On July 1, 2014, the West Virginia Division of Labor’s new regulations interpreting the Wage Payment and Collection Act took effect. This employment related statute, which is enforced by the West Virginia Division of Labor, governs a variety of employer/employee issues, including the manner and timing employees are paid wages and fringe benefits. These new regulations replace the Division of Labor’s prior regulations that were issued in 1990 and reflect the Division of Labor’s current enforcement practices as well as the statutory amendments that have been made to the Act by the State Legislature.
The Division of Labor’s new regulations contain several notable differences from prior regulations:
- The 2014 regulations contain a new provision that requires employers that pay employees on specific dates of the month to pay the employees the day immediately preceding the regular pay day in the event that the employer is closed for business on the regularly scheduled pay day.
- The new regulations no longer provide an example of a wage assignment, but do specifically state that all assignments must “conform to the requirements set forth in W. Va. Code § 21-5-3(e) on the form approved by the Commissioner . . .” A wage assignment form nearly identical to the example previously provided in the 1990 regulations is currently posted on the West Virginia Division of Labor’s website.
- The new regulations contain both clarifications or additional definitions for a number of the Act’s key terms including “assignment of wages”, “garnishment”, “illegal deduction”, “net wages”, “pay period”, “wages due” and “work week”.
- The new regulations have been significantly reduced to six pages down from the fourteen pages of prior regulations largely as of result of deleting portions of the regulations that were redundant with the statute’s provisions.
- The wage bond related provisions in the 1990 regulations are now contained in a separate set of regulations that also went into effect July 1, 2014.
- The 2014 regulations outline the manner in which an employee can request assistance from the Division of Labor to investigate an employer’s alleged failure to pay wages.
All employers are encouraged to review of these new regulations as claims brought pursuant to West Virginia Wage Payment and Collection Act have become increasingly common against employers who often unwittingly violate the Act’s various wage payment provisions, including the requirement that employers pay all discharged employees within the shorter of either four business days or the next regularly scheduled pay period.
Should you have any questions regarding the wage-related obligations posed upon employers by the Wage Payment and Collection Act or any other employment or labor matter, please contact W. Scott Evans of Jackson Kelly PLLC at (304) 340-1246.