Wage and Hour Laws in South Carolina | Current South Carolina Labor Laws


South Carolina Minimum Wage

State law in South Carolina does not establish a minimum wage. This means that the federal rate applies. As of 2021, the federal rate is $7.25 an hour, unless you are a service worker who receives tips. Tipped workers may be paid $2.13.

The minimum wage rate applies to all South Carolina workers, except for exempt occupations, student workers, and tipped employees. If your job is exempted from the minimum wage, some employers may pay you below the specified amount.

All employers must have an approved minimum wage poster displayed in an obvious place where employees can see the information, including their worker’s rights. Failure to display this informative poster will result in severe fines for the employers.

For more information on South Carolina’s labor laws, visit our South Carolina Minimum Wage Laws page.


South Carolina Overtime

South Carolina labor laws do not control the payment of overtime in the workplace. Federal overtime laws apply, meaning that non-exempt employees are guaranteed one and a half times their hourly pay for time worked in excess of 40 hours in one workweek. The U.S. Department of Labor enforces these policies and hears complaints against employers who are not in compliance. See FLSA: Overtime for more information regarding overtime requirements.

Although there is no daily limit for overtime, the FLSA or the Fair Labor Standards Act ensures that all employees receive overtime pay for all acceptable hours worked. If an employer does not honor the hours you have worked beyond the 40-hour limit, you can file a claim with the South Carolina Department of Labor for unpaid overtime.


South Carolina Prevailing Wages

South Carolina does not have a state labor law that regulates prevailing wage rates for citizens working on government projects or service contracts.

Under certain circumstances, employers in South Carolina may be required to pay residents rates established by federal prevailing wage rates and rules. The prevailing rates may be different from the federal and state’s standard minimum wage.

Employees may be eligible if they work on government or government-funded construction projects or perform certain public services. See the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts, McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act (SCA), and Walsh-Healey Public Contracts Act (PCA) for more information.


South Carolina Meals and Breaks

South Carolina does not have any state labor laws requiring an employer to provide a meal period or breaks to employees. SC Dept. of Labor FAQs. The federal rule does not require an employer to provide either a meal period or breaks.

However, if an employer chooses to do so, breaks, usually of the type lasting less than 20 minutes, must be paid. Meal or lunch periods (usually 30 minutes or more) do not need to be paid, so long as the employee is free to do as they wish during the meal or lunch period. DOL: Breaks and Meal Periods.


South Carolina Nursing Mother Breaks

South Carolina labor laws require certain employers to provide nursing mothers with reasonable accommodations, including more frequent or longer break periods to express breast milk. Employers are also required to provide employees with a private place, other than a bathroom stall, to express breast milk.

The employer is not required to construct a permanent, dedicated space to qualify as a private place. To be required to provide employees with nursing mother breaks, employers must have fifteen (15) or more employees who work each day in each of twenty (20) or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year. SC 1-13-30(e); SC 1-13-30(t)


South Carolina Equal Pay

South Carolina does not have specific labor laws regarding equal pay. However, under the federal Equal Pay Act of 1963, two employees of different sexes may not be paid different salaries for the same work, given that they have similar qualifications, experience, and job performance.

Employees who feel they have been discriminated against in the workplace or paid inequally can file a formal complaint. The South Carolina Human Affairs Commission is the state regulatory body that hears formal discrimination complaints against employers. These complaints are passed onto the appropriate federal entity for investigation.


Leave Laws

Employers in South Carolina are not required to provide paid or unpaid leave to their workers.

Vacation Leave

Private-sector employers from South Carolina have no legal obligations to provide vacation leave benefits to their employees, paid or unpaid. Therefore, employers can create personal or vacation leave policies suitable to the needs of the workplace and employees.

Nonetheless, employers must understand that they may need to draft a legal obligation to fulfill their promise of vacation.

Sick Leave

South Carolina law does not require its employers to provide paid or unpaid sick leave benefits to their employees. If an employer decides to do so, it should be indicated in the employment contract. However, they are mandated to conform to the Family and Medical Leave Act and other federal laws, requiring them to offer sick leave benefits.

Some sick leave policies allow employees to take time off if they are sick or need to care for a child, spouse, or even parents. On the other hand, other sick leave guidelines may require further revision and review for those requiring additional leave.

Holiday Leave

Employers in South Carolina are not required to offer their employees holiday leave, whether paid or unpaid. These private employers may even ask their workers to work on holidays.

There is no premium pay for private employees working on holidays unless their work hours fall under the standard overtime law. If an employer decides to offer holiday leave benefits, it should be stated in the employment contract terms and company policy.

Jury Duty Leave

Under the South Carolina law, all employers need to provide their employees with unpaid time off when responding to a jury summons. Employees may be required to present the jury summons they received for the approval of the necessary leave.

Employers have no right to punish their employees for being absent to attend their jury duties. On the other hand, an employee may be excused from responding to the jury summons if his absence will result in undue hardship to his employer.

Voting Leave

South Carolina does not have a law mandating employers to give their employees time off to cast their votes. Employees who need to be present at work on election day can vote via absentee voting.

More information about South Carolina leave laws may now be found on our South Carolina Leave Laws page.


Severance Pay

South Carolina labor laws do not require employers to provide employees with severance pay. If an employer chooses to provide severance benefits, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract.


Unemployment

Under certain circumstances, South Carolina residents may be eligible for unemployment benefits while they search for another job. You are required to certify that you are unemployed on a weekly basis to receive these benefits. See South Carolina State Unemployment Benefits.

The Department of Employment and Workforce determines eligibility and handles unemployment benefits for those who lost their jobs. There are eligibility requirements unemployed individuals must meet to qualify for the unemployment benefits offered by the state of South Carolina.

  • An unemployed person’s past earnings must meet a minimum amount during a base period. Technically, his earnings in the highest quarter of a one-year base period must have reached $1,092. Additionally, his total earnings for that base period must have reached $4,455.
  • A person’s unemployment reason must not be his fault, as described by the South Carolina law. He may be laid off or quit the job voluntarily.
  • An unemployed individual must be able and willing to work again while actively looking for another job.

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We hope you find our newsletters help you better navigate employment and labor law issues.