Virginia Labor Laws

Virginia Labor Laws

The Labor and Employment Law Division administers and enforces the laws of the Commonwealth that govern pay, assignment of wages, minimum wages, employment of children, the right to work, the human trafficking poster requirements, and certain other statutes that relate to the workplace. The Division also provides consultation services to the public concerning garnishments and other court orders concerning wage withholdings. Below are links to the statutes pertaining to labor and employment laws.

Wage Sharing Protection § 40.1-28.7:9. Prohibits the discharge or retaliation against an employee for discussing wage information to other employees.

Limitations on Amount Subject to Garnishment, § 34-29 of the Code of Virginia § 34-29. Maximum portion of disposable earnings subject to garnishment.

Notice of the Average Weekly Wage for 2023 § 40.1-28.7:8. Pertains to the prohibition of non-compete covenants for low-wage employees.

Anti Retaliation – Payment of Wage Claims in Effect § 40.1-33.2. Grants employees new rights in disputes with their employers over payment of wage issues.

Unlawful to Require Applicant or Employee to Pay for Medical Examination § 40.1-28 of the Code of Virginia § 40.1-28. Unlawful to require payment for medical examination as condition of employment.

Anti Retaliation – Misclassification Claims in Effect § 40.1-33.1. Grants employees new rights in disputes with their employers regarding disputes pertaining to their classification as an employee or independent contractor.

Virginia Code § 40.1-29. Time and medium of payment; withholding wages; written statement of earnings; agreement for forfeiture of wages; proceedings to enforce compliance; penalties. 

  • Pursuant to Virginia Code § 40.1-29.2, individuals who feel that they are owed overtime wages under the Virginia Overtime Wage Act should direct their inquiries and complaints to the United States Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division or pursue private litigation.
  • The minimum wage in Virginia is currently $12.00 per hour, effective January 1, 2023.


Who handles unemployment compensation questions?

The Virginia Employment Commission administers Virginia’s unemployment compensation program. A list of local offices and contact information can be located here. The Customer Contact Center can be contacted at 1-866-832-2363.

Who handles discrimination questions?

If the employee believes they have been discriminated against because of their age, race, sex, religion, national origin or disability, they may be protected by federal discrimination laws, and a complaint may be filed with 1) the Office of Civil Rights, Office of the Attorney General of Virginia, 202 North Ninth Street, Richmond, VA 23219 Phone: (804) 225-2292 Email:; or the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 830 E. Main Street, Suite 600, Richmond, Virginia 23219; phone (804) 771-2200.

Where can I find additional information on garnishments?

For further information regarding garnishments generally contact:
Virginia Department of Labor and Industry
Division of Labor and Employment Law
Main Street Centre
600 East Main Street, Suite 207
Richmond, Virginia 23219
(804) 371-3104 ext. 242

For further information about support income withholding orders contact:
Virginia Department of Social Services
Division of Child Support Enforcement
730 East Broad Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219
(804) 692-1900

Garnishment, Court and Administrative Orders

These instructions are to assist Virginia employers who have received court or administrative orders requiring the employer to withhold and send wages to satisfy an employee’s debt. These orders should be obeyed in every detail; failure to obey may be grounds for contempt of court. Section 34-29(c) of the Code of Virginia (1950) as amended, however, limits the amounts which may be withheld and provides: “No court of the Commonwealth and no state agency or officer may make, execute, or enforce any order or process in violation of this section”.

“Garnishment” is defined to be “any legal or equitable procedure through which the earnings of any individual are required to be withheld for payment of any debt.” Code of Virginia, Sec. 34-29(d)(3). This includes court orders not entitled “garnishments”, such as support orders.

“Earnings” are defined to be any “compensation paid or payable for personal services whether denominated as wages, salary, commission, bonus, payments to an independent contractor, or otherwise, whether paid directly to the individual or deposited with another entity or person on behalf of and traceable to the individual, and includes periodic payments pursuant to a pension or retirement program.” Code of Virginia, Sec. 34-29(d)(l).

“Disposable earnings” are defined to be “that part of the earnings of any individual remaining after the deduction from those earnings of any amounts required by law to be withheld.” Code of Virginia, Sec. 34-29(d)(2). The present garnishment order is of course not to be considered in determining “disposable earnings.” Note that many common deductions made for the benefit of or at the request of the employee are not required by law to be withheld.

Always be sure calculations of protected amounts are based on the current Virginia minimum wage rate. No employer may discharge any employee by reason of the fact that his earnings have been subjected to garnishment for any one indebtedness Code of Virginia, Sec. 34-29(f).

If an employee believes they have been terminated unfairly, do they have a legal right to challenge the termination?

Virginia is an employment-at-will state; this means the employer may terminate any employee at any time, for any reason, or for no reason. As a general rule, therefore, the employee has no right to challenge the termination. There are a few very limited exceptions. For example, an employee may not be discriminated against or terminated because he has filed a safety complaint or exercised his rights under OSHA law. Virginia Code § 40.1-51.2:1. Also, federal law protects employees from discrimination because of age, race, sex, religion, national origin or handicap.

Does an employer have to provide employees breaks or a meal period?

No, unless the employee is under the age of 16.

Are there any restrictions as to how many hours an employee can be required to work or when they may work?

No, unless the employee is under the age of 16.

You may pay for your inspection certificate invoice online. Accepted methods of payment include:

  • Check
  • Credit Card
  • Electronic Check (E-Check)
  • Electronic Transfer (EDI)
  • Money Order
  • Cash IS NOT accepted

If you wish to pay by credit card or e-check, you will need certain information from your invoice, including invoice number and the Virginia number (VA number) of one of the objects. The VA number can be found on the table that appears on the invoice. You will only need to provide one VA number, even if your invoice lists several object numbers.

For all other methods of payment, please follow the instructions on the invoice and the remittance form you received.

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