Employers in West Virginia should be aware that a minimum wage increase is set to take place beginning January 1, 2015. Beginning January 1, 2015, all employers in West Virginia, with six or more employees, will be required to pay their employees a minimum of $8.00 per hour.1 This is a $.75 increase from the present state and federal minimum wage rate of $7.25 per hour. 

The minimum wage increase will also affect employers paying tipped employees. Employers may receive a credit for 70 percent of the hourly rate of the amount paid to an employee who customarily receives gratuities.2 As a result, employers will have to pay tipped employees a minimum wage of $2.40 per hour beginning January 1, 2015. As before, employers paying their employees less than $8.00 per hour will have to provide the commissioner with documentary evidence establishing that their employees are receiving at least 70 percent of the minimum wage in gratuities or are receiving room and lodging, upon request. 

In addition to an increase in the hourly minimum wage, the revised Act states that after January 1, 2015, employers will be required to pay a minimum training wage of at least $6.40 per hour.3 Employers may only pay this lower hourly training rate to employees under the age of 20 and only for a cumulative period of not more than 90 days per employee, with limited exceptions. 

Employers should also be aware that this is not the last minimum wage increase put in place by the revised Act. After January 1, 2016, every employer in West Virginia will be required to pay his or her employees a minimum of $8.75 per hour. This is a $1.50 increase over current state and federal law. As a result of this change, employers paying tipped employees will have to pay their employees a minimum wage of $2.63 per hour beginning January 1, 2016. 

The Commissioner of the West Virginia Division of Labor has filed emergency regulations which will take effect on January 1, 2015, which relate to other portions of the same statute. These regulations are intended to clarify the statute and are currently being reviewed by the Division of Labor. Thus far, the proposed regulations do not modify the minimum wage rates discussed above.