Nobody ever said running a business was a walk in the park. As an employer, you have a lot of balls in the air, and compliance is just one of them. One really, really important one that, if dropped, could cost you a whole lot of money.
In addition to federal regulations, each state has their own share of employment-related laws that business owners need to be aware of. Here, we’re highlighting some of these key state-specific requirements and laws, and offering guidance to help you keep up.
Bear in mind, this list is not comprehensive, and there may be local or industry-specific employment requirements that your business needs to comply with. It’s best to consult with counsel to ensure compliance with all applicable laws, as Justworks does not provide legal advice.
Payroll Tax Accounts
Because Justworks reports state unemployment taxes on your behalf, you’ll need to close your North Carolina State Unemployment and Withholding accounts prior to joining our platform. Here are the steps to do that.
North Carolina - State Unemployment Insurance
Recruiting & Hiring Practices
Employers in North Carolina may not inquire about or require an applicant to disclose information concerning any arrest, criminal charge, or criminal conviction of the applicant that has been expunged at any point in the hiring process.
ThinkHR: North Carolina Background Checks*
North Carolina Legislation: GS § 15A-153. Effect of Expunction
Notice of Wage Payments
In North Carolina, employers are required to provide written notice at least 24 hours prior to any reduction in wages, and are required to notify new hires orally or in writing about their wages and regular pay schedule. As a best practice employers should consider giving notice in writing as far in advance as possible for all new hires and for current employees whenever a pay rate is changing.
North Carolina Department of Labor (DOL): Promised Wages Including Wage Benefits
North Carolina DOL: Changes or Reduction in Wages
When classifying workers as employees or independent contractors, there are a few things to consider, including the different tests that apply under different federal and state employment laws, and potential penalties and other liabilities for misclassifying employees as independent contractors. Certain state laws apply tests that are more stringent than the guidance provided by federal agencies, such as the IRS and Department of Labor, to comply with federal laws.
You can read our general Help Center article on contractors, and view information on how to determine if someone is a contractor or employee in North Carolina at the link below.
North Carolina Department of Labor (DOL): Independent Contractor vs. Employee
Minimum Pay and Overtime Requirements
North Carolina employers can find the most up-to-date minimum wage requirements from the North Carolina Department of Labor.
In most cases of employment, North Carolina follows federal requirements regarding overtime pay and exemptions.
North Carolina DOL: Overtime Pay, Salary and Comp Time
ThinkHR: North Carolina Minimum Wage and Overtime*
Meal & Rest Breaks
Meal and rest breaks are not required for employees 16 years of age or older, but there are specific rest break requirements for employees under the age of 16.
North Carolina DOL: What to Know About Breaks
Harassment and Discrimination
In addition to protections under Federal law, North Carolina law prohibits employment discrimination based on membership in any protected class by employers covered under North Carolina’s anti-discrimination laws.
North Carolina Office of Administrative Hearings: Employment Discrimination
ThinkHR: North Carolina Prohibitions on Discrimination*
To provide additional support in this area, Justworks has teamed up with EVERFI to offer all customers free access to a suite of harassment prevention and inclusion trainings.
North Carolina employers should familiarize themselves with specific compliance requirements for terminating employees.
If the employee quits or is discharged, the employee must receive their final wages on or before the next regular payday.
If an employee has a balance of unused, accrued vacation time upon termination and the employer, the employer must pay the employee this balance along with their final wages unless an applicable forfeiture applies to excuse payment under the vacation policy.
North Carolina DOL: Payment of Final Wages to Separated Employees
North Carolina DOL: Promised Wages Including Wage Benefits
Business Closings and Layoffs
The Federal WARN Act imposes certain notice and other obligations on covered businesses before conducting large-scale business closures, layoffs, or relocations. North Carolina employers who may be required to file notice should do so with the state’s Department of Commerce. For more information, visit the links below.
U.S. Department of Labor: Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act Advisor
North Carolina Department of Commerce: File a WARN Notice
North Carolina Department of Commerce: Rapid Response - Support for Workers
ThinkHR: North Carolina Plant Closings*
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This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, legal or tax advice. If you have any legal or tax questions regarding this content or related issues, then you should consult with your professional legal or tax advisor.