North Carolina Overtime Laws Explained [2024 Updated]

We spend a lot of our time at work, and at the end of the day, we expect to be fairly compensated for our labor. When that labor becomes overtime labor, it should be compensated as such. You deserve every penny of what your work is worth, and a North Carolina wage attorney at Maloney Law & Associates, PLLC, understands overtime laws in North Carolina. Our firm can help ensure that you do as well.

North Carolina Overtime Law

North Carolina, like many other states, follows the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which states that eligible employees who work above 40 hours a workweek receive overtime pay of at least one and a half times their regular pay rate for the hours worked beyond 40.

Seven consecutive days at 168 hours is considered a workweek. Overtime applies only to hours worked beyond 40 within the workweek; it does not extend to working more than 8 hours in a single day or working more than 80 hours during a two-week pay period.

Other requirements of the FLSA that are related to overtime laws include:

  • The accurate recordkeeping of employees’ wages and hours worked
  • Pay equality
  • Retaliation protections
  • Distinguishing between non-exempt and exempt employees

Non-Exempt and Exempt Employees

Employers are responsible for correctly classifying employees and ensuring compliance with overtime regulations. They do this by determining whether an employee is classified as exempt or non-exempt based on their job duties, responsibilities, and salary level.

Non-exempt employees are entitled to receive overtime pay, but exempt employees may be exempt from overtime requirements. These include:

  • Executives
  • Administrative managers
  • Educated professionals
  • Creative professionals
  • Computer employees, such as computer systems analysts and programmers
  • Outside sales employees

However, your job title alone does not automatically classify you as non-exempt or exempt. The FLSA establishes criteria to determine which employees will qualify as exempt from overtime, such as if their primary duties involve:

  • Managing the company, divisions of the company, or its employees
  • Having the authority to hire or fire employees
  • Performing office management or general business operations
  • Using invention, imagination, originality, or talent in an artistic or creative way
  • Advanced knowledge in their field
  • Being a computer employee
  • Making sales or taking orders or contracts for services outside the employer’s place of business

It’s crucial for employers to carefully assess whether an employee meets both the job duties and salary level requirements of a particular exemption category. Misclassification can lead to legal consequences. If you believe you are a misclassified employee and were withheld wages, you should contact an experienced employment law attorney to better understand your rights.

Ways Employers May Attempt to Avoid Paying Overtime Wages

While most employers adhere to overtime pay regulations, some may accidentally break labor laws, or even attempt to avoid paying overtime wages through various means. Beyond potential civil suits, where employees may seek to recover unpaid wages, federal and state agencies actively monitor and take action against labor law violations.

Some ways employers may attempt to avoid paying overtime wages include:

  • The misclassification of employees or independent contractors
  • Off-the-clock work
  • Splitting or shifting hours across workweeks
  • Comp time violations
  • Automatic break deductions
  • Shifting hours to the next pay period
  • Encouraging employees to sign voluntary overtime agreements

Filing a Wage Complaint

Experiencing wage theft can be frustrating and enraging, but there are ways to hold your employer accountable for their misconduct. By filing a wage complaint with either the North Carolina Department of Labor or the United States Department of Labor, you can seek to recover wages that were taken from you.

Before you file a wage complaint, remember that you don’t need to do it alone. The experienced employment law attorneys at Maloney Law & Associates, PLLC, are here to help you understand your rights and recover any wages owed to you.


Q: What Is the Difference Between Compensatory Time and Overtime?

A: Compensatory time (comp time) and overtime are related, but each refers to different methods of compensating employees for working additional hours. Comp time is an alternative method of paying employees for overtime hours worked. Instead of receiving monetary payment, employees receive time off work. Employees accumulate comp time hours based on the number of overtime hours worked.

Q: Does North Carolina Pay Time and a Half on Sundays?

A: No, North Carolina does not require employers to pay time and a half for Sunday work. Since the state follows the federal FLSA regulations, employers are only required to pay overtime for non-exempt employees who work more than 40 hours in a workweek, not by how many hours or what day of the week it is.

Q: Who Is Exempt From Overtime Pay in North Carolina?

A: A majority of employees in North Carolina are entitled to overtime pay, but employers generally do not have to pay overtime to certain salaried executives, professionals, administrative employees, and outside sales employees.

It is important to note that meeting certain job title criteria alone does not automatically make an employee exempt. The actual job duties and responsibilities must align with the criteria outlined in the FLSA regulations.

Q: Is There an Overtime Limit in North Carolina?

A: No, there is no overtime limit in North Carolina. Since the state does not have specific limits on the number of hours an employer can require you to work in a week, there are also no overtime limits. Certain industries or occupations have limitations on working hours, such as agricultural workers and certain healthcare workers, that can also impact overtime limits.

Q: Can Employees Collectively File a Complaint About Overtime Violations?

A: Yes, employees have the right to collectively file a complaint about overtime violations. Collective action can be an effective way for employees to address widespread issues related to overtime violations. This can be done through a class action claim, joint complaint with the Department of Labor, or under union representation.

Contact Maloney Law & Associates, PLLC

At Maloney Law & Associates, PLLC, our North Carolina employment law attorneys have extensive knowledge in handling a wide range of employment law cases. Our approach focuses on finding tailored solutions and achieving an effective and practical resolution that aligns with our client’s specific circumstances. Contact us today for a consultation.