What Is the Minimum Wage in North Carolina?

Ben Steele  | 

2019 Minimum Wage in North Carolina: $7.25 Per Hour

The minimum wage in North Carolina is the same as the federal minimum wage, and is generally raised when the federal minimum wage is raised. That means $7.25 is standard across the state; however, North Carolina does note that agricultural and domestic workers are covered under federal minimum wage rules, which means that if the state minimum wage changed, those workers would use the federal minimum wage instead.

Tipped Minimum Wage: $2.13 Per Hour

Tipped employees in North Carolina are covered, like many other states, by a tip credit system. Employers must ensure that tipped employees make at least $7.25 per hour, however, they are allowed to apply as much as $5.12 per hour as a credit for tips earned.

This means that employers must pay a cash wage of $2.13 per hour, and can make up the rest of the $7.25 wage in tips — provided the employee actually earns enough in tips to meet a wage of $7.25 per hour.

Employers are allowed to “tip pool,” but employees are entitled to 85 percent of their own tips. The remaining 15 percent can be pooled. This means that employers need to keep accurate records of the tips given to each employee for the purposes of reporting and compliance.

Weekly Minimum Wage: $290

The weekly minimum wage is based on calculating the hourly minimum wage times 40 hours per week. Someone who works a 40-hour week should make $290. This is calculated before taxes and other deductions are exacted, so a worker’s take-home amount will be less. The exact amount will further depend on factors such as company-sponsored health insurance and retirement deductions.

Annual Minimum Wage: $15,080

The annual minimum wage is calculated based on the minimum wage over a 40-hour workweek, multiplied by 52 weeks. This is the pre-tax, pre-deduction minimum that a worker should make annually. It doesn’t account for factors such as time off, as it’s based on 40 hours worked every single week.

Overtime Minimum Wage: $10.88 Per Hour

The minimum overtime rules in North Carolina state that unless an employee is explicitly exempt, any hours above 40 worked in one week must be paid at regular rate plus one half of the regular rate (time and a half). For minimum wage employees, that’s $10.88: $7.25 plus one half. Some salary workers may be exempt. Use the department of labor website to determine who might count as a salaried-exempt employee for overtime pay.

Overtime applies for tipped workers and is based on the total wage (cash wage plus tips) of $7.25. The employer can still deduct $5.12 from the overtime pay if the employee makes enough in tips. Therefore a tipped worker’s minimum overtime pay would be $10.88 minus the $5.12 credit. See the department of labor website for details on how to calculate overtime for tipped workers.

North Carolina Minimum Wage Increase News

In February of 2019 democrats in North Carolina introduced a bill that would raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour over a period of five years, reaching its peak in 2024.

A similar bill was introduced in 2017 but died before it came out of committee. This bill is a re-introduction of the previous bill. If the bill passes, it would begin to go into effect on January 1st, 2020 — however, it has a long way to go before then.

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Ben Steele is a writer, theatre(re) professional, and nonprofit administrator. He was born in England, spent his teen and early 20s in Canada, and now lives in America. Please excuse his occasionally confused voice and the odd recalcitrant u after an o.

This post was updated July 10, 2019. It was originally published July 10, 2019.