West Virginia Labor Laws 2024 | Wage and Hour Laws in West Virginia


Minimum Wage

Currently, the minimum wage in West Virginia is $8.75. All employers must pay either state or federal minimum wage rates, whichever is greater. Also, minimum wage laws do not apply to employers with fewer than six employees in an establishment per workweek.

Employers must pay tipped employees in West Virginia a minimum of $2.62/hour. They may also take tip credits equal to 70% of the state minimum wage.

Employers must ensure their employees receive minimum wage when tips and tipped wages are combined. If tipped employees aren’t paid basic minimum wage when tipped wages and tips are combined, employers must pay the difference.Visit our West Virginia minimum wage information page to learn more about minimum wage in West Virginia.

Related topic covered on other pages include:


Overtime

West Virginia labor laws require an employer to pay overtime to employees, unless otherwise exempt, at the rate of 1½ times the employee’s regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a workweek. See FLSA: Overtime for more information regarding overtime requirements.


Prevailing Wages

West Virginia does not have a prevailing wage law that governs wage rates on government project or service contracts.

Under certain circumstances, employers in West Virginia may be required to pay residents wage rates established by federal prevailing wage rates and rules. The prevailing wage rates may be different from the federal and state’s standard minimum wage rates. Employees may be eligible for prevailing wages if they work on government or government-funded construction projects or perform certain government services. See the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts, McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act (SCA), and Walsh-Healey Public Contracts Act (PCA) for more information about prevailing wages.


Meals and Breaks

Under West Virginia labor laws, in situations where employees are not afforded necessary breaks and/or permitted to eat while working, West Virginia employers must provide their employees a meal break of least twenty (20) minutes when scheduled to work six (6) or more hours, at times reasonably designated by the employer. WV Statute 21-3-10a. Other rest periods, granted at the discretion of the employer, must be paid if they last less than twenty (20) minute. WV Division of Labor – Meal Breaks

Employers must provide employees under the age of sixteen (16) a lunch period of at least thirty (30) minutes if scheduled to work more than five (5 )hours. WV Statute 21-6-7.


Nursing Mother Breaks

West Virginia labor laws do not require employers to provide nursing mothers with breaks to express breast milk. However, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act requires certain employees to provide nonexempt nursing mothers for one (1) year following a child’s birth with reasonable rest breaks to express milk and private spaces, other than a bathroom, to express breast milk.


Vacation Leave

Employers in West Virginia aren’t required to offer vacation benefits (paid or unpaid). If your employer decides to do so, they must abide by the terms expressed in their employment contracts.

Employers may also establish policies that deny employees payment for accumulated vacation upon employment termination. This can only apply if the denied payment is outlined in the employment contract or the employer’s established policy.

It’s important to note that West Virginia employers can create policies to disqualify employees from accrued vacation payments if they do not comply with requirements. A few examples of these requirements include:

  • Giving two weeks’ notice
  • Being employed at a certain point of the year

There are additional requirements employers and employees must consider regarding vacation leave:

  • Employers may cap vacation leave amounts.
  • Employers can implement “use-it-or-lose-it” policies regarding vacation leave amounts.

Visit our West Virginia vacation leave information page to learn more about vacation leave in West Virginia.


Sick Leave

West Virginia employers are not required to provide employees with sick leave benefits with or without pay. Those who choose to provide these benefits must comply with the policies outlined in their employment contracts.

Also, employers may have to provide employees with sick leave based on the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Visit our West Virginia sick leave information page to learn more about sick leave in West Virginia.


Holiday Leave

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West Virginia does not require a private employer to provide holiday leave, whether paid or unpaid. Private employers can also require employees to work on holidays without receiving premium pay, such as 1.5x their regular rate. However, they must pay premium pay if the worker qualifies for overtime.

Employers who offer premium pay during holidays must follow the policies outlined in their employment contracts. This also applies to situations where companies offer holiday leave without pay.Visit our West Virginia holiday leave information page to learn more about holiday leave in West Virginia.


Jury Duty Leave

Employees with a jury summons or who have to serve on a jury are not entitled to pay from their employer. However, employers must give employees a day or days off to serve as a juror. Employees must show their jury summons to their employer or supervisor to be eligible for this benefit.

Employees must present documentation to the employer within one workday of receiving the summons. It is important to note that this time off work is likely to be unpaid unless specified by the employer.Visit our West Virginia jury duty leave information page to learn more about jury duty leave in West Virginia.


Voting Leave

Employers in West Virginia must follow a few voting leave laws in the state. Employees must receive up to three hours of paid leave to vote if:

  • Time off has been requested in writing three days before voting or the election
  • Employers do not have to offer paid leave to employees if a voting employee granted three hours to vote voluntarily chooses not to vote

Depending on your industry, your employer will have to arrange schedules on election day to allow for voting. They will work with their employees’ schedules to offer voting slots with the least amount of business interruption possible. However, it is imperative that employers ensure each employee has sufficient voting time.

Visit our West Virginia voting leave information page to learn more about voting in West Virginia.


Severance Pay

West Virginia labor laws do not require employers to provide employees with severance benefits. If an employer chooses to provide severance benefits, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract.


Unemployment

In West Virginia, residents can apply for unemployment benefits while searching for another job. However, residents must meet specific eligibility requirements, which include:

  • Applicants must have wages during the last 12 to 18 months.
  • Applicants must be able and available to work each week when benefits are collected.
  • Applicants must have earned a minimum amount of wages to receive benefits.

Visit West Virginia’s unemployment information page to learn more about unemployment in West Virginia.


Other Topics and Resources

There are several other West Virginia labor laws governing the employers and their workplaces. Below are those topics and resources:

  • West Virginia child labor laws for children 17 years of age and younger including topics including work during school hours and summer hours, school days and non-school days, summer days of employment (usually June 1 to Labor Day), hour restrictions, work permits, and hazardous occupations.
  • The West Virginia Human Rights Commission protects employees workplace civil rights and against discrimination and retaliation. Employees are also protected by federal discrimination laws enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The state and federal discrimination laws offer employees protections and violations based on the following:
Disability (a mental or physical impairment)Sex, including sexual harassmentGender expressionNational Origin
RaceSexual orientationReligionAncestry
CreedGender identityAge (40+)Pregnancy, childbirth, and related conditions
ColorGenetic informationMarital statusFamilial Status
  • West Virginia labor laws regarding wage payment laws including covering frequency and manner of wage payments, regular paydays, payday, pay periods, deductions, direct deposit and payroll cards, wage statement, record keeping, final paychecks, and notice requirements.
  • West Virginia labor laws regarding minimum wage and overtime exemptions covering non-exempt employees and exempt employees.
  • West Virginia labor law regarding hours worked including rest breaks, meal breaks, on-call, waiting, travel, sleeping, and meeting times.
  • The West Virginia Division of Labor helps employer comply with laws and regulations regarding workplace safety and health. Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) which covers federal workplace safety and health requirements.
  • Active duty employees, including those in the national guard, and veterans may also be eligible for military leave under the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA).
  • The West Virginia Offices of the Insurance Commissioner manages workers’ compensation in West Virginia and worker compensation insurance claims and enforcement. Employees who are injured on the job may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits that minimizes the financial impact on the employee.
  • Under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, employers in West Virginia are required to provide 60-day advanced notice to any employees that may be impacted by a business closing or mass layoff if 50 or more employees will be impacted.
  • If West Virginia employers provide employees health insurance benefits, they must comply with the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) that provides health coverage protections to employees under certain circumstances such as voluntary or involuntary job loss, reduction in the hours worked, transition between jobs, death, divorce, and other life events.
  • Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, employers must provide applicants and employees prior notice before conducting background checks involving credit reports. Other rules and limitation may also apply.

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