Living Wage and Minimum Wage – State Overview

Living wage and minimum wage. There’s a distinct difference between the two. For employees working at an hourly rate, it is essential that their employer follow all relevant laws regarding employee pay, overtime, and leave. Employees who make the federal minimum wage, or close to it, are automatically classified as non-exempt, meaning the employer is legally required to pay overtime rates for every hour over 40 in a work week. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employees who have had overtime pay incorrectly withheld can receive back wages for up to two years.

For more information about wage disputes and how an employment law firm can assist, head to our subject matter page on the topic. Below, you’ll find an overview of minimum wage laws in North Carolina, South Carolina, and New York.

North Carolina: According to the North Carolina Department of Labor (NCDOL), the minimum wage for employees in the state is $7.25 an hour. For employees who work on tips, the minimum wage is $2.13. It is the responsibility of the employers to ensure that tipped employees make at least that $7.25 in wage and tips combined. Find more information about filing a wage-related complaint with the NCDOL here.

South Carolina: The South Carolina minimum wage for employees is also the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. To file a wage complaint with the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation, go here.

New York: New York’s minimum wage structure is a bit more complicated. For hourly employees outside of New York City, the minimum wage is $13.20 as of December 31, 2021. For those in New York City, Long Island County, and Westchester County, the minimum wage is $15.00. We recommend taking a look at The New York Department of Labor’s “wage posters” to fully understand the variables that can tweak this rate slightly.

Gender discrimination and pay inequity can play a role in the discussion of living wage and minimum wage as well. The wage gap between male and female employees has narrowed in recent years, but it persists across the job spectrum. For some additional context about what constitutes gender-based pay discrimination, read our page on the subject here.

Additional factors like age discrimination may come into play too. If you are dealing with pay discrimination at work, we encourage you to reach out to our team and discuss your situation. You can schedule a consultation here, or by calling the appropriate office below.

Chapel Hill: 919-251-6008

Charlotte: 704-626-6648

New York: 212-662-6500

South Carolina: 864-565-9059

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