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North Carolina Minimum Wage Increase 2009

Posted by Tamara

There is good news for both employers and employees in North Carolina.

The good news for employees is that the North Carolina minimum wage will increase from $6.55 an hour to $7.25 an hour. The change represents an hourly hike of 70 cents per hour.

The change takes effect on July 24, 2009, the same day that the federal minimum wage increases, also from $6.55 to $7.25 per hour.

The good news for employers during this serious downtown in the economy is that in 2010 no federal minimum wage hike is planned.

The North Carolina minimum wage by state law must track the federal rate. When the federal minimum wage goes up on July 24, 2009, so does the North Carolina rate. For example, in 2007 both the federal minimum wage and the North Carolina wage went from $5.15 to $5.85 an hour. In 2008, both of them increased from $5.85 to $6.55.

North Carolina’s minimum wage law is under the enforcement umbrella of the North Carolina Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division.

The federal government’s Fair Labor Standards Act, also known as the FLSA, mandates that most employers must pay at least the federal minimum wage. There are exceptions, however. The FLSA is applied only to those employers who have a yearly revenue of at least $500,000, or who engage in interstate commerce. Even if the company as a whole is not involved in interstate commerce, those employees in the firm who are would be covered by the FLSA.

The FLSA covers schools, health care facilities, and hospitals. Tipped employees are not covered, and under both North Carolina and federal law may be paid less than minimum wage. In some states, federal law allows employers to pay tipped workers a mere $2.13 an hour. There is a safety net, however. During a pay period, if an employee does not earn $5.12 an hour on average, then the employer must make up the difference. Those tipped employees who work more than 40 hours a week must get a minimum of $10.88 in wages and tips hourly.

For more information, visit the Department of Labor website at


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