West Virginia Labor Laws

March 19th 2024

This article covers:

What are West Virginia Time Management Laws?

 In the US, there are federal laws in place to manage the time spent by employees in the workplace, safeguarding their rights and guaranteeing fair pay for their efforts. These laws act as directives for employers, keeping them in check, and minimizing any forms of abuse or exploitation.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which dates back to 1938, is a critical federal law for time management, setting hourly wage rates and overtime pay, and requiring employers to keep an accurate record of their employees’ working hours. Overtime is pegged at 1.5 times the regular hourly rate for workers who exceed 40 hours a week. However, certain job categories, including executives, professionals, and administrative employees, are exempt from overtime pay depending on their job description and salary.

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is another essential federal law that governs time management in the workplace, entitling eligible employees to up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for specific family and medical reasons, such as the birth or adoption of a child or caring for a family member with a serious health condition. This act also requires employers to maintain employees’ health benefits during their leave and restore them to their previous or equivalent positions upon their return to work.

Employers who contravene federal time management laws face severe legal ramifications, including fines, back pay, and damages. If workers feel that their employer has violated federal time management laws, they can file complaints with the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division for investigation and legal action.

Overall, federal time management laws are instrumental in ensuring that workers are compensated fairly for their time and effort in the workplace, protecting them from abuse and exploitation by employers. The Fair Labor Standards Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act are vital federal laws that govern time management and worker compensation, ensuring fair labor practices across various sectors, including non-profit, public, and private organizations.

West Virginia Minimum Wage $8.75
(see below for exceptions)
West Virginia Overtime 1.5 times the regular wage for any time worked over 40 hours/week
($13.13 for minimum wage workers)
(see below for exceptions)
West Virginia Breaks 20-minute breaks for each shift exceeding 6 hours

What are the Hiring, Working & Termination Laws in West Virginia?

In accordance with the West Virginia Human Rights Act, when getting hired, every worker must have an equal chance to obtain employment without discrimination based upon:

  • Race
  • Religion
  • Color
  • National origin
  • Ancestry
  • Sex
  • Age
  • Blindness
  • Disability
  • HIV/AIDS status

West Virginia finally adopted the right-to-work law on July 1, 2016. The law allows workers in the state to choose whether or not to join or financially support a labor union, whereas before, union fees could be forced upon them as a condition of employment. There are exceptions to the law, including federal and certain railroad or airline employees, as well as those working on federal property, who may be required to pay union fees but cannot be conditioned to join a union. The law only applies to collective bargaining contracts formed, modified, renewed, or extended after July 1, 2016. Voluntary union members can resign by sending a request to their union and employer, while private-sector employees may resign at any time. Employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees based on union membership, and union members who work during a strike may face fines from the labor union.

In West Virginia, just like in many other states, the at-will-employment law prevails. This means that employers have the right to terminate employees for any reason, or simply because they feel like it. Yet, employees also have the liberty to quit their jobs anytime, with or without reason. However, it’s important to note that no employer can fire an employee for discriminatory reasons.

As per West Virginia state laws, the payment of final wages after an employment ends varies based on the reason for separation. If the employee quits, resigns, is terminated or fired, the final wages must be paid by the next regular payday. On the other hand, if an employee is laid off, the payment of final wages is made on the next scheduled payday.

What Are the Key Labor Laws in West Virginia?

 Now, we will discuss some key labor laws in West Virginia that may not be related to the categories we have previously explored. Some of these regulations include:

  • COBRA Laws – If you live in West Virginia and have been let go from your job, or are a dependent of someone who has, you may be able to keep your health insurance benefits through the Public Employees Insurance Agency (PEIA) health plan, thanks to the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). This applies to both voluntary and involuntary terminations, as well as work-hour reductions, and offers 18-36 months of continued coverage depending on your specific situation. Eligible individuals include full-time employees of West Virginia or its counties, cities, or towns, government employees, substitute teachers and school service personnel, and the legal spouse, children, and stepchildren under 26 years of age, as well as court-appointed guardians.
  • OSHA Laws – When it comes to creating a safe and healthy work environment, both the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the West Virginia Occupational Safety and Health Act play a significant role. OSHA requires private employers to provide their workers with a risk-free and safe workplace. They provide education and training resources to reduce any work-related injuries and fatalities. OSHA recognizes six primary types of hazards at work, including biological, chemical and dust, work organization, safety, physical, and ergonomic hazards. Public employers in West Virginia are mandated to conform to the occupational safety and health standards under the West Virginia Occupational Safety and Health Act. The act promotes a hazard-free workplace and a robust safety culture. To ensure the compliance of these standards, the commissioner is authorized to inspect the premises without prior notice. Employers are also required to keep their employees informed and educated regarding the provisions and safety measures in the act. In any violation of the safety and health standards, anyone can notify the commissioner in writing without fear of discrimination.
  • Whistleblower Laws – The West Virginia Whistleblower Lawprovides protection for public employees who report any waste or wrongdoing in their workplace. Employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who report these violations, such as discharging, threatening, or discriminating against them in their compensation or job conditions. Employees who participate in investigations or inquiries related to these violations are also protected from retaliation. Furthermore, employees who report violations in good faith are entitled to promotions or compensation increases. If an employee suspects a violation of federal, state, or local laws, they should bring it to the attention of their supervisors or other appropriate officials.
  • Recordkeeping Laws – Employers in West Virginia, including the state’s agencies and departments, along with any individual or organization with a staff of 6 or more, are required to maintain written personnel records on-site for a minimum of 2 years. These records must include certain specified information:
    Name and address of each employee

    • Employee’s rate of pay
    • Employee’s total hours of employment
    • Payroll deductions
    • Amount paid to each employee for each pay period

West Virginia Payment Laws

To start off, let’s take a look at the laws that govern how much employees must be paid. We’ll delve into the details of minimum wage standards, including any exceptions that may apply.

What is the Minimum Payment in West Virginia?

 West Virginia’s minimum hourly wage for employees is $8.75, though this applies only to permanent work locations consisting of six or more non-exempt employees, even if they are working remotely. If the work location does not meet this requirement, the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour will apply instead.

What are the Exceptions for Minimum Payment in West Virginia?

 In West Virginia, certain employees are exempted from the minimum wage requirement. These employees are as follows:

  • Volunteers or individuals engaged in educational, charitable, religious, fraternal, or nonprofit organizations.
  • Newsboys, shoeshine boys, golf caddies, pin boys, and pin chasers in bowling lanes.
  • Traveling and outside salesmen.
  • Individuals employed by their parent, son, daughter, or spouse.
  • Bona fide professional, executive, or administrative employees.
  • On-the-job trainees.
  • Persons with physical or mental impairments.
  • Boys or girls summer camp employees.
  • Individuals 62 years of age or older who receive old-age or survivors benefits from the Social Security Administration.
  • Agricultural workers.
  • Firefighters employed by a state or agency.
  • Ushers in theaters.
  • Students employed part-time in a school or college.
  • Individuals employed by a local or interurban motorbus carrier.
  • Salesmen, parts men, or mechanics engaged in selling or servicing automobiles, trailers, trucks, farm implements, or aircraft (excluding manufacturing).
  • Employees whose qualifications and maximum hours of service are established by the United States Department of Transportation.
  • Individuals employed on a per diem basis by the Senate, the House of Delegates, or the Joint Committee on Government and Finance of the Legislature of West Virginia, along with designated employees of the Senate, House of Delegates, and the Joint Committee on Government and Finance.
  • Seasonal employees of commercial whitewater outfitters and amusement parks who work less than 7 months in a calendar year.

Employers in West Virginia can use a 70% credit against the minimum wage for tipped service employees. This means tipped employees must be paid at least $2.62 per hour worked. However, the combined hourly wage and tips must meet the state’s $8.75 per hour minimum wage. If not, the employer must pay the difference. If an employee spends more than 20% of their time on duties without tips, like cleaning tables, they must be paid the full minimum wage without a tip credit.

In West Virginia, employees who are 20 or younger can be paid a training wage that is lower than the minimum wage. This wage is set at $6.40 per hour and is only applicable during the first 90 days of their employment. After that, they are entitled to the standard minimum wage of $8.75 per hour.

What is the Payment Due Date in West Virginia?

In West Virginia, employers are obligated to pay their employees at least twice each month, with no more than a 19-day interval between pay periods. In some cases, the Commissioner of Labor may grant an exception that allows employers to pay their workers less often than twice per month.

Railroad companies in West Virginia have their own pay schedule guidelines, with employees receiving wages on or before the 1st day of each month for the first half of the preceding month’s work and on or before the 15th day of each month for the last half of the preceding month’s work.

What are West Virginia Overtime Laws?

To apply for state overtime provisions in West Virginia, companies must meet certain requirements. The company cannot be eligible for federal “enterprise” coverage and at least 80% of the workforce must not qualify for individual overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Additionally, the company must have at least 6 employees. Eligible employees are entitled to 1.5 times their regular rate for overtime pay. Piece workers and employees with multiple jobs also qualify for overtime pay under West Virginia law, with overtime pay calculated based on the higher paying job. For example, if an employee works at a restaurant for $9/hr and a souvenir shop for $11/hr, and works a total of 43 hours for the week with 35 hours at the restaurant and 8 hours at the shop, they would receive overtime pay based on the $11/hr rate since they worked over 3 hours at the souvenir shop.

What are Overtime Exceptions and Exemptions in West Virginia?

 According to the laws of West Virginia, certain employees are not entitled to receive overtime pay:

  • United States Government employees
  • Volunteers in educational, charitable, religious, fraternal, or non-profit organizations
  • Newsboys, shoeshine boys, golf caddies, pin-boys, and pin chasers in bowling alleys
  • Traveling and outside salesmen
  • Individuals employed by their parent, son, daughter, or spouse
  • Bona fide professional, executive, or administrative employees
  • On-the-job trainees
  • Handicapped individuals working in a nonprofit sheltered workshop
  • Boys or girls summer camp employees
  • Individuals 62 years of age or older who receive social security benefits
  • Agricultural workers
  • Firefighters employed by the state
  • Ushers in theaters
  • Students working 24 hours or less per week
  • Individuals employed by a local interurban motorbus carrier
  • Employees under Federal Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations
  • Individuals employed on a per diem basis by the West Virginia State Senate, the House of Delegates, or the Joint Committee on Government and Finance
  • Salesmen, parts men, or mechanics engaged in selling or servicing (excluding manufacturing) automobiles, trailers, trucks, farm implements, or aircraft
  • Seasonal employees of commercial whitewater outfitters and amusement park workers who work less than 7 months in a calendar year

According to the Fluctuating Workweek Method, salaried workers who are exempt can receive overtime pay. However, there are certain requirements that must be met in order for this to happen, such as the fluctuation of work hours from week to week and a minimum hourly wage of $7.25. If these conditions are met, qualifying employees can receive overtime pay equal to one-half their regular hourly rate.

Learn more in detail about West Virginia Salaried Employees Laws and West Virginia Overtime Laws.

What are West Virginia Time Off/Break Laws?

If you’re working in West Virginia, you’re entitled to a paid meal break of at least 20 minutes if you’re working six or more hours a day. Taking breaks can help reduce stress, boost productivity, and prevent burnout, so it’s recommended that employers provide them for their workers. However, if you’re allowed to eat while working, you’re not eligible for paid meal breaks. And if you take a break that lasts 30 minutes or longer, it won’t be considered work time and you won’t get compensated for it.

What are West Virginia Breastfeeding Laws?

When it comes to providing breastfeeding breaks at work, West Virginia employers need to follow federal rules. These regulations state that new mothers are entitled to take a reasonable amount of time (unpaid) to breastfeed or express milk on the job for 12 months following the birth of their child. They can do this whenever necessary and should have access to a designated area (not a bathroom) where they can breastfeed or pump. It’s worth keeping in mind, however, that these privileges only apply to companies with more than 50 non-exempt staff members.

What are West Virginia Leave Laws?

 West Virginia provides two types of leaves – required and non-required leaves.

What is West Virginia Required Leave?

 The following are the required leave types that West Virginia employers must provide to their employees:

  • Sick Leave (Public Employers) – When starting a state job, employees accrue 1.5 sick days per month or 18 days annually. This leave can be utilized for purposes such as illness, injury, medical appointments, and up to 3 days for the death of an immediate family member. Furthermore, state employees are allowed to use up to 80 hours of sick leave if their immediate family members experience illness, injury, or have medical appointments.
  • Parental Leave – All employees working for various units of State Government or County Boards of Education are entitled to have 12 weeks of leave in a 12-month period without pay. This leave is granted under the following circumstances: birth of a baby, adoption placement, taking care of an immediate family member like a dependent, parent, spouse owing to severe health conditions. It is important to note that parental leave can only be utilized after the employee exhausts their annual and personal leave limits.
  • Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) – The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that entitles eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave per year for certain family or medical reasons. To be eligible, employees must have worked for their employer for at least 12 months (1,250 hours) in the last 12-month period. While the leave is unpaid, it covers public agency employees (with more than 50 employees), public and private elementary/secondary school employees, and certain individuals with qualifying events. These qualifying events include birth/care for a newborn, adoption/foster care, caring for an immediate family member with a serious health condition, an employee’s own serious health condition, or an employee’s spouse/parent/child being on active duty. Additionally, eligible employees can take up to 26 workweeks of FMLA leave to care for a service member following a serious health condition, as defined in the law.
  • Holiday Leave (Public Employers) – In West Virginia, state employees receive the benefit of having annual paid holidays, we will detail them after the non-required leave.
  • Annual/Vacation Leave (Public Employers) – Annual leave is personal time off that eligible employees start accumulating from the first day of state employment. The accrual rate and maximum yearly carryover amount vary based on an employee’s years of service. Those with less than five years of service earn 1.25 days per month or 15 days per year with a maximum carryover of 30 days. Those with five but less than 10 years of service earn 1.50 days per month or 18 days per year with a maximum carryover of 30 days. For those with 10 but less than 15 years of service, the rate is 1.75 days per month or 21 days per year with a maximum carryover of 35 days. Lastly, employees with 15 or more years of service earn 2.00 days per month or 24 days per year with a maximum carryover of 40 days.
  • Jury, Court, and Hearing Leave (Public Employers) – If a West Virginia state employee is summoned to serve as a juror or a witness before any legally authorized body, they are entitled to paid leave from work.
  • Military Leave (Public Employers) – If you’re a state employee in West Virginia and you serve in the National Guard or any federal armed service reserve, you’re eligible to receive 30 days of military leave with pay. And if you get called to active duty, you can get an extra 30 days of leave. If you need to be away from work for more than 60 days, you can use your annual leave with pay or personal leave without pay (as long as it’s approved) to cover your extended absence.
  • Donor Leave (Public Employers) – State employees who work full-time can take advantage of donation leave benefits which include: they can receive a maximum of 120 hours of paid leave if they donate any part of their adult liver or kidney and they can receive a maximum of 56 hours of paid leave if they donate their adult bone marrow.
  • Disaster Service Volunteers Leave (Public Employers) – Employees who are certified service volunteers for the American Red Cross are eligible for up to 15 days of paid leave each year to support disaster relief efforts. These volunteers are typically state employees.

What is West Virginia Non-Required Leave?

 As of now, there is no law mandating that employers provide leave of absence for unworked hours, be it at a federal or state level. This particularly applies to private employers, who have the predominant authority in deciding whether or not to grant leave benefits. However, in West Virginia, it is not mandatory for private employers to grant their employees time off for the following situations:

  • Sick Leave
  • Holiday Leave
  • Annual/Vacation Leave
  • Military Leave
  • Donor Leave
  • Disaster Service Volunteers Leave

The following are the official federal holidays observed in the US:

State Official Holidays Date
New Year’s Day 1 January
Martin Luther King Jr. Civil Rights Day Third Monday in January
Washington’s Birthday 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
Election Day Every other year
Veterans Day 11 November
Thanksgiving Day Fourth Thursday in November
Christmas Day 25 December

What are West Virginia Child Labor Laws?

In West Virginia, teens between 14-17 can work, but businesses must comply with child labor laws. When hiring 14-15 year olds, a work permit is necessary, unless it’s a family-run operation. These laws allow youth to establish work habits, while ensuring a safe workplace.

What are the Laws on Working Hours for Minors in West Virginia?

For employers in West Virginia intending to hire minors aged 14 and 15, the following hour regulations must be observed:

When school is in session:

  • Working hours should not commence before 7 a.m. or extend after 7 p.m.
  • Minors may work up to 3 hours per day.
  • The total weekly work hours should not exceed 18.
  • Employment during school hours is generally prohibited, unless the minor is participating in a school-supervised work experience program or a school-administered WECEP program.

When school is not in session:

  • Work should not begin before 7 a.m. or end after 9 p.m.
  • Minors are allowed to work up to 8 hours per day.
  • The total weekly work hours should not exceed 40.

There are no specific hour limitations for minors aged 16 or 17.

However, it is the responsibility of the prospective employer to obtain the Division’s age certificate form as evidence of the minor’s age.

To take care of their underage workers, employers need to make sure that they give them a minimum break of 30 minutes after they have worked for 5 hours.

What are the Banned Jobs for Minors in West Virginia?

 The West Virginia Division of Labor, along with federal law, has designated certain occupations as hazardous for individuals under the age of 18. Here are the duties and occupations to be taken into account:

  • Manufacturing or storing explosives (excluding retail stores selling gunshots and ammunition, skeet ranges, and police stations)
  • Driving a motor vehicle or working as an outside helper on a motor vehicle (17-year-olds may drive cars or small trucks within relevant limitations and during daylight)
  • Coal mining
  • Forest fire fighting and prevention, timber tract, forestry service, logging, and sawmilling operations
  • Operating power-driven woodworking machines like chain saws, nailing machines, and sanders
  • Working near radioactive substances and ionizing radiation
  • Operating, riding on, and assisting in the operation of power-driven hoisting apparatus such as forklifts, skid-steers and loaders, and cranes (excluding chair-lifts at ski resorts or lifts used in garages or gasoline service stations)
  • Operating power-driven metal-forming, punching, and shearing machines
  • Mining activities (excluding mining coal)
  • Operating power-driven meat-processing machines such as saws and meat slicers (including cleaning such machines)
  • Performing meat and poultry slaughtering, processing, rendering, or packing
  • Operating power-driven bakery machines such as batter mixers or cookie machines (excluding certain countertop mixers and pizza dough rollers for 16 and 17-year-olds)
  • Operating compactors, balers, power-driven paper products machines such as printing presses and envelope die cutting presses (16 and 17-year-olds may load certain scrap paper balers and paper box compactors)
  • Manufacturing brick, tile, and related products
  • Operating power-driven circular saws, band saws, guillotine shears, chain saws, reciprocating saws, wood chippers, and abrasive cutting discs
  • Wrecking, demolishing, and ship-breaking operations (excluding remodeling or repair work that is not extensive)
  • Roofing operations
  • Trenching and excavation operations

Important Cautionary Note

This content is provided for informational purposes only. While we make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information presented, we cannot guarantee that it is free of errors or omissions. Users are advised to independently verify any critical information and should not solely rely on the content provided.