Virginia Minimum Wage Increases: Everything You Need to Know

richmond, virginia
If you’re a small business owner in the Old Dominion state, we know you’re eager to stay on top of current minimum wage rules. So we’ve put together this quick guide with all the info you need to know.

What is the minimum wage in Virginia?

The minimum wage rate in Virginia matches the federal minimum wage rate, which is currently $7.25 per hour. Some employees who are exempt from this minimum wage rate include:

  • Tipped employees, who may be paid a minimum cash wage of $2.13 per hour (employers may utilize a maximum tip credit of $5.12 per hour)

  • Full-time students, who may be paid no less than 85 percent of the minimum wage ($6.16) for up to 20 hours of work per week when school is in session

  • Any other employee who is exempt from the federal minimum wage under the Fair Labor Standards Act

Keep in mind that counties, cities, and towns may have their own minimum wage laws. Be sure to check what local wage laws may apply to you.

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Are there plans to change the minimum wage?

Virginia’s state minimum wage was last increased in 2009, when it was raised to $7.25 per hour.

Various bills have been introduced in the Virginia legislature in recent years that would raise the state’s minimum wage. Many of these bills would increase the rate to $10.10. Each bill has either been rejected by the legislature or is stalled in the legislative process.

What’s happening beyond 2018?

Because Virginia’s minimum wage matches the federal minimum wage, the state’s minimum wage rate will remain at the federal level unless state legislation is passed or the federal rate changes.

How should small business owners prepare for possible changes to the minimum wage?

Even if changes to the minimum wage aren’t on the horizon, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prepare in case they ever are. Here are a few options you may want to do:

  • Audit your expenses: Check your cash flow in detail and create a hiring plan you can afford. In some cases, you may find that hiring temporary workers as needed is less expensive than taking on full-time regular staff.
  • Make sure you hire and keep the right employees: Replacing an employee can cost a lot. You can decrease the total cost associated with recruiting and training when you hire (and then retain) the right people. Look for candidates with good track records, who come recommended, and who fit in with the company culture. Once the employee is onboarded, make sure you build a relationship and provide paths for employee growth; it makes it more likely that they will stay in their role.
  • Update tech: Consider automating certain aspects of the work (like payroll), and find ways to reduce production costs.

As always, to make sure your business is prepared and stays in compliance, you should discuss Virginia’s minimum wage laws with your accountant and lawyer.

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