AN ACT AMENDING THE LABOR LAWS OF NORTH CAROLINA TO END WAGE THEFT AND APPROPRIATING FUNDS FOR THAT PURPOSE.
Makes clarifying and organizational changes to the defined terms set out in GS 95-25.2, applicable to Article 2A, the Wage and Hour Act. Adds the terms employment status, intentional, and willful.
Amends GS 95-25.13 to now require every employer to notify its employees in writing at the time of hire and upon any material change, of: (1) the promised wages and the basis upon which wages will be calculated; (2) the method, day, and place for payment; (3) the specified contact information and tax identification numbers for the employer; and (4) the employment status of the employee (previously, did not require written notification and limited notification to promised wages and the day and place for payment, and only required the notification upon hire). Also requires employers to furnish each employee with the information required by 13 NCAC 12 .0801(6) and 13 NCAC 12 .0801(8) through (13) for each pay period (concerning the employee's rate of pay, total hours worked each workweek, total straight-time earned each workweek, total overtime earnings each workweek, total additions or deductions from wages, total gross wages paid each pay period, and the date of payment).
Amends GS 95-25.22, regarding recovery of unpaid wages by employees from employers who violate GS 95-25.3 (Minimum Wage), GS 95-25.4 (Overtime), or GS 95-25.6 through GS 95-25.12 (Wage Payment). Now provides for the award of liquidated damages equal to twice the amount (was equal to the amount) found to be due under subsection (a) (which provides for unpaid amounts plus interest at the legal rate (provided in GS 24-1) from the date each amount first came due). Adds a new provision to require employers to be liable to the affected employee(s) for actual damages for violations of GS 95-25.13 (regarding employee notifications, postings, and records) or any rule adopted under the statute. Additionally authorizes a court that finds an intentional violation of the Article or any regulation issued under the Article to award statutory damages of up to $500 per employee per violation. Requires the court to consider the nature and persistence of the violations and the extent of the employer's culpability when setting the amount of statutory damages. Further, now requires the court to order costs and fees of the action and reasonable attorneys' fees to be paid by the defendant (previously permissible). Allows an action arising out of a willful violation to be brought within three years, and allows for actions to be brought within one year after notification to the employee of final disposition by the State of a complaint for the same violation (currently, requires all actions to be brought within two years).
Amends GS 95-25.23, which provides for civil penalties for certain violations of up to $500 for the first violation and up to $1,000 for subsequent violations. Adds to the scope of the statute employer violations of GS 95-25.3 (Minimum Wage), GS 95-25.4 (Overtime), GS 95-25.6 (Wage Payment), and GS 95-25.13 (Notification) (previously only included violations of GS 95-25.5, Youth Employment). Subjects the assessment of penalties under the statute to a three-year (was two-year) statute of limitations, commencing at the time of the occurrence of the violation.
Enacts GS 95-25.23D, establishing, for an employee for purposes of wage claims and collections, entitlement to a lien upon (1) all property of the employer located in the State and (2) all property upon which the employee has performed work, as specified, for the full amount of the wages and any statutory penalties owed. Allows a wage claim or action to enforce a lien under the statute to be brought by the employee individually or by the Commissioner, or by any representative of the employee, including collective bargaining representatives. Directs the Commissioner to record and provide notice of the lien on behalf of the employee if no lien has been recorded at the time the employee files a complaint with the Commissioner. Provides for joinder of wage claims or wage deficiencies against the same employer, and proportionate payments whether or not claims have been joined in the case of the sale of property subject to the lien being insufficient to pay all claimants. Limits liens to personal property to that which can be subject to a security interest under the Commercial Code by filing a financing statement. Provides for recordation and perfection of a claim of lien. Details the procedure and requirements for filing notice of the lien with the Secretary of State and service of the employer. Allows the lien to be filed at any time prior to the expiration of the statute of limitations for a wage claim on the same wages pursuant to GS 95-25.22(f), as amended. Specifies that mistakes and errors do not invalidate the claim unless made with intent to defraud. Provides for foreclosure upon any property subject to the properly recorded lien if an action to recover unpaid wages has been filed, as specified. Extinguishes the lien upon a judgment in favor of the employer or dismissal of the action for unpaid wages. Specifies that the lien continues in force until all issues on appeal have been decided, if applicable. Extinguishes the lien created by the statute if an action to recover the wages is not brought within one year of the filing of the lien. Establishes priority of the lien over all other interests regardless of the date of origination or perfection, and provides that the lien is effective against the employer, the estate of the employer, or a subsequent bona fide purchaser of the property subject to the employee's lien. Entitles the employee, the Commissioner, or the employee's representative to court costs and reasonable attorneys' fees for filing a successful action to foreclose a lien under the act.
Appropriates from the General Fund to the Department of Labor $100,000 for 2022-23 to fight wage theft as provided by this act.
Effective July 1, 2022.