ID

CNRE-135NP

Authors as Published

Scott Barrett, Associate Professor and Extension Specialist, Forest Operations. Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation, Virginia Tech

Introduction

Logging businesses are responsible for keeping their employees safe while on the job and paying them fairly according to Virginia and Federal laws. Logging business owners, managers, and employees should be aware of their responsibilities related to wage and hour rules and OSHA regulations as they apply to Virginia logging businesses. In Virginia, the Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI) is the lead agency related to wage and hour laws as well as workplace safety and OSHA regulations.

Wage and Hour Laws

Both Virginia and Federal laws govern payment of employees. These laws relate to minimum wage, overtime pay, as well as posting notices to inform employees of their rights.

Minimum Wage Laws

Virginia’s minimum wage is currently in a period of phased increases to $15.00 per hour with the following timeline:

  • January 1, 2022 until January 1, 2023 $11.00 per hour.

  • January 1, 2023 until January 1, 2025 $12.00 per hour.

  • January 1, 2025 until January 1, 2026 $13.50 per hour.

  • January 1, 2026 until January 1, 2027 $15.00 per hour.

Virginia’s law also notes that if at any point the federal minimum wage is greater than Virginia’s, then Virginia will adopt the federal minimum wage. Virginia does not require employers to display a poster related to minimum wage, but if an employer would like to post one, they have a minimum wage notice poster that can be used. It can be found at: https://www.doli.virginia.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Combined-Minimum-Wage-Update-Details-and-Notice.pdf

Overtime Pay

Virginia overtime law was updated on August 10th, 2021. Employers should note that with a few limited exceptions, Virginia law requires employers to pay employees one and a half times their regular hourly pay rate for working more than 40 hours per week. This also applies to most salaried employees. There are limited exemptions for salaried employees who are executives, officers, or administrators. The Labor and Employment Division of DOLI enforces the overtime law and their website has additional detailed information related to overtime laws. In addition, their website has more details on specific questions related to calculating overtime pay for unique situations such as salaried employees, piece- rate employees, tipped, and commissioned employees as well. https://www.doli.virginia.gov/labor-law/faqs-virginia-overtime-law/

Logging Recognized as a Hazardous Industry

Any employee of a logging operation must be at least 18 years old. Logging and sawmilling operations are classified as hazardous operations and minors under the age of 18 cannot work on logging operations. Additional details can be found in the code of Virginia (16VAC15-30-50). https://law.lis.virginia.gov/admincode/title16/agency15/chapter30/section50/

OSHA Logging Standards

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) employers are required to provide a safe workplace for their employees. OSHA covers the majority of employees with a limited number of exceptions. Those not covered by OSHA include those that are self-employed, immediate family members of farm employers, and workers who are regulated by another agency (for example mining) (https://www.osha.gov). In Virginia, OSHA is enforced through an approved state plan. The Virginia Occupational Safety and Health (VOSH) Program enforces a logging regulation that is identical to the federal OSHA Standard. https://www.doli.virginia.gov/vosh-programs/
This publication is not intended to cover specific OSHA regulations. The federal OSHA logging regulations can be found in a helpful logging e-tool at the following website (https://www.osha.gov/etools/logging). Additionally, the Virginia Logger Safety Checklist Booklet (https://resources.ext.vt.edu/contentdetail?contentid=1391) provides a complete list of federal OSHA logging regulations along with a helpful guide to assist logging business owners with meeting OSHA regulations including training for employees and customizable company safety policies.

Communicating Employee Rights and Protections Through Required Posters

Both Virginia and Federal Law require posters related to workplace safety as well as employee rights. The intention of these required posters is to communicate to workers about their rights and the protections available to them. These posters are intended to be posted in a conspicuous location where employees have the opportunity to read them. Finding a suitable location for posters on a logging operation can be challenging when job sites are outdoors and move frequently from one location to another. Many logging businesses have found ways to overcome these challenges by placing posters in places that are regularly utilized by employees such as a maintenance shop, an enclosed trailer used onsite for maintenance or storage, or other areas where the posters can be out of the weather yet visible to employees working on the job.

There are a number of posters that may be required depending on the type, location, and size of business. Below is a summary of posters that may be required of Virginia logging businesses based on the typical size of logging businesses in Virginia.

Job Safety and Health Protection - Outlines the requirements of employers and employees under VOSH for maintaining safe working conditions. Virginia_Occupational_Safety_and_Health_Poster_English_-August-2020.pdf.pdf

Reasonable Accommodations for Pregnancy – As of July 1, 2020, if employers have five or more employees they must provide reasonable accommodations for pregnancy. https://www.doli.virginia.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/OUTREACH_INFO_SHEET_PREGNANCY-DISCN-PROVISIONS_2020-07-17_FINAL.pdf

Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) – Minimum Wage (WH-1088) – Outlines employee rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act, including the Federal minimum wage laws. https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/WHD/legacy/files/minwagep.pdf

Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA) – This act prohibits most private employers from using lie detector tests for screening applicants or during employment. https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/WHD/legacy/files/eppac.pdf

Depending on the specifics of your business there are other posters that may need to be displayed if for example you have more than 15 employees, more than 50 employees, or are involved with federal contracting. A full explanation of required posters can be found at (https://www.doli.virginia.gov/request-a-poster/).

The US Department of Labor also has an online tool available to walk you through the process of determining required posters for your business based on your specific operation. You can access their FirstStep Poster Advisor through the following link. elaws - FirstStep Poster Advisor (dol.gov) Additionally, there are also vendors of commercial products that combine all possible posters into a single large poster to display at your worksite. These posters are often laminated and make it easy to display posters for all possible scenarios, however not all of them may apply to your operation or to your employees.

Example of Job Safety and Health Protection poster required to be posted on the site
Figure 1. Example of Job Safety and Health Protection poster required to be posted on site (Virginia_Occupational_Safety_and_Health_Poster_English_-August-2020.pdf.pdf).

A Summary of Logging Business Responsibilities Related to Wage and Hour Rules and OSHA Regulations in Virginia

Additional Resources

https://www.osha.gov/employers

https://www.doli.virginia.gov/

http://sharplogger.vt.edu/

This publication is intended as a brief overview of requirements for logging businesses related to wage and hour laws and OSHA regulations and to provide key contact information on where to find additional information. Laws, regulations, and interpretations can change quickly. For the most up to date and detailed information refer to the VA DOLI website at www.doli.virginia.gov or contact them at (804) 371-2327. Always refer back to the appropriate regulating agencies to determine if laws may have changed and what laws may be applicable to your specific operation.


Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, reprint, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.

Virginia Cooperative Extension is a partnership of Virginia Tech, Virginia State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments. Its programs and employment are open to all, regardless of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, military status, or any other basis protected by law.

Publication Date

December 21, 2021