NC Labor Board

NC labor board, also known as the North Carolina Department of Labor, exists to make North Carolina workplaces safe and healthy. Its bureaus address various aspects of NC employment, from elevator safety to workplace health.

North Carolina Labor Laws Minimum Wage

In North Carolina, the current minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. Employers who do business in this state must pay all employees at least this amount hourly. The exceptions are agricultural and domestic workers who are paid the federal minimum wage.

North Carolina Labor Laws Overtime

North Carolina requires by law that a covered employer pays overtime to employees at a rate of 1.5 times the workers regular wage for every hour worked above 40 hours in a workweek.

North Carolina Labor Laws Meal Breaks

Employers must give employees ages 14 or 15 years old a 30-minute break when they work more than five hours, as per NC law. No rest break, which is usually 10-15 minutes, or meal break, which is typically at least 30 minutes, need be given by an employer to a worker 16 years of age or older. By federal legislation, employers who decide to give extra breaks must pay workers for them. While employees do not have to get a paid meal or lunch break, they do have to be able to do as they want during this time period.

North Carolina Labor Laws Severance Pay

Under North Carolina's labor laws, employers do not bear responsibility for giving employees severance pay. If a worker decides to provide severance benefits, this must be in accordance with the employment policy or contract already in place.

North Carolina Labor Laws Vacation Leave

NC employers need not provide employees with vacation benefits. This applies to both paid and unpaid leave. If an employer does choose to give employees vacation benefits, then this must follow established contract or policy. Any vacation policy that the employer enacts must include:

  • How vacation is earned
  • When vacation is earned
  • When vacation time has to be taken
  • Whether vacation time carries forward to the next year if unused or not
  • Whether vacation pay can be paid instead of time off
    • Is so, when and under what conditions
  • Upon an employee's separation from employment, under what conditions is vacation pay forfeited

An employer has the right to establish a policy or enter a contract that denies worker from accrued vacation if they leave employment, provided the employer has given the employees proper notification in writing of this policy. An employer can also establish a policy or enter a contract disqualifying employees from paying accrued vacation when they stop working with the company if they do not follow certain guidelines, such as providing two weeks notice, as long as the employer properly notifies the employees of this policy and it's in writing. As per NC legislation, employees must pay accrued vacation to an employee upon leaving company employment if a policy or contract says so.

If there is nothing noted in the established policy or employment contract about paying out vacation leave to an employee upon his or her separation from the company, the employer must pay this leave. This being said, an employer can put a limit on the amount of vacation leave employees are able to accrue; it must be in writing in the vacation policy and employees given notification of it. Also, an employer can enforce a “use-it-or-lose-it” policy that employees must use their leave by a particular date or lose it; again, this must be in writing within the vacation policy, and employees must receive proper notification of it.

North Carolina Labor Laws Sick Leave

There is no state requirement that employers give employees sick leave benefits, whether paid or not. An employer may, however, decide to provide sick leave benefits, and this must be doled out in accordance with established policy or contract. A requirement for employers is to give employees unpaid sick leave, as per the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and other federal legislation.

North Carolina Labor Laws Holiday Leave

Holiday leave, whether paid or unpaid, is not a requirement of employers to employees. Also, a private employer conducting business in NC can require an employee to work any holiday and does not have to provide premium payment for it, such as 1.5 times the regular wage. The exception to this is if time worked qualifies the worker for overtime pay under standard overtime legislation. If an employer decides to offer holiday leave (paid or unpaid), it must follow employment policy or contract already in place.

North Carolina Labor Laws Jury Duty Leave

NC law does not require private employers offer workers; wages for time spent on jury duty leave. This applies to both the time spent replying to a jury summons or to being on a jury. Employees are protected by law against being discharged or demoted because they have been called for jury duty or to sit as a juror.

North Carolina Labor Laws Voting Leave

No North Carolina law exists requiring an employer give employees voting leave (paid or unpaid).

North Carolina Labor Laws Bereavement Leave

No employers are required under NC law to provide bereavement leave to employees. This type of leave is typically taken by a worker when the death of a person occurs, who is often a close family member. An employer can decide to give bereavement leave and then must do so by the established bereavement policy or practice.

North Carolina Government Agencies

No state agency enforces anti-discrimination legislation in North Carolina. For a discrimination or harassment case, seek out the local Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) office at:

Charlotte District

Suite 400, 129 West Trade Street, 28202

Phone: (704) 344-6682 or TTY (704) 344-6684


Suite 201, 2303 West Meadowview Road, 27405-7813

Phone: (336) 547-4188 or TTY (336) 333-5542


1309 Annapolis Drive, 27608-2129

Phone: (919) 856-4064 or TTY (919) 856-4296

For workplace complaints about health and safety, as well as information, contact the Division of Safety and Health of the North Caroline Department of Labor (NCDOL). They enforce the Occupational Safety and Health Act of North Carolina that dates back to 1973, which applies to the majority of private workplaces and all state and local government agencies.

The Division of Safety and Health investigates employee complaints, work-related accidents and details, follow-up inspections of firms who previously violated Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and conducts random inspections of firms. Contact details are:

4 West Edenton Street, 27601-1092

Phone: (919) 807-2900

Fax: (919) 807-2855

Complaint Line: (919) 807-2796 or (919) 662-4309, or toll-free in-state at (800) NC-LABOR

To find out about Unemployment Insurance, contact North Carolina's Employment Security Commission by mail at P.O. Box 25903, Raleigh, 27611-6504 or contact the central office of the Division of Employment Security at:

700 Wade Avenue, Raleigh, 27604

Email: [email protected]

Enforcing the North Carolina Wage and Hour Act, as well as the Controlled Substance Examination Regulation Act, the Job Listing Services Act, and Private Personnel Services Act is all the responsibility of the Wage and Hour/Labor Standards Violations State Agency. The Wage and Hour Bureau uses education, outreach services, and investigations to ensure legislation compliance. Contact the Bureau at:

4 West Edenton Street, Raleigh, 27601

Phone: (919) 807-2796 or toll-free in-state (800) NC-LABOR

Wage and Hour/Labor Standards Violations Local Offices of Federal Agency are:

  • ESA Wage and Hour Division in Charlotte

Suite CC-412, 800 Briar Creek Road, 28205-6903

Phone: (704) 344-6302

Fax: (704) 344-6307

  • Raleigh Location

Suite 260, 4407 Bland Road (Somerset Bank Building), 27609-6296

Phone: (919) 790-2741 or (919) 790-2742

Fax: (919) 790-1656

If a job-related injury or illness should occur, contact Workers' Compensation office for info at:

North Carolina Industrial Commission

4319 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, 27699-4319

Phone: (919) 807-2500

Fax: (919) 715-0282

Ombudsperson: Toll-free 1-800-688-8349 or (919) 807-2501

North Carolina Didn't Help Workers Who Were Cheated Out of Wages

Every year thousands of employees turn to the NC labor board to collect wages promised to them by their employer. Fewer than half of them get the wages, and the others get no help. Rarely does the NC Department of Labor take matters to court, which means that many companies get away without paying promised wages to workers.

For example, in 2014, roughly 2,011 employees who asked for assistance did not receive action from the agency on their behalf. This was more than half of the total workers who approached the agency regarding the previous fiscal year. Employers weren't fined, and no charges were given for the crime of failing to compensate the employee for time and work.

North Carolina's current Commissioner of Labor Cherie Berry runs the NC Department of Labor, and she has the duty to 4 million workers within the state. The NC labor board provides a team of 17 investigators to ensure employers within the state pay employees when they are due. The board is also responsible for inspecting boiler systems and elevators.

Widespread abuse of employees within North Carolina was exposed by The News & Observer and The Charlotte Observer in a 5-part series titled “Contract to Cheat.” These newspapers estimated that 1/3 of NC construction workers are not treated properly under the law. They are treated as independent contractors rather than employees, thus defying the law and committing misclassification, which costs the state over $450 million per year in tax revenue lost. Some workers said they were not given all pay earned. Civil lawsuits take considerable time and getting back wages to employees can be difficult, as per many lawyers.

Why is Inspecting Elevators the Responsibility of the Labor Commission?

The North Carolina Department of Labor is responsible for elevator inspections, as per the Elevator Safety Act of North Carolina. There are 32 elevator inspectors in the NC labor board's Elevator and Amusement Device Bureau, along with 5 area bosses who do yearly inspections on 22,000:

  • Elevators
  • Moving walks
  • Escalators
  • Lifts for disabled persons
  • Dumbwaiters

This is in addition to inspecting about 6,000 amusement rides. Every inspector has a Qualified Elevator Inspector certificate.

Does it Violate the Labor Commission to Have an Office Be Overly Cold?

If your employee cubicle is too cold, no OSHA regulation applies to this. Instead, ask your employer if a diverter can be installed to keep cold air from blowing right on you all day.

When Health and Safety Inspectors Come Across a Violation in a Business, Can They Do Anything to Solve the Problem?

It is the NC labor board's workplace safety and health officials who enforce OSHA. These professionals are trained to point out hazards of all kinds, significant or lesser so, and will dole out citations when seeing fit to do so. The goal of NC Labor is to create safe NC work environments. Work-related injuries and illnesses are currently lower than ever.

If Working for a Small Employer, Does He Have to Pay You Overtime?

Employers must pay all qualified employees who work more than 40 hours in a particular workweek overtime pay that is 1.5 times their regular wage. This is as per both state and federal legislation. This includes any employee who is paid per hour. Small offices are not exempt.

How Do You Start a Claim for Non-Payment for Hours of Work?

The steps are in place so that you first contact the NC labor board. They sometimes refer to the USDOL if there are jurisdictional problems where the federal law supercedes state law (in this case, the North Carolina Wage and Hour Act). If experiencing problems in terms of not reaching a correct office, contact the Wage and Hour Director toll-free at 1-800-625-2267 or email [email protected]. A wage payment complaint involves calling this phone number and giving the related details to an information specialist.

Why are North Carolina State Employees Not Protected by the NC Labor Commission, as the Employees of Private Businesses are?

As per North Carolina law, the North Carolina Wage and Hour Act doesn't apply to NC state, not to any city, municipal area, town, county, or local agency. The OSHA of North Carolina protects state and local government workers. For employees filing complaints about workplace health and safety issues, contact the OSHA Division of NC Labor. Also, the Retaliatory Employment Discrimination Act of North Carolina safeguards government workers (state and local levels). This Act protects workers in:

  • Mine safety and health
  • Workplace safety rights
  • National Guard service
  • Sickle cell and hemoglobin C carriers
  • Juvenile justice system
  • Genetic testing
  • Domestic violence

Government agencies (state and local) also must follow regulations under the Controlled Substance Examination Regulation Act if carrying out employment-related drug tests.

For a Small Business Owner Carrying Workers; Compensation, Do Employees Have to Punch a Time Clock, Even When Payment isn't Commission Based?

It is the employer's responsibility to track hours worked by each covered employee per day and per work week, regardless of whether they earn via commission, salary, or hourly wage. But the methods by which to keep record is not specified by law, such as time clocks.

No federal wage and hour legislation defines the differences between full-time and temporary workers. Employers can create their own definitions for full-time and temporary. Also, employers can craft their own policies for temporary employees. The matter of temp workers is outside of the NC Department of Labor's jurisdiction.

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