With the exception of mandatory breaks for some minors, Virginia follows the labor guidelines of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. Employees may be exempt from overtime requirements if they meet certain title, salary and pay requirements. Employers can't dock the pay of these salaried employees except in very specific circumstances.
Virginia Labor Laws
Virginia labor laws do not require employers to supply employees with paid vacation or sick leave. However, the state does require that employers pay overtime to nonexempt employees and offer periodic breaks to some minors. Virginia defers to the Fair Labor Standards Act requirements for overtime, which mandate that an employee be paid at time-and-a-half for any hours worked in excess of 40 a week. Additionally, Virginia requires that employees provide a 30 minute lunch break and a 15 minute rest break to employees younger than 16 years old who work a shift longer than 5 hours.
Salaried, exempt employees in Virginia are not covered by regulations regarding overtime laws. Virginia again defers to the Fair Labor Standards Act, which offers exemptions for five types of employees: executives, administrators, professionals, outside salespersons, farmworkers and computer professional. Professionals include creative professionals like artists or musicians. The category also includes learned professionals like lawyers, accountants, scientists, architects and doctors. Teaching professionals, including K-12 teachers and professors, also may be exempt.
Requirements to be Exempt
Just because an employee's title falls into a certain category doesn't mean that he's automatically exempt. Exempt employees must be paid at least $455 per week. They also must be paid a salary rather than being compensated on an hourly basis. The salary must be predetermined, fixed and not subject to fluctuations based the amount of work performed. That means that an exempt, salaried professional must be paid the same weekly salary whether he works 20 hours or 60 hours in any given week.
Docking Salaried Employee Pay
As a general rule, an employer cannot dock a salaried employee's pay. As long as the employee does some work, even ten minutes worth, he must be paid for that day. However, there's a few scenarios in which the Fair Labor Standards Act allows a Virginia employer to reduce pay. If the employee doesn't perform any work for an entire week or is absent for an entire day for a reason other than sickness or an accident, his employer may dock his pay. An employer also may dock pay as a penalty for breaking important work rules or committing safety violations.