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Payment of Wages: North Carolina

Payment of Wages requirements for other states

Federal law and guidance on this subject should be reviewed together with this section.

Author: Vicki M. Lambert, The Payroll Advisor


  • The term wages is specifically defined in the North Carolina wage payment law. See Definition of Wages.
  • No particular method of paying employees' wages is required in North Carolina; cash, money order and negotiable checks are all acceptable. Employers may also pay wages by direct deposit or electronic paycard or debit card if certain requirements are met. Penalties are imposed for employer violations of the wage payment method laws. See Wage Payment Methods.
  • All employers must pay all employees on regular paydays. Pay periods may be daily, weekly, biweekly, semimonthly or monthly. See Pay Frequency.
  • North Carolina law permits employers to make certain deductions from employees' pay, but only if certain conditions are met. See Permitted and Prohibited Wage Deductions.
  • All employers must provide itemized written statements of deductions to employees each time deductions are made. Electronic pay statements may also be provided. See Pay Statement Requirements.
  • North Carolina employers must notify new employees in writing of their promised wages and the day and place of wage payments. Notice must also be provided at least one pay period before any changes in promised wages. Additional posting requirements apply. See Employee Notification Requirements.
  • Terminated employees, whether terminated voluntarily or involuntarily, must be paid all wages due on or before the next regular payday, either in the usual manner of payment or by or by trackable mail if requested by the employee in writing. Specific rules apply to final payment of vacation time, bonuses and commissions. See Final Pay.
  • North Carolina's general estates law may apply to an employer who owes wages or other property to a deceased employee. See Deceased Employee Wages.
  • Wages that remain unclaimed by an employee for one year are considered abandoned property which must be reported and remitted by the employer to the State Treasurer. Employers are also required to notify affected employees within a certain time period. Penalties are imposed for noncompliance. See Unclaimed Wages.