying those wages (e.g., that the wages will be paid via direct deposit). Previously, § 95-25.13(1) allowed such notice to be made orally. Second, an employer reducing the wages of an employee must give the employee at least one pay period’s notice pursuant to § 95‑25.13(3), whereas the rule previously required only 24 hours’ notice. Next, pursuant to § 95‑25.7, employers must deliver final pay to separated employees on or before the next regular payday, either through the regular method of delivery or by trackable mail upon the written request of the employee. Employers previously could send the final paycheck via regular mail upon the verbal request of the employee. Finally, employers who violate § 95‑25.15(b), which requires employers to make, keep, and preserve records of their employees, will be liable for a civil penalty of up to $250.00 per employee, with the maximum not to exceed $2,000 per violation, as opposed to per investigation under the previous version of the statute.
Employers must be mindful of these changes to avoid civil penalties, and employees should be aware of the updates as well so they may protect their rights. If you need assistance maintaining or defending a lawsuit related to an alleged violation of the North Carolina Wage and Hour Act, please contact us at (704) 457-1010. For more information regarding our firm, attorneys, and practice areas, please visit our website at www.lindleylawoffice.com