The Virginia employment
law guide

The Virginia labor laws every business owner should know

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Wages and breaks

Virginia Minimum wage laws
Tipped min wage

Employers must ensure that tipped employees are earning enough in tips to meet the standard minimum wage for all hours worked.

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Virginia 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.

Beginning July 1, 2022, Virginia realigned the Virginia Overtime Wage Act to be in line with FLSA standards.

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Virginia Breaks

Employers are not required to provide breaks to Virginia employees 16 years of age or older.

If they choose to do so, employers do not have to pay for breaks longer than 20 minutes as long as the employee is free to do as they wish.

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30 min per 5 hrs
Minor Breaks

Employers are required to provide a meal break of at least 30 minutes to minors 14 and 15 years of age if they are scheduled to work for more than 5 hours consecutively.

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Final paychecks in Virginia

Employees who are terminated or who have resigned must be paid their final paycheck on or before the date they would have normally been paid.

Virginia child labor laws

Minors 14 and 15 years of age
When school is not in session, they may work a maximum of 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week, and 6 days a week. Work is only permitted between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

When school is in session, they may work a maximum of 3 hours a day, and 18 hours a week. Work is only permitted between the hours of 7 a.m. and 9 p.m.

Leave requirements

Virginia Sick days

Most 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. Effective July 1, 2021, employers must provide paid sick leave to home healthcare workers who provide services to patients enrolled in Medicaid and work on average at least 20 hours per week or 90 hours per month.

Virginia Family and medical leave

Employers may be required to provide an employee unpaid medical leave in accordance with the Family and Medical Leave Act or other federal laws.

Virginia Bereavement leave

Employers are not required to provide employee bereavement leave.

Virginia Vacation time

Employers are not required to provide vacation leave but must comply with their own established policies in an employee handbook if they choose to implement one.

Employers must pay employees for any accrued and unused vacation days upon separation of employment if its contract or policy provides for such payment.

Virginia Holiday leave

Private employees are not required to provide either paid or unpaid holiday leave.

Virginia Jury Duty Leave

Employers do not have to pay employees for time taken off to respond to a jury summons, but they may not penalize employees for doing so.

Employers also may not require employees to use vacation or sick leave when responding to a jury summons.

Employers may not require employees who spent 4 hours or more responding to a jury summons to start a work shift that begins on or after 5 p.m. on the day of the jury duty appearance or begins before 3 a.m. on the following day.

Virginia Voting time

Virginia does not require employers to provide leave.

Virginia Witness Leave

Employers in Virginia cannot take any adverse action against an employee for appearing in court pursuant to a summons or subpoena. They cannot require that employees use sick leave or vacation time for witness leave.

These protections do not cover an employee who is a defendant in a criminal case. Employees must provide reasonable notice of the need for witness leave.

Virginia Crime victim leave

Employers must provide leave to an employee who is the victim of a crime to attend related criminal proceedings if the employee provides the form from the law enforcement agency listing the victim’s rights and, if applicable, provides a copy of the notice of each scheduled criminal proceeding the victim receives.

Virginia Military Leave

Members of the Civil Air Patrol are entitled to absence from their duties without loss of seniority, accrued leave, benefits, or efficiency rating, up to 10 days per year for training and 30 days per year when responding to an emergency.

Employers must allow their employees who are members of the state militia or of the National Guard of another state to take military leave. The employer may not require that they exhaust their vacation or other leave before using military leave. However, the employee may choose to do so.

After taking military leave, an employee is entitled to return to their job or a job with similar seniority, status, and pay. The right to reemployment does not apply if the military leave is longer than five years.

Hiring and firing

Virginia Discrimination

Federal law makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate on the basis of: 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.

Additionally, the Virginia Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on the following: Expunged criminal records and non-conviction arrest records; Status as a smoker or non-smoker; Lactation.

Click here to read our blog on what acceptable and unacceptable questions to ask during an interview.

Virginia Termination Laws

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.

Virginia Record-Keeping Laws

Regarding employment and payroll data, under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and others, you must:

For at least 3 years: keep payroll records, certificates, agreements, notices, collective bargaining agreements, employment contracts, and sales and purchase records. Also keep completed copies of each employee’s I-9 for three years after they are hired. If the employee works longer than three years, hold on to the form for at least one year after the employee leaves. 

For at least 2 years: Keep basic employment and earning records like timecards, wage-rate tables, shipping and billing records, and records of additions to or deductions from wages. Also keep the records that show why you may pay different wages to employees of different sexes, such as wage rates, job evaluations, seniority and merit systems, and collective bargaining agreements.

For at least 1 year: The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says employers should keep all employment records for at least one year from the employee’s date of termination. 

Other record-keeping laws that may apply to you: 

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, you need to keep records of job-related injuries and illnesses for five years. But some records, like those covering toxic substance exposure, have to be kept for 30 years.

You must keep files of benefit plans and seniority and merit systems while they are in effect and for at least a year after they end. You must also retain summary descriptions and annual reports of benefits plans for six years.

If your company is covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act, you must also retain relevant records of leaves, notices, policies, and more for three years.

Additional laws that may apply to you.

Virginia Pay Practices

Employers in Virginia must pay their employees at least biweekly or semimonthly on regular paydays the employer chooses in advance. However, they may pay their salaried employees monthly.

Employers may not punish employees for discussing wages with another employee.

Virginia Background check laws

Employers who run background checks should ensure they’re following the requirements of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Virginia requires that employers conduct background checks on the following types of employees or applicants: School personnel, including certain private schools; Personnel who work for a nursing home, including certain volunteers; Personnel who work for any of the following entities: An assisted living facility, An adult day care center, A child welfare agency if the employee is involved in the day-to-day operations of the agency or is alone with, is in control of, or supervises a child, A family day home approved by family day systems; Personnel, including volunteers, who work for a child day center or family day home and are involved in the day-to-day operations or will be alone with, in control of, or supervising a child; Hospital personnel who will have access to controlled substances and are not licensed by the Board of Pharmacy; Personnel who work for a home care organization or hospice; Community group home staff and volunteers; Sellers of firearms, including volunteers; Law enforcement officers, including jail officers; Personnel who provide direct care to a person receiving behavioral health or developmental services; Personnel who work for a sponsored residential service provider and provide behavioral health or developmental services in the home; Any person in a shared living arrangement with another person who receives medical assistance services pursuant to a waiver; Personnel who work for a children’s residential facility, including volunteers who will be alone with a juvenile and anyone who provides contractual services directly to a juvenile; Corporate officers, owners, administrators, and every person authorized to operate a motorcycle rider safety training center or safety training course; Certain personnel working for a private security business.

Virginia Credit and Investigative Check laws

Virginia does not expressly allow or prohibit employers from obtaining credit reports on applicants or employees.

Virginia Arrest and Conviction Check laws

Virginia does not expressly allow or prohibit criminal history checks for employment purposes, except that employers may not ask applicants about expunged criminal records. Applicants do not need to disclose expunged records when asked about their criminal history.

Hiring of Veterans in Virginia

Employers in Virginia are allowed to give veterans (and the spouse of a veteran with a service-connected total disability) preference when making hiring or promotion decisions.

Virginia Drug and Alcohol Testing Laws

Virginia does not regulate employers’ drug and alcohol testing, except for any employer that has a state contract of more than $10,000.

Virginia Whistleblower Protection Laws

Employers in Virginia may not discharge or discriminate against an employee for doing any of the following: Exercising their rights regarding workplace safety, such as reporting an unsafe working condition; or Opposing a violation of the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act.

Virginia 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.” Virginia’s mini-COBRA allows employees to continue their coverage for up to 12 months. Employers must provide an employee with a notice of their COBRA rights within 14 days of the triggering event.

Virginia Social Media LAws

Virginia employers may not require a current or prospective employee to: Disclose the username and password to the current or prospective employee’s social media account; or Add an employee, supervisor, or administrator to the list of contacts associated with the current or prospective employee’s social media account.

Compliance Calendar

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This 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. If you need more compliance help, we recommend consulting with a qualified lawyer, checking with your local government agencies, or signing up for Homebase to get help from our certified HR Pros.