Nonpayment of wages; cause of action, penalties. (SB838)

Introduced By

Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) with support from co-patron Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Nonpayment of wages; private action; liability for payment of wages due under construction contracts; penalties. Provides that an employee has a private cause of action, individually, jointly, with other aggrieved employees as a collective action, or on behalf of similarly situated employees as a collective action, under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act against an employer who fails to pay wages to recover the amount of wages due plus interest at eight percent annually from the date the wages were due, an additional amount as liquidated damages, and reasonable attorney fees and costs. If the court finds that the employer knowingly failed to pay wages, the court shall award the employee reasonable attorney fees and costs and the employer is subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $1,000 for each violation. If the court finds that the employer's failure to pay wages was willful and with intent to defraud the employee, the court shall award the employee triple the amount of wages due and reasonable attorney fees and costs. The measure also provides that any construction contract entered into on or after July 1, 2020, shall be deemed to include a provision under which the general contractor and the subcontractor are jointly and severally liable to pay the wages due to the subcontractor's employees. If the wages due to the subcontractor's employees are not paid, the general contractor is subject to criminal and civil penalties for which an employer is liable for failing or refusing to pay wages. The measure requires the subcontractor to indemnify the general contractor for wages, damages, interest, penalties, or attorney fees owed as a result of the subcontractor's failure to pay the wages unless the subcontractor's failure to pay wages was because of the general contractor's failure to pay moneys due to the subcontractor. The provisions of the bill related to construction contracts only apply if (i) it can be demonstrated that the general contractor knew or should have known that the subcontractor was not paying his employees all wages due, (ii) the construction contract is related to a project other than a single family residential project, and (iii) the value of the project, or an aggregate of projects under one construction contract, is greater than $500,000. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Passed


01/08/2020Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/08/20 20104975D
01/08/2020Referred to Committee on Commerce and Labor
01/13/2020Impact statement from VCSC (SB838)
02/03/2020Impact statement from DPB (SB838)
02/03/2020Reported from Commerce and Labor with substitute (12-Y 2-N) (see vote tally)
02/03/2020Committee substitute printed 20106124D-S1
02/03/2020Rereferred to Finance and Appropriations
02/06/2020Impact statement from VCSC (SB838S1)
02/06/2020Impact statement from DPB (SB838S1)
02/06/2020Reported from Finance and Appropriations (15-Y 1-N) (see vote tally)
02/10/2020Constitutional reading dispensed (36-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/11/2020Read second time
02/11/2020Reading of substitute waived
02/11/2020Committee substitute agreed to 20106124D-S1
02/11/2020Engrossed by Senate - committee substitute SB838S1
02/11/2020Constitutional reading dispensed (40-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/11/2020Passed Senate (20-Y 20-N) (see vote tally)
02/11/2020Chair votes Yes
02/11/2020Reconsideration of passage agreed to by Senate (39-Y 1-N) (see vote tally)
02/11/2020Passed by temporarily
02/11/2020Engrossment reconsidered by Senate (40-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/11/2020Reading of amendments waived
02/11/2020Amendments by Senator Ebbin agreed to
02/11/2020Engrossed by Senate - committee substitute with amendments SB838ES1
02/11/2020Printed as engrossed 20106124D-ES1
02/11/2020Constitutional reading dispensed (39-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/11/2020Passed Senate (22-Y 18-N) (see vote tally)
02/14/2020Placed on Calendar
02/14/2020Read first time
02/14/2020Referred to Committee on Labor and Commerce
02/18/2020House committee, floor amendments and substitutes offered
02/21/2020Impact statement from DPB (SB838ES1)
02/25/2020Reported from Labor and Commerce with substitute (11-Y 8-N) (see vote tally)
02/25/2020Committee substitute printed 20109103D-H1
02/27/2020Read second time
02/28/2020Read third time
02/28/2020Committee substitute agreed to 20109103D-H1
02/28/2020Engrossed by House - committee substitute SB838H1
02/28/2020Passed House with substitute (52-Y 46-N 1-A)
02/28/2020VOTE: Passage (52-Y 46-N 1-A) (see vote tally)
03/02/2020Impact statement from DPB (SB838H1)
03/02/2020House substitute rejected by Senate (0-Y 40-N) (see vote tally)
03/03/2020House insisted on substitute
03/03/2020House requested conference committee
03/04/2020Senate acceded to request (23-Y 17-N) (see vote tally)
03/04/2020Conferees appointed by Senate
03/04/2020Senators: Ebbin, Spruill, Obenshain
03/05/2020Conferees appointed by House
03/05/2020Delegates: Carroll Foy, Kory, Fariss
03/05/2020C Amended by conference committee
03/05/2020Conference report agreed to by House (52-Y 45-N 1-A)
03/05/2020VOTE: Adoption (52-Y 45-N 1-A) (see vote tally)
03/07/2020Conference report agreed to by Senate (22-Y 18-N) (see vote tally)
03/18/2020Bill text as passed Senate and House (SB838ER)
03/18/2020Signed by President
03/19/2020Signed by Speaker
03/20/2020Enrolled Bill Communicated to Governor on March 20, 2020
03/20/2020G Governor's Action Deadline 11:59 p.m., April 11, 2020
03/23/2020Impact statement from DPB (SB838ER)
04/10/2020G Approved by Governor-Chapter 1038 (effective 7/1/20)
04/10/2020G Acts of Assembly Chapter text (CHAP1038)