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If their injuries are serious enough to prevent them from working, injured workers in Virginia are typically entitled to wage-replacement benefits. However, the benefit payments only cover a portion of an injured worker’s average weekly wage.

Because the minimum wage in Virginia is so low, injured minimum wage workers have historically experienced serious financial shortfalls when receiving their weekly payments. However, recent cost-of-living adjustments to mandated minimum and maximum wage payments and increases in the minimum wage have worked in minimum wage workers’ favor.

Average Weekly Wage Calculations in Virginia

The workers’ compensation system is a detailed compensation mechanism that provides wage-replacement benefits in certain circumstances. To qualify for weekly benefit payments, an injured worker must be incapacitated for at least a week. In other words, wage-replacement benefits are not for workers who have minor injuries that heal relatively quickly.

Minimum Days of Incapacity

Injured workers can experience a total or partial disability that affects their ability to work. In such cases, these individuals are permitted to seek compensation for lost wages once seven calendar days have passed since their disability.

For example, suppose that a worker is injured and disabled on a Monday. They can start receiving wage-replacement benefits on the eighth day of their disability, which would be the following Monday.

Wage-replacement benefits are not available for the first seven days of a worker’s disability unless the worker remains incapacitated for more than 21 days. After 21 days of incapacitation, the worker will receive a payment for their first seven days of disability as well as payments for continuing days of disability.

Compensation Rates

Workers’ compensation wage-replacement payments are calculated using an injured worker’s average weekly wage based on the prior 52 weeks of work performed. For workers who have not worked for 52 weeks prior to their injury, comparative wage calculations based on the wages of similar workers may be used.

That said, keep in mind that the worker’s gross wage will be used. This number will include tips, overtime, and the pre-tax wage.

What is the minimum wage in Virginia? Minimum wage workers currently earn $12 per hour, which means full-time work of 40 hours per week would come to $480 per week, gross. However, workers’ compensation does not pay injured workers their full wages. Instead, workers receive two-thirds (66.6%) of their wages. Doing the math, you arrive at around $320 per week in wage replacement benefits.

The justification for paying less than full wage replacement lies in the ease with which workers may collect benefits. An injured worker need not prove liability to collect benefits. They simply must file a workers’ compensation claim. The trade-off for a streamlined compensation process is less wage compensation.

The minimum wage in Virginia is extremely low. For that reason, minimum-wage workers have historically struggled, both before they are injured and even more after an injury occurs.

Fortunately, Virginia law requires that all injured workers receive a minimum benefit payment, which is higher than some workers in the state make. Virginia has also implemented a graduated increase in the minimum wage that is mandated to reach $15 per hour by January 1, 2026.

Minimum Payments

Virginia law sets minimum and maximum workers’ comp benefit payments each year based on cost-of-living adjustment calculations. In 2025, the maximum amount a worker may receive in weekly wage-replacement benefits will be $1,343.00. To receive this payment, a worker would need to gross around $2,016 per week, which works out to about $50 an hour.

The minimum weekly payment for injured workers is currently set at $335.75, up more than $13 from the year before. This $335.75 is roughly $15 dollars more per week than an injured minimum wage worker would earn without state-mandated minimums.

How Often Do the Minimums and Maximums Rise?

Each year, the amount of compensation minimum wage workers receive in wage-replacement benefits should notably rise until 2026, when the minimum wage is scheduled to reach $16 per hour. At $16 per hour, a full-time worker would receive at least $640 in gross wages, which would translate to a weekly benefit payment of roughly $426.

What if You Have Multiple Jobs?

Many minimum wage workers have more than one job in order to make ends meet. When one of these workers gets hurt while at work, the following question naturally arises: “If I am injured on one job, will workers’ comp cover my pay from both jobs?” The answer is a complicated “maybe.”

Virginia recognizes that minimum wage workers often take on second and third jobs and understands that an injury from one job can prevent them from engaging those other jobs. Hence, the law allows injured workers to seek wage-replacement benefits for all jobs worked, provided that they are similar in nature to one another.

For example, if a fast-food worker is employed at two different fast-food restaurants, they should have no problem getting weekly benefit payments that cover both jobs. In contrast, if the fast-food worker has a third job as a roofer, the benefits would likely not cover the wages earned in the other industry.

What Are the Payment Lengths?

Wage-replacement payments cease at varying times, depending on the specifics of the injured worker’s case. Workers who recover from their injury will stop receiving benefits and return to work. Other workers, however, may continue experiencing a partial disability that is not likely to get better. In situations such as this, it is said that the injured worker has reached the “maximum medical improvement.”

Safeguard Your Rights

You have valuable rights as a worker, regardless of how much money you make. Knowing what you are entitled to is half the battle to safeguard your right to compensation for your injuries. Contact Commonwealth Law Group for a free consultation with experienced workers’ compensation lawyers in Virginia.

If you have been injured at work or through the negligence of another individual or entity, contact us at (804) 999-9999 or or use the form below to connect with our legal team. We will fight to get you the justice you deserve.