Employees in the Commonwealth of Virginia who work more than 35 hours per week or 1680 hours annually are typically classified as having full-time status.
However, some Virginia employers maintain their own definition of full-time work. The Internal Revenue Service, in accordance with the Affordable Care Act, defines those that work an average of 32 to 40 hours per week, or an average of 130 hours a month, as full time.
Anything above 40 hours in a workweek is considered overtime for nonexempt, or hourly, workers. Salaried workers and part-time workers typically do not get overtime pay.
Full-Time Employment According to the Federal Government
Many people believe the Department of Labor defines full time in the US, but it does not. The IRS defines full time, as does the Affordable Care Act. Those working an average of 32 to 40 hours per week or an average of 130 hours a month are considered full-time employees.
However, this rule applies only to businesses classified by the IRS as an Applicable Large Employer (ALE). Businesses with fewer than 40 employees may not be under this classification.
Additionally, the Affordable Care Act defines full-time hours as at least 30 hours per week to determine a business’ employee count and whether it meets the 50-employee threshold. If it goes beyond that number, it is legally required to offer health insurance. The [Bureau of Labor Statistics](https://www.bls.gov/cps/definitions.htm#:~:text=In%20Current%20Population%20Survey%20(CPS,than%2035%20hours%20per%20week.) (BLS) defines full time as working at least 35 hours per week.
Requirement for Overtime Pay
No matter their hours, full-time employees must be paid the minimum wage when working up to 40 hours a week. After that, they are entitled to compensation for overtime. This can be time-and-a-half wages or compensatory time off, allowing workers to take time off that matches their overtime hours.
Until recently, Virginia did not have laws on overtime; instead, it followed the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) guidelines.
Part-Time Employment According to the Federal Government
While the IRS defines a full-time employee as an individual who works an average of 32 to 40 hours per week or an average of 130 hours a month, part-time workers are those who work an average of 30 hours per week or less and fewer than 130 hours per month.
The BLS defines part-time employees as those working between one and 34 hours a week.
Part-time employees typically do not get overtime unless they work more than 40 hours in a week, which they can do under some circumstances, such as covering a co-worker’s shift. Also, while full-time employees usually get benefits like paid time off, health insurance and retirement plans, part-time employees usually do not.
What Is Full Time Under Virginia Employment Law?
Virginia laws state that an individual is a full-time employee if they work at least 35 hours a week or 1680 hours annually. This does not apply to seasonal, temporary or contract employees.
The FLSA states that Virginia employees must get time-and-a-half for any hours over 40 worked in a regular seven-day workweek. Overtime laws have several exemptions, such as salaried workers and workers who make more than $455 per week.
What Is Minimum Wage in Virginia?
As of 2023, Virginia employers must pay workers at least $12 an hour. According to state minimum wage laws, this hourly pay will increase gradually—on January 1, 2026, it will be $15 per hour and on January 1, 2027, the Virginia minimum wage will be adjusted for inflation. The Virginia minimum wage rate will be adjusted every year thereafter.
Employers can pay workers enrolled in established on-the-job training programs or other types of training programs that meet specific state standards with a training wage that is equal to 75 percent of the Virginia minimum wage, or equal to the federal minimum wage, during the employee’s first 90 days of employment, whichever offers a greater rate of pay for the worker.
Wages and Pay Frequency in Virginia
In Virginia, workers may be paid in cash or via check made payable at face value upon demand. Employers can also pay wages through direct deposit or an electronic pay card.
Virginia employers must have regular pay periods for all workers. Salaried workers must get paid at least once a month, and hourly workers at least twice a month, or every two weeks. There are certain exemptions, for example, under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, these requirements do not apply to executives.
A business cannot make any deductions from a worker’s earnings without their consent, with the exception of payroll taxes or garnishments as required by law.
Requirement for Detailed Statement of Wages
If a worker requests a written statement of the gross wages they made during a specific pay period, with the purpose and amount of any subsequent deductions, the employer must provide it.
What Is the Virginia Overtime Wage Act?
The Virginia Overtime Wage Act (VOWA) became law on March 31, 2021 and went into effect on July 1, 2021. This law created new hour and wage requirements for workers in the state.
Before VOWA, the state did not have an overtime pay statute; it followed the federal Fair Labor Standards Act regarding hour and wage requirements. The FLSA protects workers via requirements for minimum wage, rules on overtime pay, hours worked, breaks and child labor laws.
FLSA Guidelines for Nonexempt Employees
The FLSA also offers guidelines for exempt and nonexempt workers. While exempt workers are mostly salaried, nonexempt employees under the FLSA must meet one or more requirements for overtime pay. They must:
- Receive hourly pay.
- Earn less than $35,568 a year or $684 per week.
- Not hold an administrative, executive or professional job.
Differences Between the FLSA and VOWA
While VOWA is similar to FLSA, there are some distinct differences. They both require eligible employees to receive time and half for overtime during a workweek and both laws exclude certain employees from overtime pay.
However, under VOWA, the definition of a covered worker is broader, which allows a worker normally exempt from overtime under FLSA to have eligibility in Virginia. The differences are:
- Calculating a worker’s regular rate of pay: While pay for nonexempt employees is calculated in the same way under both FLSA and VOWA, the regular rate of pay calculations for exempt employees differs. Per Virginia state law, the regular rate of pay for a salaried worker is 1/40 of their wages for a workweek, despite how many hours were worked.
- Statute of limitations: According to FLSA, the statute of limitations for overtime claims and violations that have not been paid is two years, if it was intentional, three years if it was not. Under VOWA, it it is three years in both instances.
- Available damages: FLSA allows for liquidated damages (employee payments for for overtime wage violations) that are the equivalent of the total amount of unpaid overtime wages. A business can defend against damages by showing they acted in good faith and complied with the requirements of the agency. VOWA does not allow for this defense
liquidated damages are automatic. Violations are subject to double damages, and if a business “knowingly” fails to comply with state law, they can face treble or triple damages. * Collective actions: While state law does not allow collective or class actions against an employer, there is an exception through VOWA, which allows workers to bring a private action to court collectively or individually.
Health Care Coverage in Virginia
Employers with fewer than 20 employees must provide up to a year of continued group health care coverage, according to the state’s health care continued coverage law.
This goes into effect upon termination of the worker or member’s coverage eligibility before they become eligible for benefits through Medicare or Medicaid.
If there is overlap between local, state or federal law, the business will generally comply with the law that most benefits the employee or gives them the most rights.
Minors in the Virginia Workplace
Minors in Virginia who work are subject to restrictions in their hours of work. What those restrictions are depends on the minor's age. Work hours are designed to ensure that the minor’s schooling remains their primary responsibility.
In the Commonwealth of Virginia, as in other states, these restrictions govern how many hours a day or week a minor can work. The most hours and days someone under 16 years old can work when school is out of session is eight hours a day, 40 hours a week, six days a week.
When school is in session, a minor in this category can work only up to three hours daily and 18 hours a week. At night, they are prohibited from working from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.; this changes to 9 p.m. June 1 through Labor Day.
A person over 16 years old does not have any restrictions on maximum hours of work.
Virginia Law on Termination
When it comes to terminating an employee, Virginia is an at-will state. This means, a company has the right to terminate an employee at any time, for any reason. There are some exceptions to this rule. For example, a worker cannot be fired if:
- They make a complaint or otherwise exercise their rights regarding a violation of health and safety laws.
- They refuse to perform illegal or criminal acts on the job.
- Employer violates public policy according to state law.
- They have an employment or union contract.
- Termination occurs based on age, disability, national origin, race, religion or sex.
When a business in Virginia experiences layoffs, it is subject to federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act guidelines. According to the Act, a business that has more than 100 full-time employees must give written notice to workers a minimum of 60 days prior to the commencement of any closings or layoffs.
Employer References for Virginia Workers
When a worker is no longer employed, their former employer cannot blacklist them. This means they cannot prevent them or attempt to prevent them from getting a job elsewhere.
The law does not prohibit a business from truthful statements about a worker, the specifics of their firing, or the ability, character and industry of a worker who voluntarily left.
- IRS.gov: Identifying Full-time Employees
- Healthcare. gov: Full-time employee (FTE)
- BLS.gov: Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey
- Bamboo HR: Compensatory Time Off
- Legal Match: Virginia Labor Laws and Lawyers
- Minimum Wage.org: Virginia Overtime Pay Laws for 2022, 2023
- Minimum Wage.org: Virginia Payday Frequency Laws 2023
- Patriot Software: Get the Facts on the New Virginia Overtime Law
- DOL: Wages and the Fair Labor Standards Act
- Minimum Wage.org: Virginia Child Labor Laws 2023
- VA Legal Aid: Central Virginia Legal Aid Society, Inc.
Michelle Nati is an associate editor and writer who has reported on legal, criminal and government news for PasadenaNow.com and Complex Media. She holds a B.A. in Communications and English from Niagara University.