On July 8, 2021, North Carolina amended its labor laws to strengthen wage payment requirements. Specifically, the amendments affect the last wage payment upon separation of employment and employee wage notification requirements.
Final Pay. State law requires employers to provide an employee’s last wages upon separation of employment on or before the next regular payday. The amendments provide employers the option of delivering these final wages either through regular pay channels or by trackable mail, if requested by the employee in writing.
Wage Payment Notification. North Carolina also requires employers to notify their employees of their “promised wages” and the day and place of payment at the time of hiring. Additional notices are also required when “promised wages” change, though wages may be retroactively increased without prior notice.
The amendments remove the option for employers to give this notice verbally. As a result, employers must now provide this notice in writing. The amendments also alter the notification period. Before July 8, 2021, employers were required to provide a notice of a change in “promised wages” at least 24 hours prior to the change. Now, employers must provide written notice of “promised wages” at least one pay period prior to any change.
Next Steps for Employers
It is unclear whether the state intends to provide model templates for compliance with wage payment notification requirements, so employers should develop their own form or letter and ensure it addresses the information required by the law. Employers should review their employee onboarding, offboarding and compensation practices and procedures to ensure compliance with these new wage payment requirements.