Texas Minimum Wage Act

Sean Modjarrad
September 13, 2011 — 1,781 views  
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In addition to federal laws regulating payment of wages,[1] Texas has laws and regulations that establish state minimum wage rules as well.  The Texas Minimum Wage Act applies only to employers and employees that are not covered by the federal Fair Labor Standard Act, commonly referred to as FLSA.[2] The Texas Minimum Wage Act excludes specific kinds of employees from coverage, including the following:

  • Those employed in executive, administrative, or professional capacity;
  • Outside salespersons or collectors that are paid commissions;
  • Domestic workers, babysitters, and live-in caregivers in a private home;
  • Clergy members and certain employees of religious, educational, charitable, or nonprofit organizations;
  • Prison inmates;
  • Close relatives of the employer;
  • Minors under 18 years of age who are not high school graduates;
  • Individuals under 20 years of age that are still enrolled in a high school, college, university, or vocational training program;
  • Individuals with a disability who are 21 years of age or under are in vocational rehabilitation, and participate in a cooperative school-work programs;
  • Employees of certain amusement or recreational establishments that operate seven or fewer months of the year; and
  • Individuals employed in dairy farming or the production of live stocks.

Similarly, employers that are not liable for payments or contributions to the Texas Unemployment Compensation Fund are also exempt under the Texas Minimum Wage Act.  Although the Texas Minimum Wage Act does not regulate overtime pay, the Act does have provisions addressing situations where an employee lives on the premises of a business, is assigned certain working hours, and also is on call for additional hours.  In these situations, the employer may not be required to pay the employee more than the number of hours the employee actually works or is on duty, based on the assigned working hours.

The Texas Minimum Wage Act adopted the federal minimum wage rate, and the Act also adopted the federal minimum wage rate for tipped employees.  The current minimum wage is $7.25 for regular employees and $2.13 per hour for tipped employees.  In computing wages paid to an employee, an employer is allowed to include the reasonable cost of furnishing meals, lodging, or both to the employee, if:

  • Meals and lodging customarily are furnished by the employer to employee; and
  • The cost of meals and lodging are separately stated and identified in the earnings statement furnished to the employee.

Generally, Texas and federal law require an employer to pay an employee overtime compensation for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a single work week; unless the employee is exempt from overtime wages.  Employees claiming that they have been paid less than the wages required by the Texas Minimum Wage Act may file a lawsuit against the employer within two years of the date the unpaid wages were due and payable.  In some situations, a class action lawsuit can be brought by an employee for him or herself and other similarly affected employees.  If an employee is successful in his or her lawsuit, he or she will recover unpaid wages, attorneys' fees, cost of lawsuit, and pre- and post-judgment interest.  Moreover, the employer will also be responsible for additional "liquidated damages" equal to the amount of unpaid wages.

If you have worked for someone and believe that your employer has failed to pay all of your wages in accordance with Texas and/or federal law, you should consult with a lawyer that is knowledgeable in Texas labor laws and the Fair Labor Standard Act.

 

[1] Nearly every state, including Texas, has passed its own wage and hourly legislation.  The Fair Labor Standard Act allows these laws, but employers covered by both state and federal law must follow whichever law is most beneficial to their employees.

[2] FLSA is the primary federal law regulating minimum wage and overtime payments, and despite a number f exemptions and rules that limit its coverage, the FLSA applies to a large majority of employers and employees in the United States.

Sean Modjarrad

Modjarrad & Abusaad (M&A) Law Firm

Sean Modjarrad is a shareholder and founder of Modjarrad & Abusaad (M&A) Law Firm. He is admitted to practice in State of Texas, U.S. District Court - Northern District of Texas, and U.S. District Court - Eastern District of Texas. Contact us at 972.789.1664, 1.866.789.1664, email us at [email protected], or fill out this online inquiry form for a free consultation.