On July 24, both the federal and North Carolina minimum wages increased to $6.55 per hour. However, employees who earn at least $30 per month in tips can be paid less.
On July 24, 2008 the North Carolina minimum wage will increase 40 cents from $6.15 per hour to $6.55 per hour when the federal minimum wage increases. On that date, the federal minimum wage will increase 70 cents, from $5.85 per hour to $6.55 per hour.
That’s because North Carolina is one of a host of states that ties the state minimum wage to the federal rate. In 2007, the North Carolina minimum wage was $6.15 per hour. However, under state law, if the federal minimum wage is higher, the North Carolina minimum wage automatically increases, as well.
On the same day, (more…)
An announcement from the US Department of Labor stated that the nation’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., will comply with federal and North Carolina minimum wage laws by paying in excess of $33 million in back wages. This agreement is the result of what the US Department of Labor maintains are violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) made by Wal-Mart.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by not properly paying overtime to employees who worked over 40 hours a week. The FLSA maintains that employees are entitled to overtime by law. This overtime must be paid at the rate of 1.5 times the employee’s standard pay rate. This overtime amount must be paid for every hour the employee works over 40 in a single week.
The violations by Wal-Mart were caused by how the chain calculated overtime pay. Overtime is to be calculated using the usual hourly rate received by the employee. The usual rate of the employee is to include premiums and incentives as well as base pay.
For example, if the base pay rate for employees is $6.00 per hour, yet these employees receive incentives and premiums that normally bring this amount to $7.00, then overtime should be calculated using the $7.00 rate. Wal-Mart miscalculated overtime pay for 86,680 employees during the time period from February 1, 2002 through January 19, 2007. For this reason, the retail giant will pay these employees $33 million in back wages.
Victoria A. Lipnic, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment Standards, explains, “This settlement provides $33 million in back wages, plus interest, to Wal-Mart workers, and the company has taken corrective action to prevent this from happening again.”
Not only is Wal-Mart paying back wages, they also have to pay interest on this money. The interest they pay is to prevent future transgressions and will act as a deterrent.
Labor law investigators have caught up with a tree-trimming firm that paid at least 2,500 workers below minimum wage, and the company will have to pay nearly $2 million in back wages to about 2,500 employees.
U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao said the department would continue its push to see to it that employees get the proper pay. “We are pleased,” she added, “that we were able to help these workers get the back pay they deserve.”
Employees must get the minimum wage of $5.15 an hour for the first 40 hours, then be paid at time-and-a-half for any time after 40 hours. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) also requires that employers maintain proper records for time and payrolls.
The company is paying back wages to its North Carolina employees as well as to employees from Maryland, Virginia, Cincinnati, Maine, New York, Arkansas, Florida, Tennessee, Mississippi, New Jersey, Ohio, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Louisiana.
Some of the work involved cleanup at the site of Hurricane Katrina. The company cleans up around power lines and at sites of natural disasters, including hurricanes. The investigation of the firm grew out of the creation of a task force in 2006 involving the Labor Department and U.S. Attorneys from several states. Their goal is to check for and prosecute firms that violate federal labor laws in the Gulf Coast region, specifically violations by employers in hurricane regions. Katrina and Hurricane Rita were included in those investigations. The investigation in this case began when Labor Department officials received a tip from an employee. They discovered the company had violated the minimum wage law in 16 states, as well as the Fair Labor Standards Act.
The North Carolina overtime labor law is quite simular to many other states’ overtime labor laws, as well as similar to the federal laws on overtime, which can be found in the Fair Labor Standards Act, or FLSA. But we should still take a look at the North Carolina law because there are some differences that make it stand out.
In North Carolina, employers are required to follow the standard definition of the work week. In other words, let’s say you’re an employer. If your employee works more than 40 hours a week—with 40 hours being the definition of a standard work week—then you must pay him or her time and a half for every minute over.
There are some exceptions to this North Carolina, as there are exceptions in most states and on the federal level. For instance, many salaried white-collar workers who have administrative, executive, professional, or sales positions generally are not entitled to overtime. So if you were their employer, no need to pay them time and half when they work over those 40 hours.
Interestingly, part-time workers are not exempt from overtime, though. If they happen to work a more “full-time” schedule one week and put in more than 40 hours, you would be required as their employer to pay them their one and half times pay rate for those overtime hours.
North Carolina is also one of those states that’s against comp time. That means that a private business in North Carolina can not allow employees to use their overtime to reduce the amount of hours they need to work in another week. They must be paid overtime pay instead, even if the employee is willing to take comp time.
Another interesting tidbit on North Carolina overtime labor law—it doesn’t include holidays or working weekend. As an employer, you would only have to pay premium for those hours if you agreed to do so with your employees.