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West Virginia is one of the few states that has not passed a law to gradually raise the minimum wage. For small business owners in the state, this is an essential topic.
As an employer, it’s important to keep on top of these changes so you’re paying your employees what is legally required. We pulled together an overview of West Virginia’s current minimum wage laws, as well as some ideas about how to prepare for those costs.
What is the minimum wage in West Virginia?
The minimum wage in West Virginia is $8.75 in 2021, the same amount per hour as the previous year. As of the writing of this article, this is $1.50 more than the federal minimum wage. While many states increase the minimum wage in accordance with the cost of living or inflation, the last time West Virginia decided to increase its minimum wage was in 2016 when it went up from $8.00 to $8.75. To further understand the minimum wage in West Virginia, you can refer to the latest minimum wage poster.
There are a number of exceptions to the West Virginia minimum wage. Employers may be able to pay tipped employees less than the minimum wage if earned tips make up the difference. Student workers, part-time employees, and workers under 20 years old who are working for an employer for less than 90 days may be eligible to be paid less than the minimum wage. Lastly, an employer with less than six non-exempt employees working at the same separate, distinct, and permanent work location may be able to pay employees less than the minimum wage.
How is West Virginia’s minimum wage changing in 2022?
As of the writing of this article, there are currently no proposals that have passed to increase the minimum wage in West Virginia in 2022. As efforts to increase the minimum wage in West Virginia continue to be considered at the state level, it is not yet certain when and how the West Virginia minimum wage will change in the future.
How can West Virginia business owners prepare for changes to the minimum wage?
Even though it may not seem like there are any immediate plans to raise the West Virginia minimum wage, it is still beneficial to be prepared in case there is a change. Here are a few options you may want to consider:
- Audit your expenses: Check your cash flow in detail and create a hiring plan that 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. Think of seasonal work on a farm or peak golf season at a golf course.
- 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 to do the job. Look for candidates with good track records who come recommended and who fit in with the company culture. Once employees are onboarded, make sure you build a relationship and provide paths for employee growth; this encourages employees to stay with your business.
- Update your tools: Consider automating certain aspects of the work and find ways to reduce production costs. Automated payroll software, for instance, can cut down on the time you spend paying your employees, and the payroll features of the Square system make the whole process easier. It also includes small business pricing to fit small business budgets.
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