What wage and payment rights do West Virginia workers have?

West Virginia law specifies the minimum wages that employees must receive for each hour worked, as well as how often they must be compensated.

There are laws in place at the state and federal levels that afford workers in West Virginia certain rights. Among these are the entitlement to receive a fair rate of pay for their time and efforts. Although a violation of these requirements may result in civil sanctions or legal disputes for employers, some may not uphold their obligations toward their employees. In order to ensure their employment rights are not infringed upon, it is vital for people to understand the state's wage and payment requirements.

Minimum wage

State law specifies the minimum rate of pay that West Virginia employers can pay their workers. As of January 1, 2016, the state's minimum wage is $8.75 for each hour worked. For the first 90 days of people's employment, however, employers can pay them a training wage of $6.40 per hour.

Employers are also permitted to pay employees who regularly receive tips an adjusted minimum pay rate. Tipped workers can be paid $2.62 for each hour of work, provided their average gross earnings, including any gratuities they get, equal the state's minimum wage.

Overtime pay

There are no limits on the number of hours that West Virginia employees can work in each day or week. Though, they must be paid an overtime rate for each hour they work over 40 hours in a given work week. The specified overtime rate is one and one-half times employees' normal pay rate. Failing to pay overtime may be considered a violation of workers' employment rights. Thus, they may choose to file a complaint with the Department of Labor or take legal action.

Payment requirements

With few exceptions, workers must be paid at least two times per month by their employers. Additionally, state law stipulates there cannot be more than 19 days in between each payment. Employees may be paid in cash, by cash order, by electronic deposit or transfer, or through funds deposited on a payroll card account.

Regardless of when the regular payday falls, workers who are terminated or who leave their positions must receive their final paychecks within 72 hours. In situations when employers do not comply with these payment requirements, employees may be entitled to their earned wages, as well as additional damages.

Working with a lawyer

While West Virginia employees are afforded certain rights with regards to their wages and payments by state law, not all employers comply with their obligations. Navigating the process of obtaining the pay they are entitled to, however, is not always straightforward. Therefore, those who feel they have not been paid appropriately may benefit from consulting with an attorney. A lawyer may explain the legal options, and help them determine which is the best course of action for their situations.