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NORTH CAROLINA POSITION ON THE FEDERAL YOUTH MINIMUM WAGE

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) allows employers to pay a Youth Minimum Wage (aka Opportunity Wage) of at least $4.25 an hour to employees who are under the age of 20 for the first 90 days of initial employment.  It is the position of the North Carolina Department of Labor (NCDOL) that the federal Youth Minimum Wage cannot be used by most employers in North Carolina regardless of the Annual Dollar Volume (ADV) of the business and regardless of federal or State coverage.  This position even includes employees of State, county and local governments.  Note: This position does not include employees of agriculture and domestic employers since the North Carolina minimum wage does not apply to these employers at all.  This means that in North Carolina, with the exception of agriculture and domestic employers, employers who are otherwise covered by the federal FLSA are subject to the full North Carolina minimum wage of $7.25 an hour for employees under the age of 20 for the first 90 days of initial employment.

However, the federal FLSA also authorizes other sub-minimum wage rates for certain categories of employees such as full-time students, learners, apprentices, and handicapped workers.  The North Carolina minimum wage does not apply to these categories of employees if their employment is covered by the federal FLSA.  Henceforth, the NCDOL does recognize the federal full-time student rate of 85% of the federal minimum wage for those full-time students who are covered by the federal FLSA.

For questions on the federal FLSA, contact the United States Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division in either Charlotte (704) 749-3360 or Raleigh (919) 790-2741.  Web site: http://www.dol.gov.

The NCDOL takes this position pursuant to N.C.G.S. 95-25.14(a)(1)b of the North Carolina Wage and Hour Act (WHA):  "Notwithstanding the above, any employee other than a learner, apprentice, student, or handicapped worker as defined in the Fair Labor Standards Act who is not otherwise exempt under the other provisions of this section, and for whom the applicable minimum wage under the Fair Labor Standards Act is less than the minimum wage provided in G.S. 95-25.3, is not exempt from the provisions of G.S. 95-25.3 or G.S. 95-25.4;" (95-25.4 is the overtime pay section under the WHA).

For questions or clarification, please contact:

North Carolina Department of Labor
Wage and Hour Bureau
1101 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-1101
(919) 807-2796 or (toll-free NC only) 1-800-NC-LABOR
Web site: http://www.nclabor.com

 

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