As a rule of thumb, employees who work over 35 hours per week or 1,680 in a year can be classified as full-time in Virginia. However, other federal agencies and employers in Virginia may maintain their own definitions for the term.
Virginia State Law
The Code of Virginia defines a permanent, full-time employee as one that works a minimum of 35 hours per week or 1,680 hours a year. The law specifies that the employee must work 35 hours a week during the employer's business operations or for the portion of the year that the employee was hired on to work. However, Virginia law does not allow seasonal, temporary or contract employees to be classified as full-time employees, even if they meet the hour requirements.
Implications of the Definition
Virginia's definition of full-time is relevant to employees and employers for state laws and programs governed by the state, such as unemployment benefits, state tax credits, grants and worker's compensation. For example, Virginia requires an employer to carry worker's compensation insurance coverage if he has more than three part-time or full-time employees.
However, other agencies have different definitions for full-time status. For example, the IRS defines a full-time employee as one that works 30 hours a week. That means a Virginia employee that works 32 hours a week could be considered part-time by the state but may still entitled to health insurance benefits as mandated by the federal government.
Employers in Virginia often have different definitions of what constitutes a full-time employee. For example, West Virginia University defines a full-time regular employee as one that works at least nine months a year and at least 1,040 hours a year. An employer could define a full-time employee as one that works more than 30, 35 or at least 40 hours a week. Although employer definitions don't affect state and federal rights, they may affect employee eligibility for employer-sponsored benefits. Some employers may only issue paid holidays, vacation days or sick days to full-time employees. Other employees may accrue benefits on a prorated basis or not at all.
Based in San Diego, Calif., Madison Garcia is a writer specializing in business topics. Garcia received her Master of Science in accountancy from San Diego State University.