It’s important to stay up to date on all of the employment laws in your state so that you can maintain compliance in your business. We did some of the hard work for you and put some of the most important West Virginia statutes in one place so you can either learn them for the first time or give yourself a refresher. 

However, remember that our summary is not qualified legal advice, laws are always subject to change, and they can vary from municipality to municipality. 

It’s up to you to make sure you’re compliant with all laws and statutes in your area. Consult with a qualified lawyer and/or your local government agencies if you have questions or concerns. 

Here are a few West Virginia labor laws every small business owner should know.

Resources

First, here are a few helpful links and resources for you to bookmark and refer back to:

Leave

  • Sick Days: Employers are not required to provide paid or unpaid sick leave but must comply with their own established policies if they choose to implement one.
  • Medical Leave: Employers may be required to provide an employee unpaid leave in accordance with the Family and Medical Leave Act or other federal laws.
  • Vacation Leave: Employers are not required to provide paid or unpaid vacation leave but must comply with their own established policies if they choose to implement one.
    • Employers may establish a policy that denies payment for accrued vacation time upon separation from employment.
    • Employers may also cap the amount of vacation time that can be accrued, and can implement a “use-it-or-lose-it” policy that requires employees to use their leave by a certain date.
  • Jury Duty: Employers are not required to pay employees for time spent on jury duty, but must excuse them for the days required in serving as a juror if they have proof of the summons on the next day after the summons. 
  • Holiday Leave: Private employers are not required to provide paid or unpaid time off for holidays.  
  • Voting Leave:  Employers must provide up to 3 hours of paid leave to vote as long as the employee has requested the time off in writing 3 days before the day of the vote. 
    • If the employee has enough time outside of their shifts to vote, they do not need to be provided with paid leave. 
  • Bereavement Leave: Employers are not required to provide bereavement leave.
  • Witness Leave: Employers cannot discharge an employee who testifies in a legal proceeding.
  • Emergency Response Leave: Employers may not discharge or discipline their employees because they take leave to serve as a volunteer firefighter or an emergency medical service attendant in response to an emergency. Employees may but cannot be required to use available paid leave.
  • Military Leave: West Virginia does not have its own military leave law, but the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) is applicable to all employers in the United States.

Pay Practices

Employers must pay their employees at least semimonthly, except for railroad companies. An employer may request an exemption from the Labor Commissioner.

Final Paycheck

Employees who separate from employment for any reason (including terminations, resignations and layoffs) must be paid all final wages by the next regularly scheduled payday. 

Minimum Wage

The current minimum wage in West Virginia is $8.75.

Tipped Wages

The minimum wage rate for tipped employees is $2.62.

Child Labor

  • Minors 14 and 15 years of age are subject to the following restrictions:
    • When school is in session:
      • A maximum of 3 hours a day on school days
      • A maximum of 8 hours a day on non-school days
      • A maximum of 18 hours a week during school weeks
      • Between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
      • No working during school hours
    • When school is not in session
    • A maximum of 8 hours a day 
    • No more than 40 hours a week 
    • Between the hours of 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. from June 1 to Labor Day
  • Minors 16 and 17 years of age are permitted to work the same hours as adult employees. 
  • All minors must be provided a meal break of at least 30 minutes if they are scheduled to work more than 5 hours. 

Meal and Rest Breaks, Overtime

  • The federal overtime rule stipulates that the minimum salary requirement for administrative, professional, and executive exemptions is $684 per week, or $35,568 per year.
  • State law requires employers to pay non-exempt employees an overtime rate of 1 ½  their regular rate for all hours worked in a workweek in excess of 40. 
  • In workplaces where employees cannot take necessary breaks and/or permitted to eat on the job, employers must provide a meal break of at least 20 minutes to employees who work 6 hours or more. 

Required Posters

The State of West Virginia requires that employers post the following notices in a prominent location:

  • Wage Payment and Collection Act
  • Minimum Wage and Maxim Hours Law
  • The Human Rights Act Prohibits Discrimination
  • Notice to Employees – Unemployment Benefits

Employment Discrimination

  • Federal law makes it illegal to discriminate in employment based on the following:
    • Race
    • Color
    • Age
    • Sex
    • Sexual orientation
    • Gender
    • Gender identity
    • Religion
    • National origin
    • Pregnancy
    • Genetic information, including family medical history
    • Physical or mental disability
    • Child or spousal support withholding
    • Military or veteran status
    • Citizenship and/or immigration status
  • West Virginia law also makes it illegal to discriminate based on the following:
    • Use of tobacco products off the premises during non-working hours
    • Arrest records
    • AIDS/HIV
    • Wage garnishment for consumer debt
  • Click here to read our blog on what acceptable and unacceptable questions to ask during an interview.    
  • The West Virginia Pregnant Workers’ Fairness Act requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for employees who have limitations in their ability to work documented by a health care provider that stem from pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions unless the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the employer.    

Whistleblower Protection

Employers may not discharge or discriminate against an employee for doing any of the following:

  • Filing a complaint regarding discrimination
  • Participating in a proceeding regarding discrimination
  • Opposing discrimination

Hiring

  • Background Checks: Employers who run background checks should ensure they’re following the requirements of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which are available here.
  • Credit and Investigative Checks: West Virginia does not expressly allow or prohibit employers from obtaining credit reports on applicants or employees.
  • Arrest and Conviction Checks: West Virginia does not expressly allow or prohibit criminal history checks for employment purposes.
  • Mandatory Background Checks: West Virginia requires that employers conduct background checks on the following types of employees or applicants:
    • Employees who administer medications or perform health maintenance tasks for certain healthcare facilities
    • Nursing home employees who will have physical contact with a resident or access to their property, personally identifiable information, protected health information, or financial information
    • Assisted living facility administrators
    • Medical adult day care center directors
    • Residential care community administrators
    • Personnel, including volunteers over the age of 18, who work for a family childcare facility
    • Personnel, including volunteers, who work for an out-of-school-time childcare center, with limited exceptions
    • Personnel who work for a child-placing agency and who will work with children
    • Personnel, including volunteers, who work for a residential childcare facility
    • Personnel, including volunteers, who work for a treatment facility for children or transitioning adults
    • Final candidates for the president of certain colleges and universities

Termination

West Virginia is an employment-at-will state, which means that without a written employee contract, employees can be terminated for any reason at any time, provided that the reason is not discriminatory and that the employer is not retaliating against the employee for a rightful action. 

COBRA

  • COBRA is a federal law that allows many employees to continue their health insurance benefits after their employment ends. Because federal COBRA only applies to employers that have 20 or more employees, many states have adopted their own versions of the law, which are known as “mini-COBRAs.”
  • West Virginia has a limited mini-COBRA, which allows employees to continue their coverage for disability insurance for up to 18 months after they are laid off.

Shift Scheduling

There are currently no laws regarding shift scheduling in West Virginia. 

Miscellaneous Laws

Employee Monitoring

Employers in West Virginia may not listen to or record their employees’ oral, electronic, or wire communications, unless they have consent from at least one party to the communication.

Social Media

Employers are prohibited from the following:

  1. Requesting that an employee disclose a username or password
  2. Requesting, requiring, or coercing employees or potential employees to access their personal accounts in the presence of the employer
  3. Compelling employees or potential employees to add the employer or employment agency to their lists of contacts that enables such contacts to access their personal accounts

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