North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper signed into law amendments to the North Carolina Wage and Hour Act changing employers’ obligations to notify employees about their wages. The changes can be found here and are effective now.
North Carolina General Statute § 95-25.7 “Payment to separated employees” previously required employers to pay a terminated employee 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 is now amended to require the employee to submit a request in writing, if the employee wishes the wages be sent via mail. Additionally, the employer is required to send the wages via trackable mail. The amendment does not change the mail requirement, but now requires that the employer add tracking so that the employee may track the wages from the employer.
North Carolina General Statute § 95-25.13 “Notification, posting, and records” previously required the employer to notify the employee at the time of hiring either orally or in writing of the promised wages, and the day and place for payment. Moreover, the employer needed to notify employees in writing or through a posted notice maintained in a place accessible to its employees, at least 24 hours prior to any changes to employee’s wages.
Now, the amended law requires that the employer notify the employee at the time of hiring by written notice of the promised wages, and the day and place for payment. The law is further amended to require the employer to provide written notice to the individual employee of any changes to their wages, at least one pay period before any changes are made.
The North Carolina Labor Commissioner may assess a civil penalty of up to two hundred fifty dollars ($250.00) per employee with the maximum not to exceed two thousand dollars ($2,000.00) per violation. Previously, the North Carolina Wage and Hour Act capped the civil penalty per investigation. In determining the amount of the penalty, the Commissioner considers:
- The appropriateness of the penalty for the size of the business of the employer charged;
- The gravity of the violation, and
- Whether the violation involves an employee under the age of 18.
These changes are not significant, but do require employer action. We recommend consulting your current wage policies and ensure compliance with the above amendments. If you have any questions about this client alert, please contact your SGR Labor and Employment counsel.