The North Carolina Wage and Hour Act received an update on July 8, 2021, when Gov. Roy Cooper signed Senate Bill 208 into law, including changes to N.C.G.S. §§ 95-25.7 and 95-25.13. The changes affect an employer’s communication of wages at the inception of employment, in the event of any decrease in wages, and upon the payment of final wages:
- Employers must now communicate in writing a North Carolina employee’s wage rate, pay day and place of payment (e.g., via hand delivery at a specific location or via check or direct deposit). Employers can satisfy this requirement by presenting an offer letter to the employee prior to the employee beginning work. Previously, employers could communicate this information to employees orally.
- In the event of a decrease in wages, employers must now give a North Carolina employee written notice of the decrease at least one pay period prior to the change taking effect. Previously, the notice period was 24 hours and included an option for “posted notice.” There is no notice requirement for any increase in wages.
- The Act previously required that final wages be paid either through regular pay channels (e.g., hand delivery or direct deposit) or by mail (i.e., a mailed check), if requested by the employee. Under the updated provisions, any request by an employee to be paid final wages by mail must be in writing. Further, the employer must now send any such hard-copy final paycheck using “trackable” mail.
While the law took effect upon signing on July 8, 2021, the North Carolina Department of Labor has not yet issued updated regulations to accompany the amended provisions of the North Carolina Wage and Hour Act.