Virginia Overtime Laws

January 23rd 2024

It is common for employees to work beyond their normal hours of work. According to Virginia Labor Laws, employers are required to compensate employees for their overtime.

In Virginia, you are entitled to time-and-a-half for every hour worked over 40 in a week.

This article will provide information to successfully navigate Virginia overtime regulations, whether you’re an employer aiming for compliance or an employee defending your rights.

This article covers:

Virginia Overtime Rates

Overtime in Virginia is set at 1.5 times the regular hourly rate for workers who exceed 40 hours a week. 

Since the regular Virginia minimum wage is $12.00 per hour, Virginia’s overtime minimum wage is $18.00 per hour (one and a half times the minimum wage).

Overtime Entitlement in Virginia 

According to Virginia overtime laws, overtime pay is required for any non-exempt employees.

Employees who earn below 684 a week ($35,568 annually) and work in a non-exempt industry are entitled to overtime pay.

An employee’s overall eligibility for overtime pay will be based on what job duties or business they are performing.

Read more about Overtime Exceptions and Exemptions in Virginia.

Refusing to Work Overtime in Virginia

According to Virginia overtime law, employers may face disciplinary action if they refuse to work overtime after their employer requests them to work. 

However, an employer must provide at least 24 hours notice of mandatory overtime. Employers must also pay all their non-exempt (eligible for overtime) employees for any mandatory overtime hours.

Overtime Pay for Tipped Employees in Virginia 

Virginia state regulations allow employers to use a “tip credit” system, which enables them to pay tipped employees a lower minimum wage.

However, if a tipped employee in Virginia works overtime, their overtime rate is calculated based on the full minimum wage, not the lower cash wage being paid by the employer. 

In other words, employers cannot factor in tip credits as part of the calculation.

Overtime for Salaried Employees in Virginia 

In Virginia, salaried employees entitled to overtime must divide their salary by the number of hours that salary compensates for to get their regular rate to calculate their overtime rate further.

If an employee’s salary covers less than 40 in a workweek, their regular rate will be added for every subsequent hour working up to the 40. Only after 40 hours will the overtime rate of 1.5 be counted.

If an employee’s salary covers 40 in a workweek, then the overtime rate of 1.5 will be paid for any hours over 40.

Overtime Exceptions and Exemptions in Virginia 

Under the Virginia overtime law, there are four main categories of employees who are not protected by overtime exemption laws as they fall within the umbrella of white-collar occupations To be exempt, white-collar workers must earn at least $684 per week. White-collar employees fall into four categories: administration, executives, professionals, and outside sales.

  • Administration includes non-manual employees who work with business operations, management policies, or administrative training.
  • Executives are business and general managers who oversee at least two employees.
  • Professionals have jobs that require advanced knowledge and extensive education.
  • Outside sales positions involve visiting potential and existing customers at their premises.

Apart from the exemptions provided by the federal government, Virginia state also has specific restrictions on overtime hours for certain occupations. Minimum wage and overtime exemptions are sometimes overlapping but some jobs come under the overtime exemption category only.

Here is the list of occupations not eligible for overtime in Virginia:

  • Farm workers
  • Volunteers working for educational, nonprofit, religious, or charitable organizations
  • Caddies at golf courses
  • Taxicab drivers
  • Minors employed by their guardians/parents
  • Individuals confined in correctional and penal facilities
  • Summer camp workers
  • Minors under 16 years of age regardless of their job type or employer
  • Student workers working for genuine educational programs, trade schools, or secondary institutions of education for a maximum of 20 hours a week
  • People enrolled in educational institutions provided that they are employed by the said institution
  • Babysitters working for a maximum of 10 hours a week
  • Au pairs participating in the Exchange Visitor Program of the US Department of State
  • Temporary foreign workers and salespeople
  • Vehicle parts people and mechanics are primarily involved in selling or servicing automobiles, trucks, and farm implements provided they are employed by non-manufacturing establishments
  • Salespeople primarily involved in selling trailers, boats, and aircraft employed by non-manufacturing establishments.

Statute of Limitations For Unpaid Overtime Claims in Virginia

Under the Virginia overtime law, the statute of limitations for filing a complaint regarding overtime is 3 years for willful violations.

Penalties for Not Providing Overtime Pay to Employees in Virginia

Any employer who violates the overtime pay requirements can be held liable for all remedies, damages, or other relief brought on by the employee.

Any employer who knowingly neglects to pay overtime wages can be penalized $1,000 for each violation.

It is advisable to consult with an attorney regarding overtime violations as penalties may vary based on the severity of the case.

Legal Cases Relating to Overtime Compensation in Virginia

Below, we present law cases relating to fair overtime compensation for employees in Virginia: 

1. Fire & Safety Consultants Wrongly Compensated for Their Overtime Hours

In the case of the US Dept. of Labor v. Fire & Safety Investigation, Fire & Safety Investigation Consulting Services (Fire & Safety) was accused of violating the FLSA by not paying certain employees proper overtime pay.

Fire & Safety employed consultants who worked on a schedule called a “hitch”, which involved working 12 hours a day for 14 consecutive days (a total of 168 hours) which was followed by 14 consecutive days off. Initially, the consultants were paid on an hourly basis, with overtime compensation for the hours they work over 40 per week.

Later on, Fire & Safety switched to a fixed “hitch rate” for the full 168-hour hitch. This means that if a consultant worked less than 168 hours, their wage would be adjusted accordingly using a “blended rate” where their hitch rate would be divided by 168 and multiplied by the number of hours they worked.

The Department of Labor (DOL) received a complaint alleging that Fire & Safety violated the FLSA. An investigation was conducted that confirmed Fire & Safety’s failure to pay proper overtime and keep accurate records. The DOL filed a complaint against Fire & Safety to seek back wages for overtime pay, liquidated damages, and an injunction (authoritative warning).

The district court granted this motion, awarding back wages and liquidated damages to the employees affected by the “blended rate” scheme.

Key lessons from this case:

  • Blended pay schemes that use a single rate for all hours worked, regardless of overtime or not, may violate the FLSA.
  • Employers who violate the FLSA can be held liable for not only unpaid overtime wages but also additional damages to compensate for the violation.
  • Employees can file complaints to the Department of Labor, which can investigate the matter and pursue legal action on their behalf.
2. Fire Captains in Virginia Wrongly Identified as Exempt from Overtime Pay

In the case of Morrison v. County of Fairfax, a group of fire captains, employed by Fairfax County (Fairfax), alleged that they were entitled to overtime pay. The captains argued that they were not exempt from overtime because they did not meet the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)’s definition of an exempt employee.

The district court initially ruled in favor of the County, finding that the fire captains were exempt from the FLSA’s overtime requirements. However, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the district court’s decision, finding that the fire captains were not exempt from the FLSA’s overtime requirements.

The settlement details of this case were not made publicly available. However, it is known that Fairfax agreed to change its policies to ensure that all fire captains are paid overtime for all the hours they work more than 40 per week.

Key lessons from this case:

  • Fire captains are not exempt from receiving overtime pay under the FLSA.
  • This case highlights the importance of proactive policy changes to ensure ongoing compliance with overtime laws.
  • It is important to properly understand FLSA policies when hiring employees to avoid disputes caused by unpaid overtime.
3. In-Home Service Provider Not Required to Provide Overtime Compensation to Employees

In the case of Carol King v. West Virginia’s Choice, Carol King filed a lawsuit against her former employer, West Virginia’s Choice (WV Choice), for not providing her with overtime compensation. WV Choice employed in-home direct care employees, such as Ms. King, to provide in-home service to individuals who are unable to take care of themselves due to age or infirmity.

Ms. King stated that she, and other similarly situated employees, were not provided with overtime compensation for hours worked more than 40 per week. WV Choice filed for a summary judgment (judgment against one party without a full trial), stating that it did not meet the definition of “employer’ under Virginia’s Minimum Wage and Maximum Hours Standards (MWMHS).

The circuit court ruled in favor of WV Choice, granting summary judgment and stating that the MWMHS only applied to individuals who qualify as “employees” and “employers” under its specific definition. The court found that WV Choice did not meet the criteria to be classified as an “employer” according to the MWMHS.

The court decided that WV Choice qualified as an enterprise engaged in commerce based on evidence that showed their employment over direct care workers who handled goods or materials that have been produced for commerce. Some of WV Choice’s employees also resided in other states which means WV Choice conducts financial transactions across state lines.

Due to that, it had been decided that Ms. King was not entitled to overtime compensation, and her case was dismissed.

Key lessons from this case:

  • This case emphasizes the importance of understanding the statutory definitions of “employer” under the MWMHS to identify its applicability to a company.
  • It is important to know the distinction between state and federal laws.
  • It is important to know an employee’s wage entitlement and company policies to avoid confusion.

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.