This post will guide you through employee leave laws for businesses and workers located in the state of Virginia.
Follow this guide to understand employers’ obligations for vacation time, paid time off (PTO), sick leave, parental leave, bereavement and more, along with state holidays observed in Virginia.
This page is intended for reference purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please see official government sources or consult a legal professional for actual legal advice.
Employers in Virginia are not required to provide vacation time (paid or unpaid).
Virginia leave laws do not specifically address Use It or Lose It policies, meaning employers are free to institute such a policy if they wish.
To be safe, employers are advised to make it clear in company policies and/or contracts any rules that will cause paid time off to expire or be forfeited.
PTO payout upon separation of employment (e.g. when an employee quits, is fired or is laid off), is not required by law in Virginia. Whether or not to pay out any unused PTO upon separation is up to the employer’s discretion.
Sick leave (paid or unpaid) is not required by law in Virginia. Employers are free to decide whether or not to offer this benefit in their business.
Besides any state laws or provisions written into employment contracts, employers in Virginia must comply with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which entitles eligible employees the right to take 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for serious health conditions, or to care for spouses, children or parents with a serious health condition.
The following official state holidays are observed in Virginia:
|January 1||New Year’s Day|
|3rd Monday in January||Martin Luther King, Jr. Day|
|3rd Monday in February||George Washington Day|
|Last Monday in May||Memorial Day|
|June 19||Juneteenth National Independence Day|
|July 4||Independence Day|
|1st Monday in September||Labor Day|
|2nd Monday in October||Columbus Day & Yorktown Victory Day|
|November 11||Veterans Day|
|4th Thursday in November||Thanksgiving Day|
|Day after Thanksgiving||Day after Thanksgiving|
There is no requirement to allow employees a paid or unpaid day off for state holidays, and employees required to work on state holidays are not legally entitled to extra compensation (such as higher pay or a compensatory day off), unless promised in their employment contract.
Maternity leave is not mandated by law in Virginia.
The FMLA, however, entitles new mothers to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for the birth of a new child, as well as the placement of a new adoption or foster, assuming they are non-exempt under FMLA guidelines.
Paternity leave is not covered by Virginia law either, but fathers have the same right to unpaid, job-protected leave of up to 12 weeks for the birth of their child, or a new adoption or fostered child.
Employers do not have to provide bereavement leave. It’s up to the employer’s discretion whether or not to provide this type of leave, along with whether or not it will be paid, and any other conditions.
Paid jury duty leave is not required in Virginia.
Employers must allow employees time off to serve their jury duty, and may not threaten, penalize or discharge them for doing so. But this time is not required to be paid.
Voting leave (paid or unpaid) is not required in Virginia.
Members of the Virginia National Guard, state local militia, or state defense force are entitled to up to five years’ unpaid leave, plus reinstatement rights, when called up to active duty.
Members of the Civil Air Patrol are entitled to up to 10 workdays a year of unpaid leave for training, and 30 days a year of unpaid leave for responding to an emergency.
Federal Law (the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)) applies in Virginia, which states that military service members receive up to five years of unpaid leave for military service, and upon returning, must be reinstated to the same position (or an equivalent position) as they had before their leave.
Anything not covered in Virginia state leave laws is up to the discretion of the employer, such as whether or not to provide paid sick leave or PTO, or whether PTO rolls over from year to year.
However, if any benefits are laid out in an employee’s contract or company policy, employers must comply with what has been agreed in that document.
For example, if an employee’s contract states that they are to receive 12 days of PTO each year, the employer is legally required to provide this, even though paid time off is not required by state law.