The North Carolina Wage and Hour Act (NCWHA) governs the payment of wages to workers employed in North Carolina and is enforced by the North Carolina Department of Labor. Effective July 8, 2021, various provisions of the NCWHA were amended, as summarized below.
Prior to these amendments, employers were required to pay terminated employees all wages due by the next regular payday after the separation, either “through the regular pay channels or by mail if requested by the employee.” The law now requires that employers issue final paychecks to separated employees using the regular payroll method used by the employer and may alternatively mail a separated employee’s final paycheck only if (1) the employee makes a written request for payment by mail and (2) the employer uses trackable mail to send the final paycheck, which likely requires delivery via certified mail or United States Postal Service Priority Mail. It is recommended that the employer maintain a record of the employee’s written request for payment of their final paycheck by mail and confirmation of delivery of the final paycheck in the separated employee’s personnel records.
Prior to amendment of the NCWHA, employers faced a maximum civil penalty of $2,000.00 per investigation for violations of its recordkeeping requirements. That penalty has now been increased such that the maximum exposure is $2,000.00 per violation. North Carolina Department of Labor investigations generally involve reviewing numerous employee records, each of which is now potential minefields for individual liability. The NCWHA and the regulations on wage payment require that every employer maintain complete and accurate records which contain the following information for each employee in each workweek, unless the employee is specifically exempted: (1) full name; (2) home address, including zip code and phone number; (3) date of birth if the employee is under the age of 20; (4) occupation or job title; (5) time of day and day of the week the employee’s workweek begins; (6) regular rate of pay; (7) hours worked each workday; (8) total hours worked each workweek; (9) total straight-time earnings each workweek; (10) total overtime earnings each workweek; (11) total additions to or deductions from wages; (12) total gross wages paid each pay period; and (13) date of each payment. In addition, such records shall include, where applicable, tip credits; costs of meals, lodging, or other facilities; start and end time for youth workers under the age of 18; youth employment certificates; wage deductions; vacation and sick leave policies; policies and procedures relating to promised wages; and records required to compute wages. Employers must maintain all wage records for each employee for a period of three (3) years.
If you have questions about this amended statute or any other employment-related matter, please call Connie Carrigan at (919) 250-2119 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Connie Elder Carrigan is an accomplished Employment Law attorney with a passion for helping clients, individuals, employers, and business representatives in planning for their future - from creating initial documents for a new company to advising on compensation, harassment and discrimination, and employment agreements - to estate planning, Connie advises clients with shrewdness and prudence backed by over three decades of experience.