Virginia Salaried Employees Laws

January 22nd 2024

Within the context of employment, salaried workers constitute a distinct category, being those compensated with a predetermined fixed amount at regular intervals.

This article delves into the legislative landscape in Virginia that sets forth the rights and responsibilities of both salaried employees and their employers. It spans topics such as payment protocols, rest and leave provisions, and the differentiation between exempt and non-exempt employees.

This article covers:

Payment of Wages for Salaried Employees in Virginia

Virginia mandates that employers must remunerate their workforce on a regular basis, typically every two weeks constituting a payroll cycle. However, there exists an exception to this regulation. Employees earning at least 150% of the state-defined average weekly wage can, through written agreement, opt for monthly compensation.

Various methods are available for employers to distribute payments, encompassing cash, checks, direct deposit mechanisms, electronic transfers, and payroll cards. Employers often utilize systems to track payroll hours and create protocols for overseeing payment periods and approvals.

Salaried Employees Eligibility for Overtime for Virginia

Holding a salaried position does not inherently exempt you from receiving overtime pay. If an employee works beyond 40 hours in a week and their salary falls below the federal minimum threshold (which is currently $684), then they are eligible for overtime compensation for any hours worked beyond the standard threshold.

Virginia aligns with federal regulations by establishing the overtime compensation rate at 1.5 times an employee’s regular pay.

Pay for Working Overtime for Virginia Salaried Employees

In Virginia, salaried employees eligible for overtime must determine their regular rate by dividing their salary by the corresponding number of hours. This regular rate is then utilized to calculate their overtime rate.

When an employee’s salary covers fewer than 40 hours in a workweek, their regular rate is applied for each additional hour worked up to 40. Only after reaching 40 hours will the overtime rate of 1.5 come into play.

Conversely, if an employee’s salary already encompasses 40 hours in a workweek, any hours worked beyond 40 will be compensated at the overtime rate of 1.5.

It’s crucial to emphasize that although salaried employees usually aren’t required to maintain extensive records of their working hours, situations involving overtime calculations can be improved by monitoring overtime hours. Timesheet templates can be a valuable resource for ensuring precise tracking of overtime hours, and there are also software solutions designed specifically for overtime compliance to guarantee compliance with labor regulations.

Exceptions to Overtime Exemptions for Virginia Salaried Employees

Federal regulations outline four key categories of employees exempt from overtime protections due to their white-collar roles. To be eligible for exemption, these white-collar workers must earn a minimum of $684 weekly. These categories encompass administrative, executive, professional, and outside sales positions.

Administrative roles involve non-manual tasks related to business operations, management policies, or administrative training. Executives are responsible for overseeing at least two employees and general business operations. Professionals hold jobs requiring advanced knowledge and extensive education. Outside sales positions necessitate visiting potential and existing customers at their locations.

Virginia state, beyond federal regulations, imposes additional restrictions on overtime for specific occupations. While there might be some overlap with minimum wage and overtime exemptions, certain positions fall solely under the overtime exemption umbrella.

The list of exempt occupations in Virginia encompasses:

  • Farm workers
  • Volunteers for educational, nonprofit, religious, or charitable organizations
  • Caddies at golf courses
  • Taxicab drivers
  • Minors employed by their guardians or parents
  • Individuals confined in correctional and penal facilities
  • Summer camp workers
  • Minors under 16 years old, regardless of their job or employer
  • Student workers in legitimate educational programs, trade schools, or secondary education institutions, up to a maximum of 20 weekly hours
  • Individuals enrolled in educational institutions, employed by the institution itself
  • Babysitters working up to 10 hours weekly
  • Au pairs participating in the Exchange Visitor Program of the US Department of State
  • Temporary foreign workers and salespeople
  • Vehicle parts personnel and mechanics primarily engaged in selling or servicing vehicles, trucks, and farm equipment in non-manufacturing establishments
  • Salespeople mainly involved in selling trailers, boats, and aircraft for non-manufacturing establishments.

For more detailed information, refer to Virginia’s Overtime Laws.

Violation of Salaried Employees Wages Payment in Virginia

Unless non-payment is a result of a legitimate dispute between the employer and employee, employers that deliberately and with the intention to deceive neglect or decline to remunerate wages to their employees can face various penalties. This includes:

  • A charge with a Class 1 misdemeanor when the value of the unpaid wages is below $10,000.
  • A charge with a Class 6 felony (i) if the value of the unpaid wages is $10,000 or higher, or (ii) irrespective of the value of the unpaid wages, if the conviction is a second or subsequent conviction.

It’s worth noting that the determination of the “value of the wages earned” is arrived at by aggregating all wages that the employer omitted or refused to pay.

In the event that an employer does not fulfill the payment of overtime wages to an employee, the employee holds the right to initiate legal proceedings against the employer in a court that holds jurisdiction. The purpose of this action is to reclaim the unpaid overtime wages. The court, in this regard, will decree the sum of owed overtime wages, an additional matching amount as liquidated damages, and reasonable attorney fees and expenses. 

Nevertheless, if the employer can demonstrate to the court’s satisfaction that the action or omission that gave rise to such a situation was carried out in good faith and that there were reasonable grounds to believe that the action or omission did not breach the law, the court might exercise its discretion by not awarding liquidated damages or may award an amount thereof that does not surpass the quantity of unpaid overtime wages.

Male and Female Salaried Employees in Virginia

Under the Code of Virginia (§ 40.1-28.6) It is prohibited for any employer with employees to engage in discriminatory practices within any establishment where these employees work. Discrimination based on gender with regard to wages is not allowed. This means that an employer cannot pay employees within the same establishment, who perform equal work that involves equal skill, effort, and responsibility under comparable working conditions, at a rate lower than what they pay employees of the opposite sex for such work. 

However, exceptions are permitted when payment differences are based on:

  • A seniority system
  • A merit system
  • A system that gauges earnings based on quantity or quality of production
  • Any other factor unrelated to gender.

Leave Entitlements for Salaried Employees in Virginia

Salaried employees often should consider the various forms of leave at their disposal and keep track of time off from work. Salaried employees in Virginia are entitled to several types of leave, each governed by specific regulations. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave within a year for reasons such as personal health concerns or caring for family members.

For jury duty, employees must be allowed time off without utilizing their own leave, though it may not be compensated. Witness leave is also mandated by law when employees need to testify in court. Crime victim leave provides paid or unpaid time off for participation in crime-related proceedings. Military leave, covered by the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act, ensures that employees returning from service receive the same benefits as if they had remained at work. In Virginia, Civil Air Patrol members also qualify for up to 10 days of training leave and 30 days for duty response.

Break Entitlements for Salaried Employees in Virginia

In Virginia, employers are not required by law to offer breaks to employees, except for minors aged 14-15 who must have 30-minute meal breaks for every 5-hour shift. Nonetheless, numerous employers voluntarily provide rest and meal breaks to enhance efficiency. If breaks are less than 20 minutes as per the employer’s policy, they must be compensated; longer breaks are discretionary. Specific provisions for lactating breaks for breastfeeding mothers are covered in the following section.

Deductions from Exempt Employees’ Salary in Virginia

Employers are prohibited from withholding any portion of an employee’s wages or salaries unless authorized by the employee in writing and signed. This excludes payroll, wage or withholding taxes or in accordance with law.

On regular pay dates, employers (excluding those in agricultural employment, including agribusiness and forestry) must provide employees with a written statement through a paystub or online accounting. This statement should, among other information, include details of deductions. The paystub or online record should offer enough information for the employee to understand the calculation of gross and net pay. Employers in agricultural employment, including agribusiness and forestry, should provide a written statement of gross wages and deductions upon employee request.

Termination of Employment for Salaried Employees in Virginia

When it comes to termination, Virginia adheres to the “employment-at-will” principle which permits employers to terminate an employee’s contract without explanation at any time, and also allows employees the freedom to resign without facing legal repercussions.

Nonetheless, employers are prohibited from firing employees based on discriminatory motives or in response to whistleblowing actions. Virginia mandates that businesses furnish employees with a final paycheck that encompasses unpaid wages and benefits. This payment should be issued either on or before the scheduled payday, aligning with wage laws in Virginia.

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.