Operational Gaze:
How to Run Payroll in West Virginia?

December 19th 2023

Are you diving into the intricacies of managing payroll in West Virginia?  If you’re an employer in West Virginia, understanding the state’s specific regulations and tax guidelines is crucial.

This comprehensive guide is tailored to walk you through the essential steps and legal nuances of West Virginia’s payroll system. Its goal is to offer clarity and simplify the payroll process for employers.

This Article Covers

Laws That Affect Payroll Procedures in West Virginia
Worker Classifications in West Virginia
Payroll Forms and Relevant Bodies in West Virginia
Applicable Taxes in West Virginia
Key Pay Elements That Impact Payroll in West Virginia
Step-by-Step Guide to Payroll in West Virginia

Laws That Affect Payroll Procedures in West Virginia

In West Virginia, there are specific employment laws that impact various aspects of the workplace. These laws include wage regulations, labor conditions, and employee leave policies. 

West Virginia Laws

Here are some of the key regulations impacting employers and employees in West Virginia:

  • Overtime Pay: Certain employees in West Virginia are entitled to additional compensation if they work beyond 40 hours per week. This supplemental payment, known as overtime pay, is typically set at one and a half times the regular hourly wage.
  • Breaks and Meal Times: Employees working a six-hour or longer workday are entitled to a minimum 20-minute break at a suitable time. Employers can split this 20-minute period into shorter breaks, as long as it totals 20 minutes. However, this entitlement doesn’t apply if the employer offers meal breaks, permits restroom breaks when needed, and allows employees to eat while working.
  • Unemployment, Disability, and Workers’ Coverage: Participation in West Virginia’s unemployment insurance program is mandatory for employers. While disability insurance is not universally mandated, some employers may voluntarily offer it. However, workers’ compensation is a requisite, ensuring coverage for employees in case of job-related injuries or illnesses.
  • Minimum Pay: Salaried employees who are not exempt in West Virginia are entitled to receive compensation, which should not be lower than the state’s minimum wage. This minimum wage stands at $10.00 per hour, provided their employer has a minimum of 6 non-exempt employees operating from a fixed work setting. If the employer doesn’t meet these criteria, then the compensation should not fall below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour as per West Virginia employment laws.
  • Paid Time Off and Leaves: Employers in West Virginia are generally not obligated to provide paid time off, such as sick leave, holiday leave, jury duty leave, voting leave, or bereavement leave. However, federal laws like the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) may enable eligible employees to take unpaid leave for specific circumstances.
  • Payment Records: Employers in West Virginia are required to furnish employees with pay stubs or wage statements detailing earnings, deductions, and other pertinent information. The frequency of issuing these records may vary but is commonly done with each paycheck or at least bi-monthly.
  • Final Pay: Upon termination of employment in West Virginia, employees have the entitlement to receive their final paycheck, including any outstanding wages owed to them.

Federal Laws

  • The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) plays a crucial role by establishing fundamental regulations concerning minimum wage, overtime compensation, record-keeping, exemptions, and child labor standards across various industries. These regulations extend beyond private businesses and encompass federal, state, and local governmental entities.
  • The Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) necessitates contributions from both employers and employees toward Social Security and Medicare. Employers are required to withhold 6.2% for Social Security tax and 1.45% for Medicare tax from each employee’s earnings. Additionally, employers must match these deductions, culminating in a total FICA payroll tax rate of 15.3% for each employee.
  • Under the Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA), employers are mandated to contribute to unemployment taxes, which aid in providing benefits to eligible employees experiencing job loss. Although these contributions do not directly impact employees’ paychecks, they must be accurately accounted for in each payroll cycle. Generally, a 6% tax is applied to the initial $7,000 paid to an employee annually, although specific industry exceptions may exist.

HR Laws

  • New Hire Reporting in West Virginia: Employers in West Virginia are required to adhere to specific regulations when bringing new employees on board. Within 14 days of hiring, rehiring, or recalling an employee, it’s imperative for employers to inform the West Virginia New Hire Reporting Program. This notification should encompass crucial information including the employee’s complete name, address, social security number, the employer’s name, and the Employer Identification Number (FEIN).
  • Posting Requirements in West Virginia: West Virginia labor laws necessitate that all businesses employing individuals within the state comply with designated guidelines concerning workplace postings. Employers are mandated to prominently display labor law posters within their workplace premises. These posters serve as a comprehensive source of information concerning employee rights and employer obligations in alignment with West Virginia labor laws. They encompass topics such as minimum wage standards, workplace safety protocols, and other pertinent laws applicable to businesses operating in West Virginia.

Worker Classifications in West Virginia

Employees and Independent Contractors

The rise of the gig and entrepreneurial economy has brought attention to the challenge of correctly categorizing workers as either independent contractors or employees. This issue is complex and creates uncertainty for workers, businesses, lawyers, and the courts.

Differentiating between employees and independent contractors involves subjective legal standards that vary depending on the specific law in question. Consequently, a worker might be considered an employee under one law but classified as an independent contractor under another, leading to dual classifications for different purposes.

It is crucial for the state, workers, and businesses to have clear guidelines regarding the legal status of workers concerning various aspects like workers’ compensation, unemployment compensation, Human Rights Act rights, and wage payment laws. Clarity in worker classification helps businesses comply with laws, gives workers certainty about their benefits and obligations, and reduces mistakes, legal disputes, and risks associated with different laws related to workers’ rights and payments.

Having clear, objective, and certain standards for determining who qualifies as an employee or an independent contractor benefits workers, businesses, and the government in areas such as workers’ compensation, unemployment compensation, Human Rights Act rights, and wage payment laws.

Employee Classification

West Virginia defers to guidelines set by the IRS on how to conduct worker classification. The IRS requires employers to deduct Social Security and income taxes from employee wages. On the other hand, independent contractors are accountable for reporting and settling their own Social Security and income taxes. Companies consider various factors to decide the classification of their workers, and one crucial factor is the level of control the business exercises over its workers. 

Typically, if a business maintains more control over a worker, it’s more probable that the worker is an employee rather than an independent contractor. Evidence that demonstrates the extent of control and independence can be categorized into three groups: 

  • Behavioral control
  • Financial control
  • Nature of the relationship

To learn more about the rights of salaried and hourly employees, you can read our guides on your rights as a salaried employee in West Virginia, and your rights as an hourly employee in West Virginia.

Payroll Forms and Relevant Bodies in West Virginia

West Virginia Payroll Forms

  • WV/IT-104 (West Virginia Employee’s Withholding Exemption Certificate and Instructions): This form is vital for employees to declare their preferences for state income tax withholding. It’s akin to the federal W-4 but specifically for West Virginia state income tax purposes.
  • WV/IT-103 (Employer’s Annual Transmittal of Income Tax Withheld): This form is submitted annually with the WV-6 to transmit the total withheld income taxes to the West Virginia Department of Revenue.

Federal Payroll Forms

  • W-4 Form: This document assists employers in accurately determining the appropriate amount of tax to withhold from their employees’ salaries.
  • W-2 Form: Offers a comprehensive overview of each individual employee’s annual earnings.
  • W-3 Form: Consolidates all employees’ payment and tax details into a single summary.
  • Form 940: This submission informs the IRS about a company’s unemployment tax liabilities.
  • Form 941: Filed on a quarterly basis, it informs the IRS about employees’ earnings and the deductions made for FICA taxes from their wages.
  • Form 944: Annually submitted, this form provides intricate information regarding employees’ compensation and FICA tax withholdings.
  • 1099 Forms: These official documents report employees’ annual earnings and the amount of FICA tax deducted.

Federal and West Virginia Payroll/ Tax Bodies

  • Internal Revenue Service (IRS): As a federal agency, the IRS holds authority in collecting federal taxes, including income tax withholding, Social Security, Medicare, and federal unemployment taxes (FUTA) within West Virginia. Its primary function lies in overseeing compliance with federal tax laws, playing a critical role in the country’s tax framework.
  • West Virginia Department of Revenue: In the context of state taxes within West Virginia, the Department of Revenue assumes a role similar to the IRS. It manages income tax withholding, unemployment insurance tax, and other state-specific taxes. This agency acts as the state’s authoritative body for tax administration and revenue collection.
  • Social Security Administration (SSA): The SSA operates nationally, including within West Virginia, managing Social Security programs and the collection of Social Security taxes (FICA). These contributions sustain retirement, disability, and survivor benefits for eligible individuals in the state.
  • West Virginia Division of Employment Security: The West Virginia Division of Employment Security is responsible for administering the state’s unemployment insurance program. It collects unemployment taxes from employers and extends financial support to qualified individuals facing involuntary unemployment, aligning with West Virginia’s laws and regulations.
  • Department of Labor (DOL): At both federal and state levels, the Department of Labor maintains oversight of labor laws and regulations in West Virginia. Its responsibilities encompass ensuring adherence to minimum wage standards, overtime pay regulations, workplace safety protocols, and other employment-related laws. This agency aims to safeguard workers’ rights and uphold equitable labor practices within the state.

Applicable Taxes in West Virginia

Employer Contributions

Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA): West Virginia adheres to the Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA), which establishes a federal rate, currently set at 6.0%, applicable to the initial $7,000 of wages for each employee.

Withheld from Employee’s Wages

  • West Virginia State Taxation: West Virginia has a gradual income tax with rates ranging from 3.00 percent to 6.50 percent.
  • Workers’ Compensation in West Virginia: Employers in West Virginia are legally obligated to provide workers’ compensation coverage for their employees. This ensures that if an employee sustains an injury or illness due to their job, they are entitled to receive compensation for medical expenses and disability benefits. In the unfortunate event of a work-related fatality, the benefits from workers’ compensation extend to the dependents of the deceased employee.
  • Social Security (FICA) Withholding: Employers in West Virginia must adhere to the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA). This mandates the deduction of Social Security and Medicare funds from employees’ wages. Employers are also required to match the same amount for Social Security and Medicare. Regarding the additional Medicare tax, employers only deduct the portion due from the employee without a matching obligation themselves.

Additional Relevant Subtractions to Withhold on Behalf of Employees

In West Virginia, apart from state and county taxes, specific adjustments may be required from employees’ earnings based on certain circumstances or benefits:

  • Voluntary contributions to a company’s retirement plan result in the chosen sum being withdrawn from the employee’s salary before taxes.
  • Employers providing health insurance often deduct the portion of the monthly insurance expense that employees are responsible for paying from their wages, either on a weekly or monthly basis.
  • If an employee has a debt to their employer and a court mandates the company to collect a portion of the paycheck to settle this debt, it must be executed promptly.

These various deductions notably impact the final income an employee receives. Employers must ensure precise and timely processing to comply with West Virginia’s laws and adequately support their workforce.

Key Pay Elements That Impact Payroll in West Virginia

Minimum Wage

In West Virginia, as of January 2024, the minimum wage stands at $10.00, which is higher that the federal standard at $7.25 per hour. It’s vital for employers and employees to stay informed about any changes to this rate by keeping updated through the West Virginia Division of Labor. Staying informed ensures compliance with the state’s minimum wage rules.


Employees in West Virginia are entitled to overtime pay if they work beyond 40 hours per week. The overtime rate stands at 1.5 times the regular hourly wage. Accurately tracking work hours is crucial for both employers and employees to ensure proper compensation for overtime work during each pay period.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance

West Virginia employers must carry workers’ compensation insurance to protect employees in cases of work-related injuries or illnesses. This coverage includes medical benefits and wage replacement. Employers must provide this coverage without any repercussions for employees who seek benefits.

Pay Stub Laws

State laws in West Virginia require employers to furnish detailed pay stubs to employees with each pay cycle. These stubs must transparently display gross wages, deductions, net wages, hours worked, pay period details, and accrued overtime earnings. Providing these comprehensive pay stubs fosters transparency and ensures compliance with wage calculation regulations.

Wage Garnishment

In West Virginia, employers can withhold a portion of an employee’s earnings through wage garnishment to settle outstanding debts. However, strict state regulations ensure employees retain a significant portion of their earnings even during debt repayment.

Final Paycheck

Upon employment termination in West Virginia, employers are legally obliged to issue the final paycheck on or before the next scheduled payday. This final payment encompasses all earned wages and compensations until the last day of work. Timely issuance of the final paycheck is essential to comply with state employment laws and ensure fair compensation for services rendered.

Step-by-Step Guide to Payroll in West Virginia

  • Business Registration: Before hiring employees in West Virginia, it’s imperative to officially register your business, selecting a suitable structure like a sole proprietorship, LLC, or corporation. Follow the state’s specific registration guidelines set by the West Virginia Secretary of State. Acquiring necessary licenses or permits related to your business operations is also necessary to comply with state law.
  • Obtain Employer Identification Numbers: Securing an Employer Identification Number (EIN) is vital, serving as the business’s equivalent of a Social Security number. Apply for an EIN through the IRS website, essential for tax-related responsibilities. Additionally, registering with the West Virginia Department of Revenue for a state tax ID number is crucial for withholding and forwarding state income taxes from employee wages.
  • Establish a Payroll System: A streamlined payroll system is key. Various software options are available to automate tasks, handle tax calculations, and generate pay stubs. Alternatively, consider outsourcing to a specialized payroll service provider if managing these processes independently presents challenges.
  • Set Up Employee Records: Gather essential details such as names, addresses, Social Security numbers, and banking information (if using direct deposit) for new hires. Promptly complete federal W-4 and West Virginia W-4 forms to determine tax withholding. Safeguard these records securely due to their sensitive nature.
  • Determine Compensation: Create a transparent compensation structure by setting hourly rates or salaries, considering bonuses or commissions, and adhering to West Virginia’s minimum wage laws. Decide on benefits like health insurance, retirement plans, or paid time off, understanding their implications on payroll.
  • Establish Payroll Schedule: Consistency in the payroll schedule for salaried or hourly employees is crucial. Consider industry standards, cash flow, and employee preferences when setting and maintaining this schedule.
  • Calculate Gross Pay: Accurately compute gross pay by multiplying the hourly rate by hours worked for hourly employees and dividing the yearly salary by pay periods for salaried employees.
  • Deductions and Withholdings: Understand and implement mandatory deductions like federal and state taxes, Social Security, Medicare, as well as voluntary deductions such as health insurance premiums and retirement fund contributions accurately for each employee.
  • Include Overtime Provisions: Comply with West Virginia labor laws stipulating overtime pay at 1.5 times the standard hourly rate for employees working over 40 hours per week. Consistent tracking of hours is vital to ensure eligible employees receive proper compensation.
  • Process Payroll: Disburse funds to employees, either through direct deposit or checks, accompanied by a pay stub detailing earnings, deductions, and net pay.
  • Remit Taxes: Alongside withholding, timely remittance of these funds to the appropriate tax agencies—federal (IRS) and state (West Virginia Department of Revenue)—is mandatory, often requiring monthly or quarterly payments.
  • Recordkeeping: Adhere to West Virginia’s stringent regulations by maintaining meticulous payroll records covering wage rates, hours worked, pay periods, and deductions for several years.
  • End-of-Year Procedures: Provide employees with W-2 forms summarizing annual earnings and deductions at the fiscal year-end. Accurately file specific forms with tax agencies, summarizing the entire year’s payroll activities.
  • Review and Stay Updated: Regularly review labor laws, tax rates, and pertinent regulations affecting payroll in West Virginia. Staying informed about changes, attending relevant workshops, or consulting HR and financial professionals ensures continued compliance and accuracy.

Final Thoughts

Handling payroll in West Virginia can be tough. Employees need to follow the state’s strict rules carefully. To make managing payroll easier, take a look at our detailed list of the top 6 applications tailored to streamline payroll responsibilities in the United States. If you’ve already established a payroll system, we’ve provided ten tips to enhance your payroll procedure within the United States.

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 to 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 the use of this guide.