Client Alert: Changes to Hiring and Termination Process Under New Administrative Rules in North Carolina

Hutchison PLLC
Governor Roy Cooper signed into law changes to the North Carolina Wage and Hour Act that change employer hiring and termination processes. The changes are effective immediately.

Hiring New Employees: At the time of hiring, employers must notify new employees, in writing, of the promised wages and the day and place for payment.

  • If employers already use written offer letters for all new hires, this new obligation may already be met if the offer letter states:
    • The promised wages (hourly rate or monthly/annual salary)
    • Date of payment (i.e., the second Friday and last day of the month, or such other regular payroll schedule adopted by the employer)
    • Place of the payment (describe how the regular paychecks will be delivered or how ACH transfers can be arranged).
  • If employers do not use written offer letters, they should begin utilizing a written offer process that meets the new statutory requirements.

Decrease in Wage Rate: If an employer needs to adjust an employee’s wages downward, then it must provide the employee with written notice at least one pay period prior to the change. There is no notice requirement for any upward adjustments to wages. 

Termination of Employment: Upon a termination of employment, final wages must be paid on or before the next regular payday either through the regular pay channels or by trackable mail if requested by the employee in writing, regardless of the reason for the termination of employment.

  • If the employee’s wages are regularly paid via mail, then the final paycheck may also be sent by mail without a written request. But we recommend using a trackable form of mail.
  • If an employee’s wages are regularly paid via ACH deposit or hand delivery, the final paycheck must be delivered using the same method, unless the employee agrees in writing to have it sent via trackable mail.
  • If an employee who regularly receives their paycheck through hand delivery has been terminated for cause, or may otherwise present a safety hazard to the workplace, and has not otherwise made a voluntary request to have their final paycheck mailed, we recommend that the employer take appropriate and reasonable precautions to avoid any safety risks. For example, we recommend proactively including an authorization to mail the final paycheck in the employee's other exit paperwork for them to review and sign.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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