On July 8, 2021, Governor Cooper signed into law Senate Bill 208, which revises the North Carolina Wage and Hour Act (NCWHA) by changing the rules that employers must follow for notifying employees about the employer’s wage payment practices and for making final payments to separated employees.
Notice Upon Hire
Under the NCWHA, employers are required to notify all employees at the time of hire of their promised wages and the day and place for payment. Prior to the enactment of Senate Bill 208, that notice could be oral or in writing. Senate Bill 208 now requires that notice to be in writing.
Notice Upon a Decrease in Wages
Prior to the passage of Senate Bill 208, the NCWHA required employers only to provide employees with 24 hours’ written notice prior to any changes in promised wages. As revised, the law now requires employers to provide written notice of at least one pay period before wages may be reduced. Wages may, however, be retroactively increased without prior notice.
Payment on Separation of Employment
The NCWHA provides that employees whose employment is discontinued for any reason must be paid all wages due to them on or before the employer’s next regular payday. Such payment must be through the regular pay channels or by mail if requested by the employee. Senate Bill 208 modifies these requirements so that an employee’s request for final payment by mail must be in writing, and the paycheck so requested must be sent by the employer in “trackable mail.”
Stay Informed; Be Compliant
The changes to the NCWHA were effective as of its being signed into law on July 8, 2021. Employers hiring any employees on or after that date should provide the written notice of promised wages, and the day and place of payment, if that information hasn’t already been provided to the employees in writing. Going forward, employers who provide new hires with an offer letter or employment agreement may include the notice in that document. Employers who do not use a written agreement upon hire should develop a notice to be provided to new hires specifying the wages promised and the date and place of payment of such wages. Employers should also be mindful of the additional notice requirements for wage reductions and for any written employee requests for a mailed final paycheck.
If you have any questions about this Alert, please feel free to call (919.781.4000) or e-mail your Wyrick Robbins contact or one of the following members of our Labor & Employment practice group: Diane Tindall (email@example.com) or Kyle Still (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Labor & Employment practice group at Wyrick Robbins Yates & Ponton publishes Client Alerts periodically as a service to clients and friends. The purpose of this Client Alert is to provide general information, and it is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon as, legal advice.