South Carolina protects employees in their workplace with labor laws. Employers must follow South Carolina laws to make sure that employees are not losing the rights the state has given them. Employees should look into their rights to make sure that their employer is following the laws in their business. Violations of labor laws can be complex and may require legal action to resolve any disputes that might be involve.

What is the Difference Between Part-Time vs. Full-Time in South Carolina?

South Carolina does not have a strict amount of hours you have to work to be part-time or full-time. Instead, it depends on your employer. So employees should reach out and speak to their Human Resources department to see if they are considered a part-time or full-time employee. Part-time or full-time status can have various effects on a person’s employment arrangement, including their:

  • Medical, dental, and life insurance options;
  • Overtime pay status;
  • Retirement benefits; and/or
  • Tax filing implications.

Of course, benefits such as medical and other aspects may be subject to agreement between employers and employees. These might be spelled out specifically in the employment contract if they have one.

Understanding Minimum Wage and Overtime in South Carolina

South Carolina follows the federal minimum wage, which is $7.25 per hour, rather than set its own minimum wage. Tipped employees earn only $2.13 per hour. These rates may be subject to legislative change over time.

South Carolina does not have its own state laws about overtime. Instead, employers are expected to follow the federal Fair Labor Standards Act requirement of paying 1 and ½ times the regular pay if you work over 40 hours per week. South Carolina also does not place any limits on the amount of overtime that employers can request of their employees.

Disputes over wage rates and overtime pay can result in a wage and hour lawsuit. A common example of such a dispute is where a South Carolina employee works overtime hours and should be earning an overtime rate, but the employer withholds some or all of their overtime pay. In such cases, the employer may face legal consequences due to the violation.

Do Employees Have Health Benefits in South Carolina?

There are no specific laws in South Carolina that covers employees and required health benefits. Instead, the state follows the Affordable Care Act (ACA), wherein any employer that has more than 50 or more full-time employees must offer health insurance. This plan must cover at least 60% of typical health costs. If your company is not that large, then it is up to the company to decide if they will provide health insurance.

Does South Carolina Offer Employment Discrimination Protection?

It is illegal to discriminate against an employee on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, or citizenship status based on federal laws. This applies to all states, including South Carolina. Additionally, the South Carolina Human Affairs Law prohibits South Carolina employers from discriminating against employees for their familial status.

If you are the victim of workplace discrimination you have to first file a complaint with either the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the South Carolina Human Affairs Commission. There are several time limits you should be careful about and speak with a local lawyer to find out what they are.  Fortunately for any employee who wants to file a discrimination complaint, South Carolina makes it illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee for filing said complaint.

If you file in a state court in South Carolina, you cannot sue for compensatory (pain and suffering) or punitive (punishment for bad behavior) damages. If you file with a federal court, the amount you can receive depends on the size of the company. The damages limits are listed below:

  • Max of $50,000 for companies with 15 to 100 employees;
  • Max of $100,000 for companies with 101 to 200 employees;
  • Max of $200,000 for companies with 201 to 500 employees; and
  • Max of $300,000 for companies with more than 500 employees.

Does South Carolina Have Paid Time-Off?

South Carolina is under the jurisdiction of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which covers employees that are employed by companies that have 50 or more employees and conduct business in multiple states.

Under the law, employers have to allow for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. During that time the employer cannot stop medical and health benefits and employees have the right to go back to their job when they return.

South Carolina does not require employers to provide vacation or sick leave. Private employers can make employees work holidays, but government employees do have public holidays off.

Where Can I Find a South Carolina Employment Lawyer to Help Me?

Challenging an employer about labor law violations can be daunting. If you think your employing is denying your rights and protections offered South Carolina and federal laws, then you need to consult with a South Carolina employment lawyer. Your attorney can provide you with legal advice, guidance, and representation for your particular employment law issue.