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Blog banner for Virginia Paid Time Off Law

Virginia Paid Time Off Laws: All About Virginia PTO Laws

Employers in both public and private sectors observe paid time off (PTO) in Virginia. However, Virginia paid time off laws can vary and require employers to understand the regulations governing the rights and responsibilities of employers and employees concerning various types of leaves and vacation accruals.

This article explores the essentials of PTO laws, including the different types of leaves, vacation accrual systems, payment of accrued leaves upon termination, and more.

Virginia has several mandatory and non-mandatory types of paid time off. Employers must know these leave provisions, as they provide essential protections and rights in various personal and civic situations.

A) Virginia required leave

1. Family and Medical Leave (FMLA)

Virginia doesn’t have its own state family and medical leave policies, and it follows the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). According to the rule, every employer with 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius should allow employees to take up to 12 weeks unpaid leave in 12 months.

Employees can ask for leave under FMLA for specific family or medical reasons that include:

  • Birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a child.
  • Medical emergency facing an immediate family member.
  • Employee’s own medical emergencies or health issues.
  • Employees related to a member of the armed services can take up to 26 weeks of unpaid time off to attend to qualifying difficulties arising from a family member’s active military duty. It also includes caring for a service member with a severe injury or illness.

FMLA is in place to ensure that employees can take time off when they need it without risking their job security.

2. Jury duty leave

All employees working in Virginia have the right to serve on jury duty without repercussions from their employer. Employers cannot make an employee who serves four or more hours on jury duty work on a shift starting 5 p.m. on the same day or before 3 a.m. the following day.

Jury duty leave allows employees to fulfill their civic duty, and employers cannot terminate or penalize employees for taking jury duty leave.

3. Witness leave

Employees who testify in court as witnesses should be granted leave. However, when appearing as a witness when subpoenaed, employees should inform their employers beforehand. Witness leave can be compensated or unpaid, depending on the company policies.

Additionally, witness leave should not come from sick leave or any other type of earned leave. Virginia requires employers to grant witness leave, ensuring employees can participate in legal proceedings without jeopardizing their employment.

4. Crime Victim Leave

Virginia provides leave to employees who are victims of certain crimes and need to address related issues. Employers must allow employees who are crime victims to leave, although they can ask for proof from the concerned law enforcement agency. This leave can be paid or unpaid and may include:

  • Attending court hearings.
  • Seeking medical or psychological treatment.
  • Participating in law enforcement proceedings.

5. Military Leave

Military leave in Virginia offers job protection and benefits to employees who are members of the National Guard or reserves and are called to active duty or military training. Employees should be given the same positions, promotions, and other benefits when they return to work.

Additionally, members of the Civil Air Patrol can get an additional 10 days per year for training and 30 days per year for responding to duty. This ensures that these individuals can serve their country without adverse employment consequences.

(B) Virginia Non-Required Leave

1. Sick leave

Apart from the FMLA-mandated leave scheme, employers in Virginia are not required to offer either paid or unpaid sick leave. However, most employers choose to provide employees with sick leave as a benefit. If the employer offers, the sick leave policies can depend on their requirements and choices. However, employers must commit to the policies if offered as a benefit.

2. Vacation leave

There are no state-mandated vacation leave requirements in Virginia. Employers have full discretion to decide whether to offer vacation leave and the policies regarding these leaves. The provision of vacation leave, its accrual rate, and usage policies are typically determined by individual employers and may vary between employers.

3. Holiday leave

Virginia doesn’t mandate employers to provide employees unpaid or paid holiday leave. In the absence of any specific laws regarding paid holidays, paid time off for holidays is typically a matter of employer policy.

4. Voting leave

According to Virginia’s paid time off laws, employers should permit employees to take up to two hours of paid leave to vote in any federal, state, or local election. Employers may decide when employees take time off during their work hours.

5. Bereavement leave

Bereavement leave is not mandated by Virginia law. However, some employers in Virginia may offer this type of leave to employees in case a family member or loved one dies. Policies regarding such leave should be included in employee contracts and handbooks.

(C) Other Types of Leaves

1. Maternity, Paternity, & FMLA

Virginia provides provisions for maternity and paternity leave for new parents. Employers in the state must follow FMLA guidelines to provide eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for various family and medical reasons.

All eligible employees can avail of maternity or paternity leave in situations involving a child’s birth, adoption, or foster care placement.

This leave ensures that new parents, both mothers and fathers, can take unpaid leave to bond with their newborn or adopted child without risking their job security.

2. Military leave

Military leave in Virginia extends the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) provisions. It provides job protection and specific benefits to employees serving in the military or the National Guard. Employees called to active duty or training can continue getting health care benefits for up to 24 months during military leave.

Additionally, such employees can avail up to 5 years of unpaid leave for military service. Employers are generally prohibited from terminating or penalizing employees due to their military service.

3. Pregnancy disability leave

While Virginia does not have a separate pregnancy disability leave law, employees can still get leave for pregnancy-related medical conditions that may be covered under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Employers can provide pregnancy disability leave to employees for pregnancy-related medical conditions, such as complications or recovery from childbirth. FMLA ensures pregnant employees have job protection and access to necessary medical leave during pregnancy and postpartum.

What is the accrual vacation system of employers in Virginia PTO law?

Virginia paid time off laws do not mandate any accrual vacation system but are widely used by employers. Employers in Virginia have the flexibility to decide their methods of vacation accrual. It can be hourly, daily, weekly, bi-weekly, semi-monthly, or monthly, usually aligning with the company’s pay cycle.

Employers can also specify caps on vacation leave accrual in Virginia. All provisions addressing the payout of accrued, unused vacation on termination should be mentioned in company policies, contracts, and employee handbook. This means that individual company policies largely determine policies around accrual and payout.

What happens to Roll Over (Carry Over, Brought Forward) Leaves?

In Virginia, employers are not forbidden to use or lose the policy regarding the rollover (carry over or brought forward) of leaves. As there are Virginia paid time off laws regulation rollover, it’s at the employer’s discretion to decide whether or not to allow employees to carry over unused vacation leaves to the following year.

Each company can set its policy about carryover. To ensure that employees accrue only a few leaves, they can include rules or limits on how much leave can be carried over. Also, employers should encourage employees to take PTO regularly to balance rollover.

Payment of Accrued, Unused Vacation on Termination

In Virginia, the payment of accrued, unused vacation on termination is primarily governed by the policies set by individual employers as no specific state laws mandate the payment of new vacation time upon termination. Employers have full discretion to establish their policies regarding the payout of accrued vacation.

Employers can implement a “use it or lose it” policy to ensure employees must use their accrued vacation time within a specified timeframe or forfeit their unused days and receive no compensation upon termination.

Employers may set caps on the maximum number of vacation days employees can accrue. This approach aims to prevent employees from accumulating excessive vacation time.

Overtime pay in Virginia

Virginia doesn’t have state overtime law and follows the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) federal law for overtime calculation. The FLSA mandates that non-exempt employees who work more than 40 hours in a workweek must receive overtime pay at one and a half times their regular pay rate for each hour worked beyond the 40-hour threshold.

This rule does not cover salaried executive, administrative, or professional employees. While employers can set their own wage rates, they cannot be lower than the federal minimum wage, $7.25 per hour.

Breaks and rest periods in Virginia

Virginia labor law does not require private sector employers to provide their employees with specific rest or meal breaks. However, employers must determine break and rest period policies that ensure a healthy work environment.

The availability and duration of meal and rest breaks vary widely among employers. Many employers choose to offer breaks as a matter of policy, recognizing that providing employees with an opportunity to rest and eat can contribute to productivity and employee well-being.

Individuals under 16 must be offered 30 minutes break for every five hours worked. It is mandated by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

The FSLA and Virginia House Joint Resolution 145 mandate that employers provide unpaid break time and a suitable arrangement for breastfeeding or milk expression.

Virginia State Holidays for 2024

Please note that the holidays falling on a Sunday are observed on Monday, and those falling on a Saturday are observed on Friday.

Date

Holiday

Monday, 2 January

New Year’s Day

Monday, 16 January

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (3rd Monday in January)

Monday, 20 February

George Washington Day (3rd Monday in February)

Monday, 29 May

Memorial Day (The Last Monday in May)

Monday, 19 June

Juneteenth National Independence Day

Tuesday, 4 July

Independence Day

Monday, 4 September

Labour Day (1st Monday in September)

Monday, 9 October

Columbus Day & Yorktown Victory Day

Friday, 10 November

Veterans Day

Thursday, 23 November

Thanksgiving Day (4th Thursday in November)

Friday, 24 November

Day after Thanksgiving

Monday, 25 December

Christmas

Paid sick leave requirements for certain home healthcare workers

While Virginia has no provisions for paid sick leave in the state law, the Governor signed the H.B. 2137 resolution that took effect on July 1, 2021. This requires employers to provide paid sick leave to home healthcare workers who work, on average, 20 hours weekly or 90 hours per month. However, this rule excludes certain health workers who work 30 hours or less per month on average.

Employers are obligated to provide one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. However, the accrual of paid sick leave may be capped at 40 hours in a year.

How can Truein help with Paid time-off management?

Truein is a cloud-based time and attendance system that can streamline and simplify various PTO management aspects for employers and employees. Its robust time-off management features allow employees to submit time-off requests quickly and conveniently. Managers can review and approve leave requests using their smartphones.

Using Truein, employers can track PTO accruals for each employee based on company policies. This helps employees understand their accrued leave balances and plan their time off accordingly. It allows companies to set and customize their time-off policies to align with their specific requirements. 

Furthermore, it has advanced reporting and analytics features, allowing HR and management to gain insights into leave trends, employee utilization of PTO, and other relevant data. Learn more about Truein features here.

Conclusion

Employers in Virginia should be aware of Virginia Paid Time Off laws. Ensuring that employees are given rights per state and federal laws is essential. This guide provides comprehensive information on various types of leaves, accrual systems, and other provisions that impact the PTO in the workplace.

Truein can help employers update policies and regulations, ensure compliance, and create a fair and supportive work environment.

FAQs

1. Are use it or lose it policies legal in Virginia?

Virginia allows use-it-or-lose-it policies, which require employees to use their accrued PTO within a specified timeframe. However, employers in Virginia must communicate these policies to their employees through employment contracts and handbooks, ensuring compliance.

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