Table of contents
  1. Wage and Hour Laws
  2. Employee Compensation and Benefits
  3. Workplace Rights and Protections
  4. Child Labor Laws
  5. Workplace Safety and Health
  6. Labor Union Regulations
  7. Employment Contracts and Severance
  8. Additional Laws That Might Apply to You
  9. Navigating Legal Issues and Resources
  10. Disclaimer

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Wage and Hour Laws

Minimum Wage

The minimum wage in Virginia is $12.00 per hour

Certain employees are exempt from Virginia’s minimum wage law, including:

  • Farm laborers and employees.
  • Traveling salespeople or outside salespeople who work on a commission basis.
  • Taxi drivers.
  • Minors under 16.
  • Any employees exempt from the federal minimum wage.

The House of Delegates and Senate have recently passed bills to increase the minimum wage. As a result, the minimum wage will increase to $13.50 per hour beginning January 1, 2025, and $15.00 per hour beginning January 1, 2026. 

Tipped Minimum Wage

The minimum wage for tipped employees is $2.13 per hour. Employers can pay tipped employees $2.13 per hour only if their combined wages and tips total the minimum wage ($12.00). 

Tipped employees are those who regularly receive more than $30 in tips each month. 

Overtime Laws

Virginia relies on the overtime requirements under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The FLSA requires employers to pay non-exempt employees 1.5 times their usual pay rate for any hours worked over 40 hours in a workweek. 

The FLSA’s overtime provisions don’t apply to some employees, including:

  • Executive, administrative, and professional employees who earn at least $684 a week.
  • Outside salespersons.
  • Computer professionals who earn at least $684 a week or $27.63 an hour.
  • Employees who earn $107,432 or more a year.

Meal and Rest Breaks

No state laws require Virginia employers to provide meal or rest breaksexcept for laws concerning employees under 16. Workers under 16 can’t work more than 5 consecutive hours without at least a 30-minute lunch break

Employers who choose to offer breaks must follow federal law. This includes paying employees for breaks of 20 minutes or less. Employers don’t have to pay workers for longer breaks unless employees perform work duties during those breaks. 

Payday Frequency and Method

Employers must have regular pay periods. Salaried employees must receive at least once a month, while hourly employees must receive at least once every 2 weeks or twice each month. There are some limited exceptions to this. 

Employees can be paid by cash, check, electronic transfer to an account of their choice, or a payroll card, with the latter requiring the employee’s consent. 

Wage Deductions and Garnishments

Except for taxes and other deductions required by law, wage deductions are allowed with the employee’s consent only. 

Debtors can garnish employees’ wages if they have a money judgment from the court. However, wage garnishments are limited to whichever is less: 

  • 25% of the employee’s weekly disposable income.
  • The amount by which their weekly disposable income exceeds 40 times the Virginia minimum wage or the federal minimum wage (whichever is greater at the time). 

Different limits apply to wage garnishments that don’t require money judgments. For example, unpaid child support is capped at 60% of the employee’s weekly disposable income if the employee doesn’t have other dependent children or a spouse. It’s capped at 50% of their disposable income if they do have other dependents.

Employers can’t terminate workers because their wages are subject to garnishment. 


No state law requires employers to keep wage and hour records. However, employers must provide employees with the following employee records if they receive a written request:

  • The employee’s dates of employment.
  • Their wages or salaries.
  • Their job description and title.
  • Any injuries sustained during their employment.

Employers have 30 days from the date of the request to provide these records. If they require longer, they can provide a written explanation of the delay and provide the records within 30 days of that explanation. 

Federal recordkeeping requirements under the FLSA may apply to Virginia employers. 

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Employee Compensation and Benefits

Final Paycheck Laws

Employers must pay leaving employees on or before the day of their next scheduled paycheck. 

Reporting Time Pay

Virginia doesn’t have reporting time pay laws. This means that when employees attend a shift but don’t work, employers don’t have to pay them. Employers must simply pay employees for the hours they work. 

Paystub Requirements

Each payday, employers must give employees a written statement. The statement needs to include the following information from the pay period:

  • The employer’s name and address.
  • The total hours worked (if the employee is paid by the hour or exempt from FLSA overtime premium pay requirements).
  • The pay rate.
  • Gross wages.
  • Any deductions.

This requirement doesn’t apply to agricultural employers unless those employees request written statements.  

Employee Scheduling Laws

Virginia doesn’t have any predictive scheduling laws

Workers’ Compensation

Virginia employers with 2 or more employees are subject to the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act. The Act requires employers to have workers’ compensation insurance in the event of workplace injuries or occupational diseases. 

Workers’ compensation benefits may cover:

  • Medical expenses. 
  • Lost wages (for absences over 7 days). 
  • Permanent partial disability. 
  • Permanent total disability. 
  • Vocational rehabilitation. 
  • Death. 

The Workers’ Compensation Commission (WCC) administers workers’ compensation in Virginia. 

Employees who are injured or develop a disease as a result of their work must report it to their employer as soon as possible. Time limits apply—employees have 30 days to report injuries and 60 days to report diseases. 

Employees must also file a claim with the WCC. They can do this online (with a claim form), by fax or mail, or in person at a Commission office. Employees generally must file claims within 2 years

Employers are required to report injuries or diseases to their insurers only. 

In the event of a workers’ compensation dispute, the WCC offers alternative dispute resolution. Otherwise, a Commissioner or Deputy Commission will hear and decide the case. If the parties disagree with the decision, they have 30 days to file an appeal. Parties can first appeal a decision to the Commission, then the Court of Appeals, and finally the Supreme Court. 

Unemployment Insurance

Virginia offers unemployment benefits to workers who have lost their jobs or had their hours reduced. Employers’ unemployment insurance taxes fund these benefits. Virginia’s unemployment insurance and benefits program is administered by the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC). 

Employers must pay state unemployment insurance tax if:

  • They pay federal unemployment tax.
  • They have a quarterly payroll of at least $1,500 and have had at least 1 employee for 20 weeks or more.

Employers file quarterly reports to calculate unemployment insurance. Tax rates vary depending on the employer’s circumstances. Base unemployment tax rates range between 0.1% to 6.2%

To be eligible for unemployment benefits, an individual must:

  • Have had their work reduced or employment terminated through no fault of their own.
  • Have earned at least $3,000 across 2 quarters of their base period.
  • Be able and available to work.

Individuals can apply for UI benefits online or by phone. Once approved for benefits, they must file weekly certifications with the VEC. 

The benefits someone receives are calculated based on their wages during their base period and are capped at $378 a week. Depending on the circumstances, benefits are available for up to 12 or 26 weeks. 

Workplace Rights and Protections

Discrimination and Harassment

The Virginia Human Rights Act (VHRA) prohibits employers from discriminating against candidates and employees based on:

  • Race.
  • Color.
  • Religion.
  • Sex.
  • Sexual orientation.
  • Gender identity.
  • Pregnancy, including childbirth and related medical conditions.
  • Marital status.
  • Age (40+).
  • Military status.
  • National origin.
  • Disability.

This applies to employers with 15 or more employees or 1 or more domestic workers. However, employees can file civil lawsuits for unlawful discharge based on age against employers with over 5 but less than 20 employees. Employees can also file civil lawsuits against employers with 5 or more employees for unlawful discharge based on any of the above characteristics

As part of their obligations under the VHRA, employers can’t refuse requests for reasonable accommodations for disabilities, pregnancy, or conditions relating to childbirth, including lactation. The only exception to these requirements is when the reasonable accommodation would cause undue hardship to the employer. 

Employers can give veterans or spouses of disabled veterans preference in hiring and promotion decisions without violating the VHRA. 

An employee who believes they’ve been subject to employment discrimination can file a complaint online with the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) of the Department of Law. The OCR investigates these complaints. 

Employers can’t retaliate against employees who file discrimination complaints. 

If the OCR finds reasonable cause to believe discrimination occurred, it will help the parties try to agree on a settlement. If this is unsuccessful, the OCR gives the employee a notice of the right to commence a civil action. 

If the OCR finds no reasonable cause, it will issue a notice of the right to commence a civil action. 

Employees who believe they’ve been subject to pregnancy discrimination can start a civil lawsuit without first filing a complaint with the OCR. For all other types of discrimination, employees must file a complaint with the OCR before filing a civil lawsuit. 

There is generally a 180-day limit on filing discrimination complaints with the OCR. This is calculated from the day of the alleged discriminatory act—or the day the employee became aware of it. 

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Leave Laws

𐄂 Family and Medical LeaveVirginia doesn’t have a family and medical leave law. However, eligible employees are entitled to leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). 
The FMLA applies to employers with 50 or more employees. To be eligible for federal FMLA leave, employees must have worked for the employer for at least 1,250 hours in the previous year and work in a location with a minimum of 50 employees within a 75-mile radius. 
FMLA leave gives eligible employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave—or 26 weeks if they’re caring for a family member injured during active duty. 
Employees can use FMLA leave:For their own serious health condition.To care for a family member with a severe health condition.To bond with a new child.In relation to a family member’s active military service or to care for a family member injured during active service.
✔ Paid Sick Leave (limited)The only state law that requires employers to provide paid sick leave applies to home health workers. These are workers who provide personal care, respite, or companion services under Medicaid.
For these workers, paid sick leave accrues at 1 hour of paid leave for every 30 hours worked. It’s capped at 40 hours each year unless the employer offers more. Employees can carry over accrued sick leave to the following year.  
𐄂 Paid Family LeaveVirginia doesn’t require employers to provide paid family leave. 
Some employers choose to take out paid family leave insurance for their employees. This allows employees to take leave for the birth or adoption of a child, the placement of a foster child, the care of family members with severe health conditions, and family support following the deployment of a family member. 
However, there’s a bill before the Virginia General Assembly to introduce paid family and medical leave.
If it becomes law, it will provide employees with up to 8 weeks a year of paid family and medical leave beginning January 1, 2027. Payments will be 80% of employees’ weekly wages, capped at the state minimum wage. Employer and employee premiums would fund the leave. 
𐄂 Pregnancy and Parental LeavePrivate employers aren’t required to provide pregnancy or parental leave. 
Employees may access unpaid leave under the FMLA for these reasons.
𐄂 Vacation and Personal LeaveVacation and personal leave aren’t mandatory in Virginia. However, many employers choose to offer it. 
Where they do, employers should comply with any relevant provisions of their employee handbooks, employment contracts, or collective bargaining agreements. 

Military, Jury Duty, and Other Mandatory Leave

There are several other types of mandatory leave in Virginia.

Military LeaveEmployees who are members of the Virginia National Guard, Defense Force, or a National Guard of another state must be given unpaid leave for active or military duty. Employers can’t make these employees use their vacation or sick leave.  
These employees have the right to be reinstated to their original position or given an equivalent position on their return to work. 
The federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act also applies to Virginia employers. This requires employers to provide re-employment rights and benefits protections to employees on military leave.
Jury Duty LeaveEmployers can’t terminate or take any other action against a worker who attends jury service. Employees must give reasonable notice of their jury duty. Their employers can’t require them to use vacation or sick leave to attend jury duty. 
Voting LeaveEmployees who serve on local election boards or at polling places are protected from adverse action by their employers. However, Virginia doesn’t require employers to provide voting leave. 
Organ and Bone Marrow Donation LeaveBusinesses with more than 50 workers must provide up to 60 days of unpaid leave for organ donation and up to 30 days for bone marrow donation. 
To be eligible for this leave, employees must:Have worked at least 1,250 hours in the 12 months before the donation. Provide the employer with supporting documents. 
Employees can’t take this leave at the same time as federal FMLA leave. 
Employees who take this leave have the right to be reinstated to their original or an equivalent position upon their return to work. 
Victim of Crime LeaveEmployers must give unpaid leave to employees who are victims of crime so they can attend court proceedings. In these circumstances, employers can’t discriminate against candidates or employees who take time off to attend court. Employers can limit the amount of this leave they provide—but only if the leave creates undue hardship for the business. 

Child Labor Laws

Employers generally can’t employ minors under 14. There are some limited exceptions to this. 

A minor under 16 generally requires a work permit for employment. Work permits can be obtained online through the Department of Labor. This requirement has limited exceptions, including for minors working on a farm or for their parents. 

Employers must give minors a 30-minute break every 5 consecutive hours of work. 

Employers also must record the hours minors work, including breaks. Twelve months of records must be kept for 3 years from the date of the last recorded work period. 

14 and 15-year-olds16 and 17-year-olds
When school is in sessionCan work between 7am and 7pm only (except paper routes, which can start at 4am) and not during school hours.Can work up to 3 hours a day on school days and 18 hours a week.Can work up to 8 hours on non-school days and 40 hours during non-school weeks.No restrictions apart from complying with compulsory school attendance.
June 1 to Labor DayCan work between 7am and 9pm only (with the same paper route exception).Can work up to 8 hours on non-school days and 40 hours during non-school weeks.
Limits on types of workChildren under 16 can’t work in various occupations and industries, including:Manufacturing.Commercial canneries.Curb service restaurants.Lumber yards.Theater ushers.
The law sets out the full list of prohibited occupations. 
Children under 18 are also restricted from working in various roles and industries. They can’t work in/with:Mines.Manufacturing explosives.Oiling machinery.Paint manufacturing.Demolition.
The law sets out the full list of prohibited occupations.

Youth employment law violations can result in civil penalties of up to $10,000 if the child is seriously injured or dies and $1,000 in other cases. 

Workplace Safety and Health

Virginia has a state plan approved by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The Virginia Occupational Safety and Health (VOSH) Program administers workplace safety laws in the state. These laws apply to most employers. 

Virginia’s state plan has most of the same standards as those under OSHA, although it also has some additional standards

Virginia employers must provide employees with safe workplaces that are free from hazards that could cause death or serious injury. Employer obligations include:

  • Reporting workplace fatalities to VOSH within 8 hours.
  • Reporting workplace incidents that result in hospital admission, amputation, or loss of an eye to VOSH within 24 hours.
  • Notifying employees when they’ve been exposed to toxic materials.
  • Posting copies of any health and safety citations at the sites of the violations.
  • Informing employees about their workplace safety and health rights and responsibilities.

Employees must comply with occupational safety and health laws when working. 

Employees can file occupational safety and health complaints with VOSH online or through their local office. VOSH investigates complaints by conducting on-site or off-site inspections.

If employees exercise their rights under this law, their employers can’t retaliate against them. 

Labor Union Regulations

Employers can’t require workers to join unions or pay union fees—or prohibit them from joining unions—as conditions of their employment. 

Hospital employees can’t strike in ways that interfere with the hospital’s operations. 

Employment Contracts and Severance

Employment Contract Laws

Virginia is an at-will employment state. This means that the employer or employee can terminate the relationship without notice for no reason or any reason—as long as the reason isn’t illegal. 

An exception to the at-will presumption is where a written or implied employment contract exists. In this situation, the terms of the contract govern how the relationship can be terminated. 

Employers can’t require low-wage employees to sign non-compete agreements. Low-wage employees are those whose average weekly earnings are less than Virginia’s average weekly wage for the given year (for 2024, this is $1,410). 

Otherwise, non-compete and non-solicitation agreements are generally allowed in Virginia. However, to be valid, they:

  • Can restrict the employee only as much as is necessary to protect a legitimate business interest.
  • Can’t unreasonably restrict the employee’s ability to earn a living. 
  • Can’t breach public policy.

Employers can’t require employees to sign non-disclosure, confidentiality, or non-disparagement clauses to hide sexual assault or sexual harassment claims. 

Severance Pay

Laws don’t require employers to provide severance pay. Where they do, they must comply with the relevant terms of the employment contract. 

Additional Laws That Might Apply to You

Ban-the-box LawEmployers can’t request information from candidates about any previous arrests or charges that have been removed from their criminal records. 
Medical MarijuanaVirginia allows individuals aged 21 or older to possess small amounts of marijuana for personal and medical use. Employers can’t retaliate against employees who lawfully use cannabis oil for medical purposes. However, employers can take action if the employee’s use impairs their work, and they can prohibit the use of cannabis oil during work hours. 
Social Media Employers can’t ask applicants or employees to provide usernames and passwords for their social media accounts or add the employer to their social media contacts. 
Mini-COBRAThe federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) ensures the continuation of employees’ health benefits after their employment ends. It applies to the group health plans of employers with at least 20 employees and extends coverage by 18 or 36 months, depending on the circumstances. 
Virginia’s mini-COBRA law applies to employers with 2 to 19 employees, extending their coverage for 12 months. 

Virginia ended its COVID-19 workplace safety regulations in March 2022. Following this, VOSH issued general guidance for employers. 

Here are some valuable resources where you can find more information about your obligations as an employer and employee rights in Virginia:

  • The Virginia Department of Labor website. 
  • The Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs website provides an extensive list of employment law referrals, agencies, and resources. 
  • The VA Legal Aid website, maintained by the Virginia Poverty Law Center, has various employment law resources for workers. 


The information presented on this website about labor laws in Virginia is a summary for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. Laws and regulations regularly change and may vary depending on individual circumstances. While we have made every effort to ensure the information provided is up to date and reliable, we cannot guarantee its completeness, accuracy, or applicability to your specific situation. Therefore, we strongly recommend that readers seek guidance from their legal departments or qualified attorneys to ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations. Please note that we cannot be held liable for any actions taken or not taken based on the information presented on this website.

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