Virginia Leave Laws

January 8th 2024

Creating a work environment that prioritizes employee well-being and productivity is essential, which is why labor laws enforce the provision of certain types of leave by employers to their employees.

Federal law in the US establishes the leave entitlements that employers must provide to employees, ensuring they are not penalized when they return to work after takin such time off. 

This article aims to examine the legal obligations related to leave in the state of Virginia and the different types of leave options that are available to employees.

In Virginia, these leaves are categorized as either required or non-required, as defined by the U.S. Department of Labor.

This Article Covers

Virginia Required Leave
Virginia Non-Required Leave

Virginia Required Leave

Virginia law requires employers to provide their employees with specific types of leave. Such leave may be paid or unpaid and the employee cannot be penalized for taking such time off. Required leaves include the following:

1. Family and Medical Leave

  • Eligibility: Employees who have worked for their employer for at least a year and have completed at least 1,250 work hours in a 12-month period.
  • Duration:
    Up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave during a one-year period.
    Up to 26 weeks of unpaid leave for employees needing to care for a member of the Armed Forces with a serious health condition or injury, as long as the member is an employee’s spouse, parent, child, or next of kin.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: For caring for a personal serious health condition or that of an immediate family member or to tend to a new or newly-adopted child or family members who are covered military members on active duty.

2. Jury Duty Leave

  • Eligibility: All employees.
  • Duration: The scheduled and expected duration of the jury service.
    If an employee serves on a jury for four or more hours, their employer cannot require them to work a shift that starts after 5 p.m. on the same day or before 3 a.m. the following day.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: To serve on a jury.

3. Witness Leave

  • Eligibility: Employees summoned as a witness.
    However, employees must inform their employer beforehand about their requirement for witness leave.
    Leave may be compensated or not and it must not be compensated by sick leave, vacation leave, or any other type of leave that the employee may have.
  • Duration:  The scheduled and expected duration of the service.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: To testify in court.

4. Crime Victim Leave

  • Eligibility: Employees who have been a victim of a crime.
    However, employers have the option to request a form from the law enforcement agency or obtain a copy of the notice of scheduled proceedings.
  • Duration: The scheduled and expected duration of the proceedings.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: For any participation, preparation or attendance in proceedings related to the crime. This leave may be paid or unpaid.

5. Military Leave

  • Eligibility: American Employees.
    Upon their return, they must receive the same pay increases and benefits as if they had been at work the whole time.
  • Duration: The scheduled and expected duration of the service.
    Additionally, members of the Civil Air Patrol receive a maximum of 10 days per year for training and 30 days per year for responding to duty.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: To serve in the US Armed Forces, National Guard or state militia.

Virginia Non-Required Leave

Virginia employers are not legally obligated to offer their employees specific types of leave. However, it is important to note that the law does not prohibit or restrict employers from providing these leaves if they choose to do so. If employers decide to offer these leaves, they must clearly outline the terms and conditions in the employment agreement. The following are the categories of leave that employers may consider providing:

1. Sick Leave

In Virginia, employers are not obligated to provide either paid or unpaid sick days. However, if they do choose to implement a sick leave policy, they must adhere to the conditions they have set themselves.

2. Vacation Leave

In Virginia, employers aren’t obligated to provide either paid or unpaid vacation time to their employees. However, if they decide to offer this benefit, they have to follow all the terms and conditions laid down in their own vacation policy.

3. Holiday Leave

In Virginia, employers aren’t obligated to provide paid or unpaid holiday leave. However, if a company decides to offer such leave, it must specify the terms in the employment agreement.

Here is a table of official federal holidays observed in the US:

Holiday Date
New Year’s Day 1 January
Martin Luther King Jr. Day Third Monday in January
Presidents’ Day Third Monday in February
Memorial Day Last Monday in May
Independence Day 4 July
Labor Day First Monday in September
Columbus Day Second Monday in October
Veterans Day 11 November
Thanksgiving Day Fourth Thursday in November
Day after Thanksgiving Fourth Friday in November
Christmas Day 25 December

4. Voting Leave

Employers in Virginia have no obligation to provide a certain type of leave to their workers. However, if they choose to offer leave specifically for voting purposes, they must clearly outline the terms and conditions of this time off in their employment contracts.

5. Bereavement Leave

Employers in Virginia aren’t obligated to provide their workers with bereavement leave. However, in case an employer has such a leave policy, they must clearly outline its terms in the employee contract.

If you want to know more about the entitlements of employees in Virginia, you can read our guides on your rights as a salaried employee in Virginia, and your rights as an hourly employee in Virginia. You can also learn more about Virginia Labor Laws through our detailed guide.

Important Cautionary Note

When making this guide we have tried to make it accurate but we do not give any guarantee that the information provided is correct or up-to-date. We therefore strongly advise you seek advice from qualified professionals before acting on any information provided in this guide. We do not accept any liability for any damages or risks incurred for use of this guide.