Virginia Makes General Contractors Liable for Subcontractor Employee Wages  

By Peter Fabris | June 1, 2020
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By Miljan Živković

A new Virginia law has made general contractors of large projects liable for the wages of subcontractors’ employees. The statute’s main provisions are as follows:

  • Makes the general contractor—and all tiers of subcontractors working on the project—contractually liable to pay their subcontractor’s employees’ wages
  • Requires payments equal or to exceed those required by applicable statutes, such as Virginia’s Minimum Wage Act and the federal Fair Labor Standards Act
  • Deems contractors to be the employers of their subcontractors’ employees for purposes of Virginia Code § 40.1-29, which imposes criminal liability and civil penalties for failing to pay employees’ wages when due
  •  Gives all employees the right to sue jointly or as a class action, imposes liquidated damages equal to the wage amounts owed, awards reasonable attorney’s fees, and—in cases of willful violations—imposes triple damages.

The statute applies to contracts entered into after July 1, 2020. It governs construction projects valued at $500,000 or more. The new law does not apply to single-family residential construction projects.
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