In another of the many new laws concerning employment, the 2020 Virginia General Assembly passed and the Governor approved HB 395 which will increase Virginia’s minimum wage from its current $7.25 per hour to $15.00 per hour by 2026. The increase is to occur gradually, with the hourly rate increasing to $9.50 on May 1, 2021, $11.00 on January 1, 2022, $12.00 on January 1, 2023, $13.50 on January 1 2025 and $15.00 on January 1, 2026.
The legislature also passed laws that increase penalties on employers who fail to pay proper wages. HB 123 creates a private cause of action against such employers. The employee will be entitled to recover the amount of wages due plus interest at 8% annually from the date the wages were due. If a court finds that the employer knowingly failed to pay wages, the court will award the employee reasonable attorney fees and costs and triple the amount of wages due.
If, during an investigation of an employee’s complaint regarding unpaid wages, the Commissioner of Labor and Industry has a reasonable belief that other employees may not have been properly paid, HB 336 authorizes the Commissioner to investigate the employer’s payroll practices and institute proceedings against the employer on behalf of any employee. HB 337 (SB 48) prohibits employers from discriminating or retaliating against employees for filing a complaint or participating in a proceeding involving allegations of unpaid wages.
Moreover, HB 689 requires pay statements to clearly reflect the number of hours worked if the employee is paid either on an hourly basis or based on a salary that does not meet the salary level threshold for an exempt employee under the FLSA.
Given these changes, employers should review their payroll policies and procedures to ensure that their paystubs are compliant and that they are properly paying their employees. Please contact us if you need assistance in this regard.
Feel free to contact us if you have questions about this matter.