North Carolina Overtime Laws

Created by FindLaw's team of attorney writers and editors.

When you work hours that exceed a normal 40-hour workweek, you may be entitled to extra compensation for giving up some of your free time. It depends on several factors, however, including your exemption status. Both federal and North Carolina laws require employers to pay overtime equal to 1.5 times an employee's normal rate (assuming they're qualified). Certain types of employees, particularly certain professionals paid an annual salary, are exempt from overtime rules.

Learn about North Carolina overtime laws below, including eligibility rules and the manner in which overtime pay is calculated.

Overtime in North Carolina

The rules governing overtime pay are based on federal laws contained in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938, in addition to some state guidance. Federal rules provide a minimum standard for employees across the country in areas including child labor, minimum wage and overtime pay. North Carolina follows 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.

North Carolina Overtime Laws: The Basics

Were you denied overtime? It depends, but understanding the law and how it applies to your situation is the first step. It's not always easy to digest the dense language used in statutes, which is why we've summarized the law for you in plain English below.

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

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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

  • North Carolina Code - FindLaw's hosted version of North Carolina's General Statutes and Constitution.
  • North Carolina Laws - FindLaw's summaries of select North Carolina laws, including criminal, injury, employment, family, and small business laws.

Filing a Complaint Under North Carolina Overtime Laws? Talk to an Attorney Today

If you have wage or overtime 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.