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LEGAL UPDATE: Changes to NC Wage and Hour Laws

Jacqueline C. Hawkins

Changes to the North Carolina Wage and Hour Act (NCWHA), effective July 8, 2021, may affect how employers approach certain payroll practices.

Some of the more notable changes include the requirement that employers must now provide written notification of promised wages and give an extended period of notice prior to making any changes in those promised wages. In addition, separated employees must submit a request in writing if they want their final paycheck mailed to them and the paycheck must be sent using a trackable method.

Written Notification of promised wages

One of the more notable revisions modified N.C.G.S §95-25.13(1) by deleting the word “orally”.  The statute now requires an employer to notify employees in writing at the time of hire of promised wages and the day and place for the payment of such wages. The statute does not require any particular form of notice.

Notification period for a change in wages

Gone are the days of providing at least 24 hours notice for a change in wages.  Employers are now required to provide a notice of at least one pay period (N.C.G.S §95-25.13(3)) for any reduction in an employee’s wages. An increase, however, may be retroactively made without prior notice.

Final Pay to Separated Employees

This change is a revision to N.C.G.S. §95-25.7 which now requires final pay to separated employees be made either through regular pay channels or trackable mail.  Final wages must be paid on or before the next regularly scheduled payday as the employee would have otherwise received that payment or by trackable mail IF requested by the employee in writing.  It has always been the case that final wages could be mailed to an employee, however, the important change here is that now the request must be made by the employee in writing and the mail must be trackable.

With the recent changes in mind, it may be a good time to take a look at your company onboarding and payroll practices.  Executive Legal Services was established with the intent to build a unique platform to assist business owners in proactively approaching the often changing and unpredictable legal environment with confidence.

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