North Carolina Overtime Laws

When you work hours that exceed a normal 40-hour workweek, you're likely entitled to extra compensation for giving up some of your free time. Both federal and North Carolina laws require employers to pay overtime equal to 1.5 times an employee's normal rate. However, not all employees qualify for this extra pay. It's important to understand your rights under North Carolina overtime law so you can collect all the wages you've earned.

North Carolina Overtime Law Summary

This chart highlights key provisions of North Carolina overtime law.

State and Federal Statutes

Overtime Calculation Methods:

  • Hourly : pay time and a half over 40 hours work/week.
  • Hourly Plus Bonus and/or Commission : Regular rate = total hours times hourly rate plus the workweek equivalent of the bonus and/or commission, divided by the total hours in the workweek; then pay half of that regular rate for each overtime hour.
  • Salary: regular rate = Salary divided by the number of hours the salary is intended to compensate.
    • If the regular hours are less than 40: Add regular rate for each hour up to 40, then pay time and a half for hours over 40.
    • If the regular hours = 40: pay time and a half for hours over 40.

North Carolina Overtime Rules

  • Required over 40 hours at a rate of 1.5 time standard pay
  • Seasonal amusement or recreation employees receive overtime after 45 hours worked
  • "Comp" time allowed for government employees
  • No mandatory overtime for working over 8 hours a day
  • 2-year statute of limitation for collecting unpaid overtime.

Filing a Wage Complaint

What is the Law for Overtime in North Carolina?

The rules governing overtime pay are a mixture of state and federal laws. Federal rules provide a minimum standard for employees across the country in areas including child labor, minimum wage and overtime pay. The federal laws are contained in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938.

North Carolina law mirrors federal law in requiring employers to pay "time and a half" for all hours worked after the first 40 in a week. If you work for a seasonal amusement or recreational business, overtime is due only for hours in excess of 45 per workweek. In North Carolina, overtime pay is based on the hours worked each workweek and not by the number of hours worked each day or the number of days worked. Each workweek stands on its own regardless of the length of the pay periods.

What is the Overtime Rate for Tipped Employees?

In North Carolina, employers are permitted to take a credit for a certain amount of tips earned by their employees, toward the employers' payment of the minimum wage. When determining a tipped employee's regular rate of pay for overtime calculations, the rate must include both the cash wage paid to the employee and the tip credit to equal at least the federal minimum wage.

Can Salaried Employees Receive Overtime?

Salaried employees are entitled to overtime pay when working more than 40 hours in a week. The hourly rate of a salaried employee is calculated by dividing the weekly salary by 40. However, salaried workers employed as executives, managers, or supervisor employed solely to supervise other employees, and make at least $455 a week are exempt from the FLSA

Research the Law

State laws are always subject to change. It's important to verify the laws you're researching by conducting your own research or consulting with a qualified North Carolina employment attorney. The following link will provide more information about wage law:

Filing an Overtime Complaint? Talk to an Attorney Today

If you have wage or over-time issues at work, it's a good idea to speak with a local attorney who has experience in wage law. In North Carolina, you can file claims under both the federal and state overtime laws at the same time. A local employment law attorney can help you navigate the legal requirements for proving your claim and help you recover any other damages and interest that may be due. 

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.