Wage and hour laws establish guidelines that employers must follow in terms of how they staff their companies and pay employees for hours worked. It is essential that Virginia’s employers become familiar with these laws in order to adhere to them correctly and avoid potential lawsuits.
Minimum Wage in Virginia
Virginia’s minimum wage is the same as it is at the federal level: $7.25. When the federal minimum wage increases, Virginia’s automatically increase, too. The guidelines set forth in the Virginia Minimum Wage Act govern employers with more than four workers (who aren’t immediate family members) who aren’t covered under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.
Minimum Wage of Tipped Workers: In Virginia, employees who receive tips are subject to the same guidelines as defined by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. These guidelines dictate that tipped employees may receive wages as low as $2.13 per hour provided that they make up enough in tips to reach the federal minimum wage for non-tipped employees, which is $7.25.
Does Minimum Wage Apply to Me: Virginia business owners who are not covered under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and who employ four or more individuals are governed by the state’s minimum wage laws. However, there are a number of exceptions. Some workers are also exempt from minimum wage requirements, among them are agricultural workers, cab drivers and any employee with a physical or mental disability. For a complete list of who is exempt from Virginia’s minimum wage laws, contact the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry.
When are Raises Required: Virginia employers are not required by law to give pay raises. Rather, when raises are given and how much of an increase occurs tend to be matters handled privately by the employer and the employee.
Work Hours in Virginia
There are no laws governing how many hours or days a week Virginia employees over the age of 16 are allowed to work. There are no federal guidelines, either.
Paying Overtime: Virginia does not have its own laws dictating the payment of employee overtime. Thus, Virginia’s employers must adhere to the guidelines set forth in the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, which state that employees must receive at least time-and-a-half for any hours that exceed 40 within a standard, seven-day workweek. There are several exemptions to overtime laws. Those paid on a salary basis and those who make more than $455 per week are among those exempt from overtime wage regulations.
Guaranteed Breaks and Meals: In Virginia, employers are not required by law to grant breaks to employees. The exception to this law is in the event that the employee is under 16 years of age. Virginia employees who are 14 and 15 years of age must receive at least a 30-minute break period for every five hours worked. Breastfeeding mothers who are eligible for overtime pay must also be given a clean space to breastfeed and a “reasonable” amount of time to do it. However, those who aren’t eligible for overtime pay are not granted these same allowances.
Paid Time-off and Sick Pay: Employers in the Commonwealth of Virginia are not required by law to offer sick pay, holiday pay, paid time off or severance pay. It is the decision of the employer as to whether to establish companywide policies with respect to these matters.
Notice Period for Employee Termination: Virginia is an employment-at-will state, meaning it is within the employer’s rights to terminate an employee at virtually any time, for any reason. Some exceptions exist, however. One example is that employees cannot be fired because they come forward with a safety complaint or otherwise exercise their rights as outlined by OSHA law.
Plant Closings & Layoffs: When it comes to plant closing and layoff laws, Virginia is subject to the guidelines set forth by the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act. Per the act, employers with more than 100 full-time employees must provide written notice at least 60 days prior to any plant closings or layoffs.
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