North Dakota Salaried Employees Laws

April 11th 2024

Salaried employees in North Dakota receive a fixed amount of compensation at regular intervals, such as weekly or less frequently. The state has established laws and regulations that protect both salaried employees and their employers.

This article describes the laws and regulations that define the rights and obligations of salaried employees and their employers in North Dakota. It discusses various aspects, including payment procedures, break and leave privileges, and the classification of exempt and nonexempt employees.

This article covers:


Payment of Wages for Salaried Employees in North Dakota

Regular Minimum Wage $7.25
Tipped Minimum Wage $4.86
Subminimum Wage $7.25 for minors

$6.16 for students in vocational education or related programs

North Dakota employees are guaranteed the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, ensuring a baseline level of compensation for their work.

In North Dakota, employees who regularly receive at least $30 in tips per month are considered tipped employees. Employers can take credit for up to 33% of the tips. Hence, tipped employees in North Dakota receive an hourly rate of $4.86. Employers have to ensure that the total earnings per hour for tipped employees, including tips and wages must equal $7.25. If not, the employer must compensate for the difference.

Meanwhile, working students who are enrolled in vocational education or related programs are entitled to an hourly wage of $6.16, which is 85% of the state minimum wage. This rate only applies up until their first year of employment, after which their compensation is increased to $7.25. Minors receive the standard $7.25 minimum wage. North Dakota does not offer a training wage.

People with disabilities in North Dakota are entitled to a commensurate wage. This is another type of subminimum wage paid, with the compensation based on the employee’s productivity in proportion to the productivity of workers who do not have disabilities, performing the same type of work.

There are employees exempt from the minimum wage rate. These include:

  • Volunteers who work on a part-time basis (public services, religious, nonprofit, and charitable organizations, hospitals, etc.)
  • People in employment programs for youthful or first-time offenders
  • Actors or extras for motion pictures
  • Babysitters working less than 20 hours per week
  • Prison or jail inmates performing work directly associated with the prison, jail, institution, state, or political subdivision
  • Employees of nonprofit camps for youth education
  • Guides, cooks, or camp-tenders for a hunting or fishing guide service
  • Golf course caddies

Pay Frequency and Method for Salaried Employees in North Dakota

Employers in North Dakota are obligated to compensate their employees for all earned wages on a scheduled payday at least once a month. Various pay-frequency schemes adopted by employers include:

  • Weekly: Employees receive payment once a week, amounting to 52 paychecks annually.
  • Biweekly: Employees receive their compensation every other week, resulting in 26 paychecks annually.
  • Semi-monthly: Employees receive two paychecks a month, accumulating to 24 paychecks annually.
  • Monthly: Employees are paid once a month, receiving 12 paychecks annually.

Employers must pay wages using the following payment methods:

  • Cash
  • Checks
  • Direct bank deposits of the employee’s choice
  • Stored value card (or payroll) card (when offered)

If the employer issues payments through a stored value card, the employer must ensure the card meets the following requirements:

  • Issued by a federally insured bank
  • Insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
  • Funded in advance by the employer with an amount equal to the employee’s compensation

Salaried Employees Eligibility for Overtime in North Dakota

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), salaried employees in North Dakota may be eligible for overtime pay. If they work more than 40 hours in a week. This entails receiving 1.5 times their regular pay for any hours worked beyond the 40-hour threshold. It is important to note that only regular payments are considered in overtime calculations, and exclude premiums, expenses, gifts, or specific bonuses (such as those for weekend or holiday work).

If certain criteria are met, salaried employees can be categorized as exempt. Exemptions are often based on job duties, salary level, and salary basis.

Pay for Working Overtime for North Dakota Salaried Employees

In North Dakota, salaried employees who are considered non-exempt are eligible to receive overtime compensation. If the minimum hourly rate for salaried employees is $7.25, the succeeding hours after the 40-hour benchmark are paid for at $10.88.

Besides cash compensation for overtime, employees in government or public agencies are entitled to compensatory time. Compensatory time is given as an alternative to cash payments for overtime compensation. In North Dakota, compensatory time is calculated at 1.5 hours for each hour of overtime. However, prior to this compensation scheme, there must be a written agreement between the employer and employee to utilize compensatory time for overtime pay.

Accrual hours for compensatory time are limited to 40 hours. Any further work done exceeding the 40-hour accrued limit shall be paid in cash on the next paycheck.

Exceptions to Overtime Exemptions for North Dakota Salaried Employees

While overtime pay is a mandatory requirement for most employees, certain jobs and specific worker categories are exempt from this obligation. The exemptions include:

  • Employees who are classified as bona fide executive, administrative, and professional workers.
  • Employees in agricultural occupations.
  • Individuals who dedicate at least 51% of their working time to providing care in foster homes, shelters, and related facilities.
  • Domestic service employees who reside in the households where they work.
  • Commission sales representatives in retail automobile, trailer, boat, truck, aircraft, or farm dealerships, in situations where they are only required to work for up to 40 hours per week.
  • Computer employees with a minimum hourly rate of $27.63.
  • Fieldwork employees involved in sales or order-taking activities.
  • Mechanics who earn a percentage of a flat rate schedule.
  • Retail employees whose regular hourly pay exceeds 1.5 times the minimum rate and receive at least 51% of their compensation from commissions on goods or services (for a minimum period of 1 month).
  • Announcers, news editors, or chief engineers employed at radio or television stations.
  • Artistic or creative professionals.
  • Employees of covered motor carriers, as specified by the Motor Carriers Act.
  • Teachers, instructors, or lecturers employed in schools or educational systems.
  • Employees who received high compensation, earning over $100,000 per year with a minimum of $684 paid per week, and primarily performing office or non-manual work.
  • Employees who provide care for elderly or disabled persons, with less than 20% of their work involving household tasks.

Some North Dakota employees are eligible for overtime pay under the Fluctuating Workweek Method (FWW) if they receive a fixed salary and their workweek hours tend to fluctuate. The arrangement allows eligible employees to receive overtime pay at a rate 0.5 times their regular hourly rate for every hour worked over 40 hours in a week.

Learn more in detail about North Dakota Overtime Laws.

Violation of Salaried Employees’ Wages Payment in North Dakota

According to the North Dakota Century Code, Section 14 of Chapter 34, all employers are required to pay employees at least once each month and pay terminated or laid-off employees on the next regular payday. Any employer who intentionally refuses to pay the due wages, falsely denies the amount owed, or seeks discounts with the intent to harass, oppress, hinder, delay, or defraud the employee is guilty of an infraction.

Employees have the right to recover unpaid wages and may be entitled to interest, or even double or triple the unpaid compensation, depending on the employer’s history of previous wage claims within the specified timeframe. These provisions do not apply to wage claims under the Railway Labor Act or contested applications of collective bargaining agreements.

Male and Female Salaried Employees in North Dakota

According to Chapter 34-06.01 of the North Dakota Century Code, the state asserts that gender discrimination is unjust. This relates specifically to paying lower wages to employees of one gender compared to employees of the opposite gender engaged in similar work with comparable job requirements.

An employer found guilty of violating the regulations outlined in the Equal Pay Act is accountable to the affected employee or employees for the sum of their outstanding wages. In cases where the violation is deemed willful, employees have the option to pursue legal action for liquidated damages.

Leave Entitlements for Salaried Employees in North Dakota

In North Dakota, employers are mandated to provide required and non-required leaves to their salaried employees. Leave entitlements allow employees to take time off from work while safeguarding their job and employment rights as they fulfill their obligations outside work.

Government (or public) employers are mandated to offer annual leave. An employee can accrue up to 240 hours per year for their annual leave; the limitation on accrued hours depends on the employee’s length of service. Employees take annual leave for vacation or to substitute for sick leave.

With the lack of state law mandating sick leave, employers in North Dakota may offer paid or unpaid sick leave to their employees. However, certain employers may offer sick leave as part of their benefit package, as stipulated in their employment agreements. Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), eligible employees have the right to unpaid leave for up to 12 workweeks in a 12-month period due to medical reasons or to render care for family members.

Meanwhile, employees who need to take time off for military duties are entitled to military service leave. The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) ensures job protection and reemployment rights for employees. Additionally, various provisions exist for leave related to disaster services, emergency medical services, firefighting, bone marrow and organ donation, honor guard duties, jury duty, witness obligations, and funeral leave for public sector employees. However, private employers are not compelled to provide these benefits, leaving such arrangements to the discretion of individual employers and employment contracts.

Break Entitlements for Salaried Employees in North Dakota

In North Dakota, salaried employees enjoy specific break entitlements at work:

  • Meal Breaks: Employers are required to provide employees, including salaried ones, with an unpaid 30-minute meal break if their scheduled work exceeds five hours and when two or more employees are on duty. The break allows employees to have a meal and is not compensated.
  • Rest Breaks: North Dakota does not impose additional obligations for providing rest breaks. These breaks have shorter intervals, offering employees a brief break during the workday, but are not explicitly mandated.
  • Paid Breaks: As per federal regulations, breaks lasting less than 20 minutes must be compensated. Short breaks that are less than 20 minutes are considered part of the workday, and employees should be compensated for them.
  • 24-Hour Rest Period: Retail employers in North Dakota are required to grant their employees at least 24 consecutive hours off within seven days. This ensures that retail employees have a rest day each week.
  • Religious Accommodations: Retail employers are obligated to accommodate an employee’s request for time off to attend weekly worship services unless specific conditions apply, such as a substantial burden on other employees. However, employers are expected to make reasonable efforts to accommodate requests.

Deductions from Exempt Employees’ Salaries in North Dakota

Employers are prohibited from making deductions from exempt employees’ salaries at any time for any reason. Salary deductions are only permissible if the deducted items benefit the employees (insurance, taxes, FICA, and other employee benefits). An employee’s salary may also be deducted due to the following:

1. Absence from work for one or more full days (unless the employee has accrued sick leave or other leave benefits).
2. To compensate any amounts received as payment for jury fees, witness fees, or military pay.
3. Unpaid leave is taken under the Family Medical Leave Act.
4. Disciplinary action.
5. An employee with less than 40 hours of work during the first or last week of employment. A percentage of the employee’s full salary will be deducted to compensate for the unaccounted work hours.

Termination of Employment for Salaried Employees in North Dakota

North Dakota follows an “at-will” employment policy, allowing employers to terminate workers at any time for any reason. However, there are exceptions where this practice is not permissible and is considered wrongful termination. Such situations include:

  • Discrimination: Employers cannot terminate their employees based on their race, color, religion, gender, disability, or pregnancy.
  • Witness or Jury Duty Services: Employers cannot fire employees called by the authority to perform jury or witness duties.
  • Retaliation: Employers cannot terminate employees for refusing to carry out orders believed to violate laws, rules, or agreements.

Further, under North Dakota law, if the employment agreement outlines a specific term, the at-will policy no longer applies. In such cases, employment may be terminated for the following reasons:

  • Expiration of the term.
  • Death of the employee.
  • Employee neglect of duty.
  • Job extinction (jobs lost to automation).

Learn more about North Dakota Labor Laws through our detailed guide.

Important Cautionary Note

This content is provided for informational purposes only. While we make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information presented, we cannot guarantee that it is free of errors or omissions. Users are advised to independently verify any critical information and should not solely rely on the content provided.