Employers with NC Employees, Take Note: Wage Payment Requirements Have Changed | Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLP

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Gov. Roy Cooper (D) has signed into law significant changes to employers’ requirements to notify North Carolina employees of their pay. Amendments to the North Carolina Wage and Hour Act (available herestarting at the bottom of the page 3) are effective now.

Payment to separated employees. Previously, the law required an employer to pay a terminated employee all wages due before the next regular payday after separation, either “through regular payroll channels or by mail if the employee requests it.” According to the amended version, the mailing of the final pay check is authorized only if (1) the employee makes a writing request for payment by mail and (2) the employer uses “traceable” courier to send the final paycheck. Presumably Certified Mail or USPS Priority Mail Express would comply. Since the law uses the word “courier”, we do not recommend the use of private carriers, even though they are sometimes faster and more reliable than the US Postal Service.

Notification, publication and recordings. The law requires employers to inform employees when hiring of the promised salary, as well as the day and place of payment. In the previous version of the law, an oral opinion was sufficient. The amended version of the law no longer allows oral notification – the notice must be in writing.

If an employer were to make a “negative” change in wages (e.g. a pay cut, but also, arguably, a higher standard for collecting the same bonus or piecework bonus), the law required that 24 hour notice of the change be given to employees. The notice had to be in writing, but it could be provided via a display “maintained in a place accessible to [. . .] employees.” As amended, notice must be provided at least a pay period in advanceand a display will no longer suffice. Notice shall be provided to affected employees individually.

Quick recap

To recap, the amended law requires employers to do the following:

  • Issue final separate employee paychecks using “regular payroll channels” unless the employee makes a written request to have the check mailed and the employer uses a “traceable” method sending the check.

  • Notify new hires in writing of the promised salary, as well as when and where payment will be made.

  • Notify employees of a negative salary change at least one full pay period in advance and in writing that is given to each affected employee. Posting a notice will no longer suffice.

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