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What are the requirements relating to advertising open positions?

No state law in South Carolina requires employers to advertise open job positions.

Background checks
What can employers do with regard to background checks and inquiries?

(a) Criminal records and arrests

Employers may request the following criminal background information from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division:

  • unsealed conviction data;
  • non-conviction data;
  • non-disposition data;
  • findings of not guilty;
  • nolle prosequi;
  • dismissals; and
  • similar dispositions which show any final disposition of an arrest. 

(b) Medical history

Consistent with federal law, South Carolina law prohibits employers from inquiring into medical conditions of a job applicant, but employers may inquire into whether the job applicant can perform job-related functions. After an offer of employment has been extended, employers may require a medical examination. 

(c) Drug screening

Employers have the discretion to implement drug and alcohol-based testing for job applicants.  

(d) Credit checks

No state law in South Carolina covers credit checks.

(e) Immigration status

South Carolina law requires all private employers to enroll and participate in E-Verify. Employers must verify a new hire’s work authorization status within three business days from the date of hire, even if the employee is terminated within the first three days of employment.

(f) Social media

No state law covers social media.

(g) Other

South Carolina employers must report each new hire’s name, address, and social security number and the employer’s name, address, and federal employer identification number to the South Carolina Department of Social Services within 20 days of hiring the employee.

South Carolina employers must verify an individual’s identity and employment eligibility using E-Verify. Employers must submit the new employee’s name and information for verification within three business days of hire.

Wage and hour

What are the main sources of wage and hour laws in your state?

The South Carolina Payment of Wages Act and the federal Fair Labor Standards Act are the primary sources of wage and hour laws in South Carolina. South Carolina also has a child labor statute dictating the hours that minors are permitted to work. The South Carolina Payment of Wages Act requires an employer with five or more employees to notify an employee in writing at the time of hire of:

  • the agreed-upon wages;
  • the normal hours that he or she will work;
  • the time and place wages will be paid; and
  • the deductions the employer will make from his or her pay, including deductions for insurance.

In the event an employer wishes to make any changes to these terms, with the exception of an increase in pay, the employer must provide notice to the employee in writing at least seven calendar days before the change becomes effective. Employers are prohibited from making any deductions from an employee’s wages, unless the employer is required or permitted to do so by state or federal law, or has given written notice to the employee as required by the South Carolina Payment of Wages Act. The act requires that employers pay separated employees all wages due to them within 48 hours of separation or by the next regular payday, which may not exceed 30 days.

The term “wages” is broadly defined under the act and may include accrued and unused vacation, unless the employer has a policy stating otherwise. If an employer violates the South Carolina Payment of Wages Act, liability may include not only the wages due, but also up to three times the wages due and the employee’s attorneys’ fees and costs. In addition, personal liability for managers of a company may exist under the South Carolina Payment of Wages Act if certain circumstances are present.

What is the minimum hourly wage?

No state law in South Carolina covers minimum wage. The federal Fair Labor Standards Act governs minimum wage.

What are the rules applicable to final pay and deductions from wages?

The South Carolina Payment of Wages Act requires an employer to pay an employee all wages due to him or her within 48 hours of the day of separation or the next regularly scheduled payday, not to exceed 30 days.  

Hours and overtime
What are the requirements for meal and rest breaks?

No requirement under South Carolina law for meal and rest breaks exists. The federal Fair Labor Standards Act governs the rules for meal and rest breaks.  

What are the maximum hour rules?

No state law covers maximum hour rules.  

How should overtime be calculated?

No state law covers overtime pay. Overtime should be calculated pursuant to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.

What exemptions are there from overtime?

No state law covers overtime pay. Any exemptions from overtime should be determined pursuant to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.

Record keeping
What payroll and payment records must be maintained?

Under the South Carolina Payment of Wages Act, an employer must retain the following information on employees for three years:

  • names;
  • addresses;
  • wages paid each payday; and
  • deductions. 

Additionally, the regulations for the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce require that the following records be maintained for five years for purposes of unemployment insurance calculations:

  • the start and end dates of each pay period and the largest number of workers employed during each calendar week of each pay period; and
  • each employee’s:
    • full name;
    • social security number;
    • number of hours worked each week, if less than fulltime;
    • amount of money wages paid;
    • reasonable cash value of remuneration paid in a form other than cash;
    • dates of hire, re-hire, or return to work after temporary layoff; and
    • date and reason for separation from employment.

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