Wage and hour laws are responsible for telling employers how much time their employees can work and the wages they are to receive for their labors. These provisions can govern every aspect of employment, including how long employees may work and their ability to take paid time away from their jobs. It is vital for employers to know these laws so they remain compliant and keep from placing themselves in a potentially liable situation.
Minimum Wage in Texas
In Texas, the current minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, which is the same as the federal minimum wage. Federal law takes precedence in these matters, so most businesses may assume that their employees are governed under the federal guidelines found in the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Minimum Wage of Tipped Workers: The United States Department of Labor reports that Texas has adopted the federal guidelines for tipped employees. This means that tipped employees must receive at least a base wage of $2.13 per hour. However, in order to ensure that employees reach the mandated minimum wage of $7.25, they can receive up to $5.12 per hour from the employer in tips, meals and lodging.
Does Minimum Wage Apply to Me: Most employers in Texas are covered under the federal wage and hour laws found in the FLSA. The law covers all employers who are involved in interstate commerce, including the production, handling, selling and working on goods that have been produced or moved. Exemptions to the law include executive professionals, some farm workers, seamen, and newspaper delivery workers. Employers not covered under the FLSA are still governed by the Texas Minimum Wage Law. For more information about exemptions to the minimum wage rules, refer to the Texas Workforce Commission.
When Are Raises Required: Neither Texas law nor the FLSA dictates that employers give employees raises. Instead this is largely up to employers and their employees to decide the type and amount of compensation.
Work Hours in Texas
For the general workforce, there are no state or federal laws in place dictating the work hours of adults and youth age 16 and older. One exception to this is for retail workers. Under state law, full-time employees in this sector, or those who work over 30 hours in a workweek, must be given at least one full day off in each seven day period.
Paying Overtime: Both the Texas Payday Law and federal law mandate that overtime be paid for every hour worked past the 40-hour mark in a single seven-day workweek. The rate must be one and one half times the regularly received rate of pay. When the federal law does not apply, the state law goes into effect. While most employers are covered under the federal law and state law, exceptions do exist. For example, IT workers, nurses and outside sales representatives are all generally exempt.
Guaranteed Breaks and Meals: Neither Texas nor federal laws require employers to provide their employees with breaks for rest or meals. Nursing mothers are the only exception to this rule. Under federal guidelines, nursing mothers must be allowed time in which to express milk during the workday for the first year after the birth of a child. Otherwise, employers and employees must work out their own agreements on the matter.
Paid Time Off and Sick Pay: There are currently no federal or state laws that dictate that private sector employers offer paid time off or sick pay. However, workers and their employers are welcome to arrange agreements containing these provisions.
Notice Period for Employee Termination: Texas does not currently require any written notice period for the termination of employees. There are also no federal laws dictating the issue at this time.
Plant Closings & Layoffs: In Texas, employees are only covered under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act during plant closures and layoffs, as there is no state law. Under this act, employers must give employees at least 60 days’ notice before mass layoffs or plant closures occur.
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