North Carolina Leave Laws




Vacation Leave

In North Carolina, employers are not required to provide employees with vacation benefits, either paid or unpaid. NC Dept. of Labor FAQs. If an employer chooses to provide such benefits, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract. NC Gen. Stat. 95-25.2(16).

If an employer establishes a vacation policies, 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.

NC Admin. Code 13 NCAC 12.0306.



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. NC Gen. Stat. 95-25.12; NC Dept. of Labor FAQs; NC Admin. Code 13 NCAC 12.0306.

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. NC Gen. Stat. 95-25.12; NC Admin. Code 13 NCAC 12.0306; NC Dept. of Labor FAQs.

An employer is required to pay accrued vacation to an employee upon separation from employment if its policy or contract requires it. NC Gen. Stat. 95-25.12; NC Admin. Code 13 NCAC 12.0306; NC Dept. of Labor FAQs.

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. NC Gen. Stat. 95-25.12; NC Admin. Code 13 NCAC 12.0306.

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. NC Gen. Stat. 95-25.12; NC Admin. Code 13 NCAC 12.0306; NC Dept. of Labor FAQs.

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. NC Gen. Stat. 95-25.12; NC Admin. Code 13 NCAC 12.0306; NC Dept. of Labor FAQs.



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 private employers to provide employees with either paid or unpaid holiday leave. NC Dept. of Labor FAQs In North Carolina, a private employer can require an employee to work holidays. A private 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.

State holidays

Visit our North Carolina State Holidays page for a list of holidays recognized and observed by the state of North Carolina as well as information regarding state laws governing holiday leave for public employers and employees.



Jury Duty Leave

An employer is not required to pay an employee for time spent responding to a jury summons or serving on a jury.

No employer may discharge or demote any employee because the employee has been called for jury duty, or is serving as a juror.

North Carolina Stat. 9-32



Voting Leave

North Carolina does not have a law which requires an employer to grant its employees leave, either paid or unpaid, to vote.



Bereavement Leave

North Carolina law does not require employers to provide employee bereavement leave. Bereavement leave is leave that is taken by an employee due to the death of another individual, usually a close relative. Employer may choose to provide bereavement leave and may be required to comply with any bereavement policy or practice it maintains.