Most employees in North Carolina that earn an hourly wage and not a fixed salary are entitled to receive a special overtime pay rate for any hours that surpass their 40 hour full-time workweek. North Carolina’s overtime pay, aka “time and a half”, equates to $10.88 per hour for those working for the minimum wage in North Carolina (2022).

Some states follow different rules than others when it comes to employee overtime pay. There are some that have a daily overtime limit that allows any employee who works more than a specific number of hours per day to be paid overtime.

North Carolina does not have a specific overtime daily limit, if an employee surpasses 40 hours of work in a week, they are eligible for overtime pay. However, there is an exception to the rule for employees of seasonal, recreational, and amusement establishments as they are only eligible for overtime for working past 45 hours per week.

Overtime Minimum Wage in North Carolina

Overtime in North Carolina “time and a half pay” is one and a half times an employee’s regular wage per hour. North Carolina’s overtime minimum wage is $10.88 per hour, which is one and a half times the regular minimum wage rate of $7.25 per hour. Alternatively, if you earn more than the minimum wage rate, you are still entitled to 1.5 times the hourly wage you are regularly paid for the overtime that was worked. If you earn $10 per hour, you could be entitled to $15 per hour for any overtime hours worked in North Carolina.

The graphic below displays the overtime pay for minimum wage workers in North Carolina in 2022 and over the past several years. Each rate you see is the minimum wage per hour multiplied by 1.5 times.

Overtime minimum wage

Can I Be Paid Overtime Pay In North Carolina?

As a general rule in North Carolina, if you are paid hourly, earn less than $455 per week ($23,660 annually), and work in a non-exempt industry then you are likely to be eligible to receive overtime pay, should your weekly hours surpass 40.

There are many instances where this may happen, for example, working as a full time server in North Carolina (5 days a week, 8 hours per day), you might only be down to work 5 days a week in your restaurant, but if you fill in for a colleague that is off, assuming you have already worked a 40-hour week, then this will likely push your hours over the threshold, and therefore, make you eligible for overtime pay.

Is overtime after 8 hours or 40 hours in North Carolina?

In North Carolina, you will be paid an overtime rate for surpassing 40 hours per week not necessarily for exceeding 8 hours per day. In some other states this is not the case, you will be paid overtime for working over 8 hours per day, but not in North Carolina. The Tar Heel State requires an accumulation of over 40 hours per week for you to be eligible for time and a half pay and not over 8 hours per day, or 45 hours per week if you are a seasonal, recreational, or amusement worker.

For example, you could work 4 days a week for 9 hours each day, cumulatively working 36 hours over the four-day period. Then, on the fifth day, you could work just 4 hours, so your total for the working week would be 40 hours. You would not be eligible for overtime in North Carolina just because you worked over 8 hours in each of the first four days because your cumulative hours across the working week did not exceed 40.

FLSA North Carolina

It is the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) that automatically qualifies workers who are in certain industries that meet overtime pay requirements in order for them to receive the overtime pay rate for working over a 40 hour week set by North Carolina overtime laws.

North Carolina follows the FLSA, and if you are in a job that consists of manual labor then you undoubtedly are protected under overtime law. Here are all the job roles in North Carolina that are covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act for overtime pay:

  • Police force
  • Paramedics
  • Firefighters
  • Practical Nurses
  • Paralegals

The main reason why these specific jobs are covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act is that they are professional jobs that often lead to long working hours which will more than often lead to more than 40 hours of work per week, so it prevents these employees being exploited by their employer.

Overtime Exemptions

Overtime laws in North Carolina are in place to prevent workers from employer exploitation when it comes to hourly pay and also the number of hours worked in a given week. This mainly refers to those in “blue-collar” jobs who work in demanding fields that will often work far longer days than others.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) excludes those working as administrators and other professionals that earn at least $455 per week from being paid any overtime. This can be discovered and looked up under Section 13(a)(1) of the FLSA.

The majority of salespeople who set their own hours or work irregular hours are also excluded from the North Carolina overtime laws, as are computer-based workers. The same goes for independent contractors, transportation workers, certain agricultural and farmworkers, and live-in employees like housekeepers.

So, if your job fits into one of the four exemption categories for the North Carolina overtime law (executive, administrative, professional, and outside sales), then you are not protected by state and federal law, and therefore, may not be paid an increased rate for overtime hours worked.

Executive (Overtime Exemptions)

If your full-time responsibility is managing two or more employees then your job is classed as an “Executive Position”. If you are in this role then you cannot spend any more than 20% of your time doing other activities (40% in a retail management role), and your job will be salaried, meaning you shouldn’t receive an hourly rate, but a fixed annual salary that is usually paid bi-weekly or monthly.

Administrative (Overtime Exemptions)

If your primary tasks at work do not involve manual work and are related to business operations, management policies, and administrative training then your job is classed as an “Administrative Position”. If you work in an administrative position then your job must be salaried by law, and you must spend no more than 20% of your time doing activities that are unrelated to your job title (40% in retail roles).

Professional (Overtime Exemptions)

If your job consists of advanced knowledge of a certain industry or profession, that requires extensive education, including arts, certified teachers, skilled computer and tech professionals, then your job is classified as “Professional”. If you work as a professional, then your job must be salaried and if you spend no more than 20% of your time doing unrelated activities, then you are considered a professional and therefore are not eligible for overtime pay.

Outside Sales (Overtime Exemptions)

If your main duties are making sales or taking orders outside of an employer’s workplace, then you will likely be paid a salary or a commission-based pay structure, or a blend of both. If this is the case then you are in “Outside Sales” and will not be paid an hourly wage, meaning that you will be exempt from overtime pay.

If any of the listed job roles apply to you then unfortunately you will not qualify to receive overtime pay in North Carolina. This means your employer has the right to not pay you extra for working past a full-time working week of 40 hours.

Final Thoughts

If you are in a job where you are paid an hourly wage, and do not fall under any of the exemptions, then you could be eligible and should be paid “time and a half” for every additional hour you work that exceeds 40 hours per week.

Despite not having a Department of Labor, North Carolina does have a Wage and Hour Division, which oversees unemployment compensation and claims for those workers who are not being paid their time and a half after working over 40 hours a week. If you feel you are being unfairly treated, then contact the North Carolina Wage & Hour Division to learn your rights under the law.