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What does West Virginia law say about unpaid overtime?

On Behalf of | May 31, 2023 | Employment Law

When you report to your West Virginia workplace each day, you can expect a safe environment and fair wages. You might be one of thousands of people throughout the state who often work overtime. If you receive a paycheck and the overtime pay is missing, it’s understandable that you might feel confused and frustrated.  

You would probably ask your boss about the apparent discrepancy in your paycheck. If you’re not satisfied with the explanation you’re given, you might consider filing an unpaid overtime complaint. Before doing so, however, it is advisable to research exactly what West Virginia law says about the issue.  

West Virginia employers must pay time and a half for work over 40 hours 

In this state, your employer must pay you your full wage plus one half more if you work more than 40 hours in a single work week. If you receive your paycheck and have not received compensation for your overtime, you may have grounds for filing an hour and wages violation report. Not paying a worker overtime that is due is a form of theft.  

It’s possible that your check was missing overtime pay because of a clerical error. This is why it’s always best to ask your employer about it before you take the next step of filing a complaint. If your employer says it’s a mistake and immediately rectifies the situation, then there is no harm done. If, however, you bring the issue to your employer’s attention and he or she does nothing to correct the error, you may want to take things to the next level by filing a complaint.  

What happens to employers who commit hour and wage violations? 

It’s against the law to deny an employee overtime pay that is due. If your employer does this, he or she could face penalties that include substantial fines or up to one year in jail.  

If you wish to report a wage and hour violation, you can fill out the appropriate forms and mail them to the proper location. You can also hand-deliver your documents in person.  

State laws govern labor in West Virginia 

Your employer can’t decide to pay you overtime one week, then withhold it the next if you worked more than 40 hours. Be aware, however, that, in certain circumstances, minimum wage and maximum hour standards do not apply. Such laws are complex, so a worker should not assume overtime pay is due simply because he or she worked more than 40 hours.  

If you’re considering accepting employment with a new company, even if you have worked elsewhere in West Virginia, it’s always best to carefully review the wage and hour policies, in case an exemption exists wherein the employer does not have an obligation to pay overtime. If you believe your employer owes you overtime and hasn’t paid it, do not hesitate to reach out for guidance and support.