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 Statute 21-5-1(c); WV Division of Labor – Fringe Benefits.

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 Division of Labor – Fringe Benefits.

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. WV Division of Labor – Fringe Benefits.

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. WV Division of Labor – Fringe Benefits.

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.

WV Statute 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.

WV Statute 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.


Family and Medical Leave

West Virginia labor laws do not require employers to provide employees with family and medical leave. West Virginia is covered by the federal mandates created by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

However, private employers can offer additional leave options to employees. These leave options must be outlined in employment contracts and followed. Otherwise, employees can receive 12 weeks of unpaid leave within 12 months under the FMLA.

Under the Family and Medical Leave Act, employees can get 12 weeks of unpaid time off for the following instances:

  • Caring for an ailing family member
  • Caring for an ailing or injured military family member
  • Recovering from a severe health condition
  • Bonding with a new child

Undoubtedly, the FMLA is highly beneficial to employees that don’t have additional leave coverage. However, you must qualify for this type of leave before being able to use it.

The eligibility requirements to consider for the Family and Medical Leave Act include:

  • Employees must have worked for their employer for a minimum of 12 months
  • Employees must have worked for their employer for a minimum of 1250 hours the previous year
  • Employees must work in a location with 50+ employees within a 75-mile radius

During your leave, employees will be able to use their original health insurance plans. Additionally, employees can use their accrued paid leave instead of unpaid leave.


Military Leave

Military members in West Virginia are entitled to the same benefits that the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) offers, including:

  • Employees have the right to continue group healthcare benefits for 24 months of their leave
  • Upon return, employees must be reinstated to the exact (or equivalent) previously held position
  • Employees must receive up to five years of unpaid leave for military service (with exceptions)

There isn’t any additional leave that employees in the military service receive at this time in West Virginia.

However, it’s important to note these current regulations also apply to those in organized state militias. Employers also cannot discriminate against or threaten employees when they are required to attend to military-related duties.


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