Of all the states in America, West Virginia holds the distinction of being the only state to secede from its Confederate counterpart. As the Civil War was escalating, delegates from West Virginia counties held their own constitutional conference and decided they wanted nothing to do with the rest of Virginia.
Although this was certainly a sore point for many people, President Lincoln granted statehood to West Virginia. The matter was ultimately settled by the US Supreme Court and West Virginia was welcomed into the union in 1863.
Today that independent spirit persists throughout the state. West Virginia is one of the nation’s leading producers of coal and as such also generates an abundance of electricity for neighboring states. West Virginia labor laws follow the national regulations of establishing the minimum wage at $7.25 for a 40-hour work week with time and a half for any work over 40 hours.
West Virginia Labor Law Breaks
West Virginia does not require that employees be given extra, shorter break hours, although it does have regulations detailing the working meal/lunch breaks that must be provided to employees. Information on West Virginia’s meal period requirements can be found on this page. In West Virginia, anyone working more than six hours straight is required to take a 20-minute break. The rest period law in West Virginia is applied to all employers. Employees must work through a meal hour during which they are not allowed to take breaks or have lunch.
West Virginia Child Labor Law
West Virginia has broken up the regulations for their child labor laws based on the age of the worker. No minors under the age of 12 are permitted to work. At 13, a minor can work as a babysitter, in newspaper delivery, at a family-owned business, or on a farm. No work permit is required.
For teens 14-15, a work permit is required for them to be employed but they are prohibited from working at any business where the main function is to serve alcohol, such as a bar. During school, these workers can only work three hours per day and only up to 18 per week. They aren’t allowed to work during normal school hours.
With 16-17-year-olds, they can work unrestricted hours but should have proof of their age provided to their employer. Although they are allowed to participate in putting out forest fires, they are still restricted from working in hazardous occupations or businesses that sell liquor. Also, they are not permitted to work in a job that involves driving as the main function of the job.
West Virginia Maternity Leave Laws
The parameters of family leave in West Virginia follow the standards set forth in the Family and Medical Leave Act that was established by the federal government in 1989. According to the FMLA, any person can request up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave from work to deal with a new baby, new adoption, or new custody. If they opt to take all 12 weeks or any portion of that, they are guaranteed to be able to return to their jobs in the same position and salary.
The FMLA also covers West Virginia workers who need to take time off for short-term medical emergencies or educational requirements for their children. Any type of leave needs to be requested in accordance with company policy. A worker can’t just take off and they need to meet those qualifications of dealing with family matters.
West Virginia Final Wages Labor Laws
If an employee is fired in West Virginia, they are entitled to receive their final paycheck within 72 hours. If that employee quits or is lay-off because of cutbacks, then they are entitled to that last paycheck and any owed benefits to be paid by on the next regular pay or the last day of their employment.