West Virginia Labor Laws Guide

Ultimate West Virginia labor law guide: minimum wage, overtime, break, leave, hiring, termination, and miscellaneous labor laws.

West Virginia Labor Laws FAQ
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
($13.1 for minimum wage workers)
(see below for exceptions)
West Virginia breaks 20-minute breaks for each shift exceeding 6 hours
West Virginia Labor Laws Guide

Table of contents

West Virginia wage laws

The state of West Virginia has its own laws for handling minimum wages regarding different groups of employees.

The following are wage regulations concerning:

WEST VIRGINIA MINIMUM WAGE
Regular minimum wage Tipped minimum wage Subminimum wage
$8.75 $2.62 $6.40

West Virginia minimum wage

West Virginia employers must pay their employees a minimum wage of $8.75 per hour

However, such wage only applies to separate, distinct, and permanent work locations (including remote work) with 6 or more non-exempt employees. 

In case the 6-employee requirement is not met — the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour applies.

Exceptions to the minimum wage in West Virginia 

Employees who are exempt from the minimum wage requirement in West Virginia are the following:

Tipped minimum wage in West Virginia

West Virginia employers are allowed to take a credit of 70% against the state minimum wage requirement for service employees* who customarily receive tips or gratuities.

Therefore, tipped employees in West Virginia are entitled to at least $2.62 per hour of work.

Still, the tipped employee’s hourly wage — when wages and tips combine — must equal the state minimum wage of $8.75 per hour to meet the minimum wage requirement.

In case it does not, the employer is required to pay the difference. 

However, if a service employee performs duties for which they do not receive tips for more than 20% of their time at work — e.g. cleaning tables, making coffee, and the like — the employer shall pay such employee $8.75 per hour, without taking a tip credit.

*In West Virginia, dual job employees — i.e. those who perform work as both tipped and non-tipped employees — also qualify for the West Virginia tipped minimum wage. Still, when taking a credit against the minimum wage for a dual employee, the employer must have records that show the exact number of hours worked by such employee.

West Virginia subminimum wage

Subminimum wage allows employers to pay certain employees a wage that is less than the standard minimum wage. 

In West Virginia, workers 20 years of age or younger are entitled to a training wage that is less than the standard minimum wage — $6.40 per hour.

Yet, this remains valid only during their first 90 days of employment, after which they are entitled to the standard minimum wage of $8.75 per hour.

West Virginia payment laws

West Virginia employers are required to pay their employees at least twice a month and with no more than 19 days between paydays. 

But, the Commissioner of Labor may grant a special agreement to the employer that allows them to pay their workers less than twice a month. 

Workers should call (304)558-7890 to find out if their employer has been issued such a special agreement.

Furthermore, West Virginia railroad companies are allowed to pay their employees:

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West Virginia overtime laws

In West Virginia, certain requirements must be met for the state overtime provisions to apply:

Therefore, eligible employees are entitled to overtime pay at a rate of one and a half (1.5) times the regular rate.

Piece workers overtime rate

Piece workers — i.e., employees who are paid for each unit produced or action performed — also qualify for overtime pay under West Virginia law.

Employees with several jobs overtime rate

Employees who perform two or more jobs receive overtime pay — but such overtime pay is calculated in the following manner: 

For example, an employee is paid $9 per hour for working at a restaurant and $11 per hour for working at a souvenir shop. 

The employee’s total working hours for the week is 43 — he works 35 hours at the restaurant and 8 hours at the shop. 

Since the employee worked in excess of 3 hours in that souvenir shop, his overtime rate would be based on $11 per hour.

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Overtime exceptions and exemptions in West Virginia

Under state law of West Virginia, the following employees are exempt from overtime pay:

Fluctuating Workweek Method (FWW) in West Virginia 

Under the Fluctuating Workweek Method, salaried employees — who are considered as exempt employees — are also eligible for overtime pay.

Apart from the fixed salary requirement, other conditions must also be met for the FWW to apply:

When the said conditions are met, eligible employees are entitled to overtime pay of one-half (0.5) times the regular hourly rate.

Fluctuating Workweek Calculator Fluctuating Workweek Calculator 

Let’s see how the Fluctuating Workweek Method (FWW) works in practice:

An employee’s weekly income is, for instance, $850.

In the preceding week, the employee worked 46 hours.

To be able to calculate overtime hours, calculate the hourly rate first.

Simply divide the weekly salary by the number of hours worked for that week.

$850 / 46 = $19 per hour

Next, multiply the hourly rate by 0.5 for every overtime hour during a week.

$19 per hour x 0.5 = $9.5 for each overtime hour worked

Total overtime compensation goes as follows: 

$9.5 x 6 overtime hours = $57

How to manage working 80+ hours a week

West Virginia break laws

In West Virginia, if an employee works 6 or more hours a day, they are entitled to a paid meal break of at least 20 minutes. 

Employers are advised to provide breaks to their employees as they may reduce stress, improve employee productivity, and prevent burnout.

Exceptions to break laws in West Virginia

The said provisions, however, do not apply to workers who are allowed to eat while working. They are not eligible for paid meal breaks.

Furthermore, any break lasting 30 minutes or longer is not treated as work time and hence is not compensated.

Simplest way to set up an employee clock-in/clock-out system 

West Virginia breastfeeding laws in the workplace

Regarding breastfeeding breaks in the workplace, West Virginia employers must comply with federal regulations.

Under federal law, employers must provide a breastfeeding mother:

Yet, not all employees qualify for such breaks. Under federal breastfeeding law, only businesses with more than 50 nonexempt employees are covered.

West Virginia leave requirements

The state of West Virginia regulates the provisions and conditions for obtaining leaves of absence.

There are two types of leaves:

West Virginia required leave

The following are instances when employers are required to provide their employees with days off.

Here is the list of required leaves of absence in West Virginia:

Sick leave (public employers)

State employees start accruing sick leave from the first day of state employment — 1.5 days per month or 18 days per year.

Sick leave may be used in case of:

What’s more, state employees may use up to 80 hours of sick leave when their immediate family members are ill, injured, or have medical appointments. 

Parental leave

Employees of all departments, divisions, boards, bureaus, agencies, commissions, or other units of State Government and County Boards of Education are entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period.

Eligible employees may use parental leave in the following circumstances:

Parental leave may be used only after exhausting the employee’s annual and personal leave.

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that offers additional leave to eligible employees for certain family or medical reasons.

On that account, eligible employees may receive up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave a year, provided that they have worked for their employer for at least 12 months (1,250 hours) in the last 12-month period.

Such leave is not compensated — but it covers the following individuals:

What are the FMLA qualifying events?

Eligible employees may take the FMLA leave in the following events:

What’s more, eligible employees may take up to 26 workweeks of the FMLA leave in case they need to take care of a service member — either their spouse, child, parent, or next of kin — following any serious health condition due to them being members of the military.

Holiday leave (public employers)

West Virginia state employees get 12 paid holidays per year.

The following are official state holidays of West Virginia:

* If Christmas Day and New Year’s Day fall on either Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday, the preceding day — Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve — is considered time off. Yet, eligible employees do not receive the whole day off but only half — not to exceed 4 hours.

Other occurrences when eligible employees are given time off in West Virginia include:

Finally, if a holiday falls on a Saturday, the preceding Friday shall be considered as a day off, and if it falls on a Sunday, the following Monday shall be a day off.

Annual/vacation leave (public employers)

Annual leave refers to personal time off that eligible employees start accruing from the first day of state employment.

The following is the annual leave accrual schedule:

Years of service Accrual rate (earned days monthly and yearly) Maximum yearly carryover amount
Less than 5 1.25 monthly / 15 yearly 30 days
5 but less than 10 1.50 monthly / 18 yearly 30 days
0 but less than 15 1.75 monthly / 21 yearly 35 days
15 or more 2.00 monthly / 24 yearly 40 days
Track employee time off

Jury, court, and hearing leave (public employers)

West Virginia state employees must be excused from work when called to serve as a juror or witness before any court, board, or other lawfully authorized body. Such leave is paid.

Military leave (public employers)

State employees of West Virginia are entitled to 60 days (480 hours) of military leave with pay.

Eligible employees include:

If an employee must prolong their absence from work longer than the 60-day limit, they may start using their annual leave with pay or personal leave without pay (which must first be requested and approved).

Donor leave (public employers)

Full-time state employees are eligible for donation leave which includes:

Disaster service volunteers leave (public employers)

Certified service volunteers of the American Red Cross — state employees — are granted paid leave of absence of up to 15 work days each year to participate in disaster relief services.

West Virginia non-required leave

No federal or state law that obliges an employer to provide a leave of absence for hours not worked. This predominantly concerns private employers, and most of the leave benefits with regard to private employment are left to the discretion of the employer.

That said, West Virginia private employers do not have to provide their employees time off in the following events:

Child labor laws in West Virginia

In the state of West Virginia, minors aged 14 through 17 are allowed to work — but employers must keep in mind the strict provisions of state child labor laws.

However, when employing minors aged 14 and 15 (provided that is a permissible occupation), the employer must obtain a work permit. This, however, does not apply to family-owned businesses when employing their own children.

Child labor laws support minors to start developing working habits at an early age — but, at the same time, make sure they work in a healthy and hazard-free environment.

The following are child labor provisions in West Virginia regarding:

Work time restrictions for West Virginia minors

West Virginia employers who wish to employ minors aged 14 and 15 must comply with the following hour regulations:

There are no hour limitations when it comes to the employment of minors aged 16 or 17.

However, a prospective employer is accountable for obtaining the Division’s age certificate form as proof of the minor's age.

Breaks for West Virginia minors

Employers must ensure that their employees who are minors get at least a 30-minute meal break after every 5 hours of work.

Prohibited occupations for West Virginia minors

The following occupations are identified as hazardous by the West Virginia Division of Labor and federal law, and they apply to all minors under the age of 18.

West Virginia hazardous occupations and duties for minors under the age of 18:

Volunteer firefighter exception for minors aged 16 and 17

Minors aged 16 and 17 are allowed to serve as junior volunteer firefighters — but only after meeting the following requirements:

Therefore, as long as a minor wears protective equipment, they may participate in training activities, administer first-aid, clean up the outside area of a fire or emergency scene, and provide coffee and food at the scene.

West Virginia hiring laws

Under the West Virginia Human Rights Act, all employees must be given equal opportunity for employment without regard to:

Therefore, it is considered an unlawful discriminatory practice for any employer, employment agency, labor organization, or joint labor-management committee controlling apprentice training program to: 

Still, employers can show preference when hiring a veteran or disabled veteran — provided that the veteran or disabled veteran meets all the job-related requirements. 

Any individual who suffers damages based on the said discriminatory practices has the right to file a complaint within 365 days of the alleged violation to the commission. 

Right-to-work law in West Virginia

West Virginia was one of the last states to adopt the right-to-work law (RTW law)

As of July 1, 2016, West Virginia workers may decide whether or not to join or financially support a labor union. Before this law came into effect, workers could be forced to pay fees to a labor union as a condition of employment.

The right-to-work law of West Virginia applies to most workers — but excludes:

*Such employees may not be conditioned to join a union — but may be required to pay union fees as a condition of employment.

What’s more, the RTW law of West Virginia only applies to collective bargaining contracts that were formed, modified, renewed, or extended after July 1, 2016. 

Voluntary union members, however, may send a request to the union and employer to resign from the union. Private-sector employees may resign at any time.

No employer shall discriminate against any employee who joins or does not join a labor union in terms of employment, benefits, etc. Moreover, union members who work during a strike may be subject to fines by the labor union.

West Virginia termination laws

As in many other states, West Virginia has adopted the at-will-employment law. This means that an employer may terminate an employee at any time and for any reason or no reason at all.

The same applies to employees — they may rightfully quit their jobs at any time, with or without cause.

Still, no employer may terminate an employee based on discriminatory bias. Such termination is called “wrongful termination” and employers must not end the employment based on the employee’s:

West Virginia final paycheck

There are different requirements regarding the payment of final wages in West Virginia. The rules depend on the circumstances of how the employment ended.

Reasons for separation of employment in West Virginia:

Health insurance continuation in West Virginia

Terminated employees and their dependents in West Virginia have the right to continue their Public Employees Insurance Agency (PEIA) health benefits under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). PEIA is a group health benefit plan that is covered by federal COBRA law.

Therefore, all eligible employees using such health plans may continue their health insurance benefits for 18 to 36 months after the separation of employment.

The duration of the health coverage depends on the “qualifying event” — and the following are qualifying events for employees and their dependents:

Who is eligible for PEIA coverage under COBRA?

Eligible employees (and their dependents) include:

Occupational safety in West Virginia

When it comes to establishing a safe and hazard-free work environment — both federal and state provisions of West Virginia apply.

Federal OSHA program

Under the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), private employers are responsible for providing their employees with a healthy and safe workplace. 

What’s more, OSHA induces education and training with the intention of reducing work-related injuries and fatalities. 

There are 6 main types of hazards in the workplace recognized by OSHA:

West Virginia Occupational Safety and Health Act

Each public employer in West Virginia must comply with occupational safety and health standards under this act — to create a hazard-free workplace and promote a strong safety culture. 

To make sure such standards are met, during work hours, the commissioner is authorized to enter premises — without prior notice — to inspect a place of employment including all conditions, apparatus, equipment, and similar.

Furthermore, employers are obligated to keep their employees educated and informed of the provisions and safety measures under this act.

Anyone who believes there has been a violation of a health or safety standard is responsible for notifying the commissioner in writing — without later being discriminated against in any manner. 

OSHA offices in West Virginia

Miscellaneous Texas labor laws

In the miscellaneous section, we will cover the following labor laws:

West Virginia whistleblower laws

In accordance with the West Virginia Whistleblower Law, public employees are protected from employment discrimination, discharge, or retaliation if such employees, acting in good faith, report any:

On that account, no employer may:

Anyone who believes there has been a violation of federal, state, or political subdivision statute, regulation, ordinance, or code of ethics is obliged to contact the appropriate supervisory personnel in their office, agency, or other appropriate official. 

West Virginia recordkeeping laws 

Concerning the preservation of personnel records in West Virginia, every employer — including the state of West Virginia, its agencies, departments, political subdivisions, and any individual, partnership, association, a public or private corporation with 6 or more employees — must keep written records at the place of employment for at least 2 years.

Said employers shall keep and preserve the following records:

Conclusion/Disclaimer

We hope this West Virginia labor law guide has been helpful. We advise you to make sure you’ve paid attention to the links we’ve provided, as most of them will lead you to the official government websites and other relevant information.

Please note that this guide was written in Q3 2022, so any changes in the labor laws that were included later than that may not be included in this West Virginia labor laws guide. 

We strongly advise you to consult with the appropriate institutions and/or certified representatives before acting on any legal matters. 

Clockify is not responsible for any losses or risks incurred, should this guide be used without further guidance from legal or tax advisors.

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