The North Dakota employment
law guide

The North Dakota labor laws every business owner should know

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Wages and breaks

North dakota Minimum wage

The current minimum wage in North Dakota is $7.25.

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Tipped min wage

The minimum wage for tipped employees is $4.86.

Employers, except for those who work in certain gaming organizations, are prohibited from requiring employees to participate in a tip pooling or sharing agreement.

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North Dakota Overtime

North Dakota law requires employers to pay non-exempt employees an overtime rate of 1 ½  their regular rate for all hours worked in a workweek in excess of 40.

The federal overtime rule stipulates that the minimum salary requirement for administrative, professional, and executive exemptions is $684 per week, or $35,568 per year.

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30 min unpaid per 5 hrs
North Dakota Breaks

Employers must provide employees with an unpaid 30-minute meal break when scheduled to work more than 5 hours and 2 or more employees are on duty.

There are no additional requirements to provide rest breaks in North Dakota.

According to federal regulations, if breaks are provided and the break lasts less than 20 minutes, it must be paid.

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24hr per 7 days
North Dakota Retail weekly breaks

Retail employers must allow their employees to have at least 24 consecutive hours off from work in every seven-day period.

A retail employer must grant an employee’s request for time off to attend worship services once a week, unless any of the following apply:

It would cause a substantial economic burden
It would impose a significant burden on other employees required to cover for the employee
The employer made a reasonable effort to accommodate the employee’s request

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Final paychecks in North Dakota

According to North Dakota law, all employees who separate from employment, no matter the reason, must be paid all final wages no later than the regular payday the wages would be due.

If an employee is not paid by the required day, the employee is entitled to collect the value of the wages they would have earned had they continued working for each day the employer is in default, up to 30 days.

North Dakota child labor laws

Minors 14 and 15 years of age
When school is in session, they may work a maximum of 3 hours a day on school days, a maximum of 8 hours a day on non-school days, a maximum of 18 hours a week during school weeks. They may only work between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. and may not work during school hours.

When school is not in session, the may work a maximum of 8 hours a day, no more than 40 hours a week, and only between the hours of 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. from June 1 to Labor Day.

Minors 16 and 17 years of age
Minors 16 and 17 years of age are not subject to any time restrictions.

Leave requirements

North Dakota Sick days

Employers are not required to provide paid or unpaid sick leave but must comply with their own established policies  in their employee handbook if they choose to implement one.

North Dakota Family and medical leave

Employers may be required to provide an employee unpaid leave in accordance with the Family and Medical Leave Act or other federal laws.

North Dakota Bereavement leave

Employers are not required to provide bereavement leave.

North Dakota Vacation time

Employers are not required to provide paid or unpaid vacation leave, but must comply with any established policy or contract.

Employers can’t require employees to forfeit any accrued vacation leave upon separation from employment, regardless of the reason.

Employers can cap the amount of vacation leave an employee can accrue.

Employers can implement a “use-it-or-lose-it” policy that requires employees to use their leave by a certain date.

North Dakota Holiday leave

Private employers are not required to provide paid or unpaid time off for holidays.

North Dakota Jury Duty leave

Employers are not required to pay an employee for time taken to respond to a jury summons, but they are not allowed to punish the employee in any way.

North Dakota Voting time

State law “encourages” employers to allow employees to take time off to  vote if their work schedules conflict with voting poll times. Still, there is no guaranteed right to the time off.

North Dakota Witness leave

Employers cannot take any adverse action against an employee for taking leave to appear as a witness.

North Dakota Military Leave

The federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) is applicable to all employers in the United States.

Hiring and firing

North Dakota Discrimination Laws

Federal law makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate on the basis of: Race, Color, Age, Sex, Sexual orientation, Gender, Gender identity, Religion, National origin, Pregnancy, Genetic information, including family medical history, Physical or mental disability, Child or spousal support withholding, Military or veteran status, Citizenship and/or immigration status.

Additionally, North Dakota law makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate on the basis of: Marital status; Receipt of public assistance; Lawfully keeping and bearing arms; Status as a volunteer emergency responder; Wage garnishment for consumer debt; Lawful activity off the premises during non-work hours.

Click here to read our blog on what acceptable and unacceptable questions to ask during an interview.

North Dakota Termination laws

North Dakota is an employment-at-will state, which means that without a written employee contract, employees can be terminated for any reason at any time, provided that the reason is not discriminatory and that the employer is not retaliating against the employee for a rightful action.

For layoffs and workforce reductions, North Dakota requires that employers provide 48 hours’ written notice to North Dakota Job Service before a mass separation. A “mass separation” means laying off 25 or more workers for the same reason in a single establishment permanently, for an indefinite period, or for at least seven days. The notice must contain the following information:

The reasons for the mass separation
The names of affected workers
The social security numbers of affected workers

North Dakota Record-Keeping laws

Regarding employment and payroll data, under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and others, you must:

For at least 3 years: keep payroll records, certificates, agreements, notices, collective bargaining agreements, employment contracts, and sales and purchase records. Also keep completed copies of each employee’s I-9 for three years after they are hired. If the employee works longer than three years, hold on to the form for at least one year after the employee leaves. 

For at least 2 years: Keep basic employment and earning records like timecards, wage-rate tables, shipping and billing records, and records of additions to or deductions from wages. Also keep the records that show why you may pay different wages to employees of different sexes, such as wage rates, job evaluations, seniority and merit systems, and collective bargaining agreements.

For at least 1 year: The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says employers should keep all employment records for at least one year from the employee’s date of termination. 

Other record-keeping laws that may apply to you: 

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, you need to keep records of job-related injuries and illnesses for five years. But some records, like those covering toxic substance exposure, have to be kept for 30 years.

You must keep files of benefit plans and seniority and merit systems while they are in effect and for at least a year after they end. You must also retain summary descriptions and annual reports of benefits plans for six years.

If your company is covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act, you must also retain relevant records of leaves, notices, policies, and more for three years.

Additional laws that may apply to you.

North Dakota Pay Practices

Employers must pay their employees at least monthly on regular paydays the employer chooses in advance. Employers may choose the timing of paying their employees. Employers must provide the following information with an employee’s wages: Their rate of pay; Hours worked; Itemized deductions.

North Dakota Background Check laws

Employers who run background checks should ensure they’re following the requirements of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which are available here.

North Dakota requires that employers conduct background checks on the following types of employees: Those who work in an adult family foster care facility; Security officers at the state university; Substance abuse treatment program personnel if they may have contact with adolescents receiving treatment; School personnel who have unsupervised contact with students.

North Dakota Credit and Investigative Check laws

North Dakota does not expressly allow or prohibit employers from obtaining credit checks on applicants or employees.

North Dakota Arrest and Conviction Check laws

North Dakota does not expressly allow or prohibit employers from using criminal histories for employment purposes. However, the North Dakota Department of Labor has issued a guide called “Employment Applications and Interviews,” which indicates that employers should not ask about arrest records at all, and if asking about convictions should limit their inquiry to felonies.

North Dakota Drug and Alcohol Testing laws

Employers may test their applicants or employees for drugs or alcohol. However, they must pay for the test as well as for any medical records.

North Dakota Whistleblower Protection laws

Employers may not discharge or discriminate against an employee for any of the following reasons: Because the employee reported in good faith an alleged violation of the law; Because the employee filed a complaint in good faith; Because the employee participated in an investigation or proceeding in good faith; Because the employee opposed an unlawful discriminatory practice.

North Dakota COBRA

COBRA is a federal law that allows many employees to continue their health insurance benefits after their employment ends. Because federal COBRA only applies to employers that have 20 or more employees, many states have adopted their own versions of the law, which are known as “mini-COBRAs.” North Dakota’s mini-COBRA allows employees to continue their coverage for up to 39 weeks. Each individual certification of coverage must contain a notice of the right to continue coverage. We recommend informing an employee as soon as a triggering event occurs.

North Dakota Shift Scheduling laws

Retail employers must allow their employees to have at least 24 consecutive hours off from work in every seven-day period. A retail employer must grant an employee’s request for time off to attend worship services once a week, unless any of the following apply: It would cause a substantial economic burden, It would impose a significant burden on other employees required to cover for the employee, or The employer made a reasonable effort to accommodate the employee’s request.

North Dakota Uniform laws

Employers may establish a dress code or require employees to wear uniforms. However, unless it would create an undue hardship on the business, an employer must reasonably accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs or practices, including dress and grooming.

Compliance Calendar

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This summary is not qualified legal advice. Laws are always subject to change, and they can vary from municipality to municipality. It’s up to you to make sure you’re compliant with all laws and statutes in your area. If you need more compliance help, we recommend consulting with a qualified lawyer, checking with your local government agencies, or signing up for Homebase to get help from our certified HR Pros.