Government of the Virgin Islands of the United States

Department of Labor

Labor Relations

About Us...


The Division of Labor Relations administers programs and activities relative to Fair Employment Practices and Labor Standards/ Mandatory Meal and Rest Periods, Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) complaints, Wage and Hour Claims, Labor Relations, Child Labor Laws and Plant Closing. The Division is also the intake unit for Wrongful Discharge Complaints, Sexual Harassment , and issues Child Labor Certificates.

The Division of Labor Relations also investigates and settles the following: Employment discrimination, Wage and Hour disputes, Plant Closings, and EDC Compliance issues.

The MISSION of the Division of Labor Relations is to provide protection of workers' rights while fostering a healthier productive relationship between labor, the private sector and the government while maintaining stability in our economy by monitoring the employment practices of employers in the territory.


FAIR LABOR STANDARDS/

The current Minimum Wage Rate in the U.S. Virgin Islands is $6.55 per hour. Time and a half of the regular hourly rate must be paid for all hours worked over 8 hours each day and for over 40 hours in any work week including any hours worked on the 6th and 7th consecutive day of work. In the tourist and restaurant industries overtime must by paid on the 7th consecutive day: the 6th consecutive day is exempted if the employee do not exceed 40 hours.

Every employer shall make, and keep for a period of not less than three years, in or about the premises wherein any employee is employed, a record of the name, address, and occupation of each of his employees, the rate of pay, and the amount paid each pay period to each such employee, the hours worked each day and each week by such employee, and such other information as the Commissioner shall prescribe by regulation as necessary or appropriate for the enforcement of the provisions of this chapter or of the regulations or orders hereunder. Such records shall be open for inspection or transcription by the Commissioner at any reasonable time.

The Virgin Islands Department of Labor Relations is mandated to conduct routine investigations to enforce these regulations. Any employer who fails to comply with the Wage Laws or interferes with an investigation of the Department shall be subject to fines and penalties in accordance with the Virgin Island Code. For more information, please view the Virgin Islands Labor Standards in detail.

MANDATORY MEAL and REST PERIODS

Certain employees are eligible to receive mandatory meal and rest periods by their employers except as otherwise provided for in a written contract or be a collective bargaining agreement. An employee may voluntarily agree to forgo any rest period or meal period. The employer has the burden of proving the existence of the agreement with the employee .Any violations of the Mandatory Meal and Rest Period must be filed, in writing, with the Department of Labor/ Division of Labor Relations.(see Mandatory Meal and Rest Period Form) For more information, please view the ACT NO. 6843 in detail.

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WAGE CLAIMS

Any employer who pays any employee less than the applicable wage rate to which such employee is entitled, shall be liable to such employee affected for the full amount of such wage rate. Any agreement between such employees and the employer to work for less than such wage rate shall be no defense to such action.

At the written request of any employee paid less than the wage to which he is entitled under or by virtue of this chapter, the Commissioner may take an assignment of such wage claim in trust for the assigning of the employee and may ring any legal action necessary to collect such claim.

Employees may file a Wage Claim with the Division of Labor Relations (see Wage Claim Form)


EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION

It is against local and federal law to discriminate against an individual in hiring, promoting or terminating because of race, sex, age, religion, color, ancestry, or handicap. (see Rules and Regulations for Title 24, Virgin Islands Code on Employment Discrimination)

The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) investigates discrimination cases that are filed after 6 months but within 180 days of an alleged unlawful practice of discrimination. The EEOC may grant an individual the right to sue in a court of law.

For more information please contact the VIDOL Equal Opportunity Officer at the St. Thomas office or the VIDOL Assistant Equal Opportunity Officer at the Church Street office on St. Croix. or

Employees may file a Charge of Discrimination with the Division of Labor Relations (see Discrimination Form)

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SEXUAL HARASMENT

Sexual Harassment is a form of sex discrminiation that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the VI CODE TITLE 24 CHAPTER 17. Title VII applies to employers with 15 or more employees, including state local governments. Title 24 Chapter 27 applies to employers with 2 or more employees. It also applies employment agencies and to labor organizations, as well as the federal government. Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harssment when this conduct explicitly or implicitl affects an individual's employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual's work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment. Sexual harassment can occur in a variety of circumstances.

This Chapter was recently amended ( See Act. 6829) by the VI Legislature and signed into law by the Governor on April 7, 2006.

For more information, please view the Sexual Harassment Fact Sheet or contact the Labor Relations division of the Department of Labor.

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WRONGFUL DISCHARGE

An employer may dismiss an employee:

  1. who engages in a business which conflicts with his duties to you or renders him rival,
  2. whose insolent or offensive conduct toward a customer injures your business,
  3. whose use of intoxicants or controlled substances interferes with the proper discharge of his duties,
  4. who willfully or intentionally disobeys reasonable and lawful rules, orders, and instructions of the employer,
  5. who performs his work assignments in a negligent manner,
  6. whose continuous absence from his place of employment affect the interest of the employer,
  7. who is incompetent or inefficient, thereby impairing his usefulness to his employer,
  8. who is dishonest; or
  9. whose conduct is such that it leads to the refusal, reluctance or inability of other employees to work with him.

An employee may also be terminated because of a cessation of a business or because of a general cutback in the workforce due to economic hardship. Any employee has the right to file a WRONGFUL DISCHARGE COMPLAINT with the Department, within 30 days after he/she is terminated, if he/she feels that he/she has been wrongfully terminated. You may be eligible for legal assistance. Please call (340) 774-6720 to inquire about your qualifications.

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CHILD LABOR CERTIFICATE PROGRAM

A CHILD LABOR CERTIFICATE must be obtained from the Labor Relations Division for any minor under the age of 18 but older that 13. Minors between the ages of 14 and 15 cannot work between the hours of 7am and 7pm during the school year, more that 3 hours a school day or 18 hours in a school week.

It is against the law for a minor to work in a hazardous occupation involving heavy construction work, the operation of power driven, metal forming, punching and shearing machines, the making of alcoholic beverages in bottling plants, electric and power generating plants, steam laundries, any quarry, the operation of power driven woodworking machines, spray painting or occupations involving exposure to lead or other hazardous chemicals, or any other business that is hazardous.

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PLANT CLOSING

Chapter 18, Title 24, Section 472 of the V. I. Code states that every employer who is closing a facility shall at least 90 days prior to the Plant Closing give advance Notification to the Commissioner of Labor, any affected employees, and if the employees are represented by a Labor Union to such Union.

"Plant Closing" means a permanent cessation or reduction of Business at a facility which results or will result as determined by the Commissioner in the permanent separation of at least 50 percent of the employees of said facilities within a period of six months prior to the date of actual or anticipated termination of Business or within such other period as the Commissioner shall prescribe, provided that such period shall fall within the six month period prior to the date of actual or anticipated termination of Business. Plant closing shall not include facilities which are closed under provisions of the Federal Bankruptcy Act, 11 USC 101 et seg., except for employers in reorganization proceedings and facilities closed due to physical calamity or natural disaster.

Within one pay period after termination the employer shall pay each affected employee a severance payment equal to one week's pay for every year of service. Severance pay for employees who have worked less than one year shall be prorated over a one-year period; provided that the union shall have the right to negotiate for additional benefits for its membership.

For more information, please view the Plant Closing Fact Sheet in detail.

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