West Virginia Leave Laws




Vacation Leave

In West Virginia, employers are not required to provide employees with vacation benefits, either paid or unpaid. If an employer chooses to provide such benefits, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract. WV Code 21-5-1(c) & (l), 3(a).

An employer may lawfully establish a policy or enter into a contract denying employees payment for accrued vacation leave upon separation from employment, if the forfeiture policy is clearly and explicitly stated in the employer’s established policy or employment contract. See Meadows v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 207 W. Va. 203, 530 S.E.2d 676 (WV Sup. Ct. 1999).



An employer may also lawfully establish a policy or enter into a contract disqualifying employees from payment of accrued vacation upon separation from employment if they fail to comply with specific requirements, such as giving two weeks notice or being employed as of a specific date of the year, if the forfeiture policy is clearly and explicitly stated in the employer’s established policy or employment contract. See Meadows v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 207 W. Va. 203, 530 S.E.2d 676 (WV Sup. Ct. 1999).

An employer is required to pay accrued vacation to an employee upon separation from employment if its policy or contract requires it. WV Code 21-5-1(c) & (l), 3(a).

An employer is required to pay accrued vacation leave upon separation from employment if the employer’s established policy or employment contract is silent on the matter. See Meadows v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 207 W. Va. 203, 530 S.E.2d 676 (WV Sup. Ct. 1999).

An employer may cap the amount of vacation leave an employee may accrue over time. See Meadows v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 207 W. Va. 203, 530 S.E.2d 676 (WV Sup. Ct. 1999).

An employer may implement a “use-it-or-lose-it” policy requiring employees to use their leave by a set date or lose it, so long as the employee has agreed to the policy in writing. See Meadows v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 207 W. Va. 203, 530 S.E.2d 676 (WV Sup. Ct. 1999).



Sick Leave

West Virginia law does not require employers to provide employees with sick leave benefits, either paid or unpaid. If an employer chooses to provide sick leave benefits, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract.

An employer in West Virginia may be required to provide an employee sick leave in accordance with the Family and Medical Leave Act or other federal laws.



Holiday Leave

West Virginia law does not require private employers to provide employees with either paid or unpaid holiday leave. In West Virginia, a private employer can require an employee to work holidays. A private employer does not have to pay an employee premium pay, such as 1½ times the regular rate, for working on holidays, unless such time worked qualifies the employee for overtime under standard overtime laws. If an employer chooses to provide either paid or unpaid holiday leave, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract.

State holidays

Visit our West Virginia State Holidays page for a list of holidays recognized and observed by the state of West Virginia as well as information regarding state laws governing holiday leave for public employers and employees.



Jury Duty Leave

An employer is not required to pay an employee for time spent responding to a jury summons or serving on a jury.

An employer must excuse an employee from work for the day or days required in serving as a juror if the employee shows his or her jury summons to the employer, including his or her immediate supervisor, on the next workday after receiving the summons.

West Virginia Stat. 52-1-21



Voting Leave

West Virginia law requires employers to provide an employee with up to three (3) hours of paid leave to vote so long as the employee has requested the time off to vote in writing three (3) days before to the day of the election or vote. Employers are not required to provide paid leave to vote to employees who have three (3) hours of off-duty time to vote while polls are open but voluntarily choose not vote.

In essential government, health, hospital, transportation and communication services and in production, manufacturing and processing works requiring continuity in operation, an employer may arrange employees’ schedules on the day of an election or vote so as to cause the least amount of interruption to business operation as possible. Such an employer must ensure, however, that each employee has sufficient time to vote while polls are open.

West Virginia Stat. 3-1-42



Bereavement Leave

West Virginia law does not require employers to provide employee bereavement leave. Bereavement leave is leave that is taken by an employee due to the death of another individual, usually a close relative. Employer may choose to provide bereavement leave and may be required to comply with any bereavement policy or practice it maintains.