LEGAL GUIDE
Written by attorney Ivan Henry Mousaw | Jun 18, 2013

Basics of Vacation, Sick, and Holiday Time in North Carolina

Vacation Leave

In North Carolina, employers are not required to provide employees with vacation benefits, either paid or unpaid. If an employer chooses to provide such benefits, however, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract. Employees shall be notified in accordance with the law of any policy or practice which requires or results in loss or forfeiture of vacation time or pay. Employees not so notified are not subject to such loss or forfeiture.

If an employer establishes a vacation policy, the policy must address:

· How and when vacation is earned so that the employees know the amount of vacation to which they are entitled;

· Whether or not vacation time may be carried forward from one year to another, and if so, in what amount;

· When vacation time must be taken;

· When and if vacation pay may be paid in lieu of time off; and

· Under what conditions vacation pay will be forfeited upon discontinuation of employment for any reason.

Every employer shall:

(1) Notify its employees, orally or in writing at the time of hiring, of the promised wages and the day and place for payment;

(2) Make available to its employees, in writing or through a posted notice maintained in a place accessible to its employees, employment practices and policies with regard to promised wages;

(3) Notify employees, in writing or through a posted notice maintained in a place accessible to its employees, at least 24 hours prior to any changes in promised wages. Wages may be retroactively increased without the prior notice required by this subsection; and

(4) Furnish each employee with an itemized statement of deductions made from that employee's wages for each pay period such deductions are made

An employer may lawfully establish a policy or enter into a contract denying employees payment for accrued vacation leave upon separation from employment, so long as the employer has properly notified its employees in writing of the vacation policy.

An employer may also lawfully establish a policy or enter into a contract disqualifying employees from payment of accrued vacation upon separation from employment if they fail to comply with specific requirements, such as giving two weeks’ notice or being employed as of a specific date of the year, so long as the employer has properly notified its employees in writing of the vacation policy.

An employer is required to pay accrued vacation to an employee upon separation from employment if its policy or contract requires it.

An employer is required to pay accrued vacation leave upon separation from employment if the employer’s established policy or employment contract is silent on the matter.

An employer may cap the amount of vacation leave an employee may accrue over time, so long as the employer has properly notified its employees in writing of the vacation policy.

An employer may implement a “use-it-or-lose-it" policy requiring employees to use their leave by a set date or lose it, so long as the employer has properly notified its employees in writing of the vacation policy.

Sick Leave

North Carolina law does not require employers to provide employees with sick leave benefits, either paid or unpaid. If an employer chooses to provide sick leave benefits, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract.

An employer in North Carolina may be required to provide an employee unpaid sick leave in accordance with the Family and Medical Leave Act or other federal laws.

Holiday Leave

North Carolina law does not require employers to provide employees with either paid or unpaid holiday leave. In North Carolina, an employer can require an employee to work holidays. An employer does not have to pay an employee premium pay, such as 1½ times the regular rate, for working on holidays, unless such time worked qualifies the employee for overtime under standard overtime laws. If an employer chooses to provide either paid or unpaid holiday leave, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract

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