On April 22, 2020, the Virginia General Assembly voted to approve Governor Ralph Northam’s proposal to increase the Commonwealth’s minimum wage to $12.00 per hour by January 1, 2023.
Lawmakers previously passed an increase to the state’s minimum wage during the regular legislative session that adjourned on March 12, 2020. However, the governor requested an amendment delaying the effective date of the increase in recognition of the economic stresses caused by the COVID-19 crisis. With the legislature’s acceptance of that amendment, the bill automatically becomes law without further need of executive action. The change will result in Virginia’s state minimum wage surpassing the federal minimum wage for the first time in the state’s history.
The minimum wage in Virginia will increase to $9.50 per hour effective May 1, 2021. On January 1, 2022, it will change to $11.00 per hour. As of January 1, 2023, it will change to $12.00 per hour. The legislation also includes provisions that could ultimately increase the state’s minimum wage to $15.00 per hour by 2026. However, those provisions must be reenacted by the General Assembly prior to July 1, 2024 for that to occur. If the General Assembly does not reenact the provisions by the July 1, 2024 deadline, the minimum wage will continue to increase after January 1, 2025, but at a slower rate tied to inflation.