Overtime in Texas – Protected by FLSA Overtime Law
State of Texas Overtime Laws & Exemptions
When an employee works overtime in Texas, he/she has a legal right under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to be compensated if that employee is not otherwise exempt. Almost all hourly employees and many salaried employees are entitled to be paid overtime in Texas. Some employers choose not to pay by falsely labeling their workers as exempt, while others just do not understand the law.
- Employers in Texas are required by both federal and state laws to protect employee rights.
- Employees in Texas are protected by both the Texas Labor Code and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
- The FLSA defines “overtime” as working over 40 hours in a workweek.
- Overtime in Texas pays 1.5 times an employees’ regular hourly rate.
- There are few overtime exemptions in Texas, which follow federal law.
- Some salaried employees can still receive overtime pay.
- Employees classified as “non-exempt” are entitled to receive overtime pay.
- How and how much you are paid, and what your job duties are in most cases determines your exemption status.
- Employees are protected under the FLSA against retaliation for asserting an overtime claim.
The FLSA sets a standard for most of the United States for overtime pay. Regarding overtime in Texas, state overtime laws may vary as each state may set its own guidelines for determining who is and who is not exempt from overtime pay – sometimes providing greater rights than federal law.
But the rate of overtime pay is the same across the board at 1.5 times the employee’s regular hourly wage, with overtime being any hours worked over a 40 hour workweek.
Am I Exempt From Receiving Overtime Pay in Texas?
In most cases, proper classification of employee job duties to determine exemption status depends on:
- how much they are paid,
- how they are paid, and
- what their job duties/responsibilities are.
While there are exceptions, typically, to be exempt an employee must meet 3 tests:
- be paid at least $455*/per week
- be paid on a salaried basis, and
- perform exempt job duties.
The three most common exempt job titles are “executive”, “professional” and “administrative.”
The overtime attorneys at the Lore Law Firm receive and answer many questions concerning employee rights, and oftentimes these answers lead to other possible cases these employees may have against their employer.
Examples of Texas Overtime Cases
One Letter Asked:
“I work in the state of Texas and I am a salaried employee. Sometimes I have worked my 40 hours before the week has ended. My employer requires us to come in and work at least 1 hour on that Friday. If we do not come in we have to take a vacation day. Is that legal?”
* The Department of Labor under the Obama Administration increased this salary amount to $913 per week effective 12/1/2016; however, this increase was blocked by a court ruling. The Trump Administration is now reconsidering these changes and appears to favor a lower minimum salary amount. Please see this page for the latest updates.
The short answer to your question is – it is probably legal. The U.S. Department of Labor has stated that it is permissible for an employer to provide vacation time and later require that it be taken on a specific day or in a specific way. According to the DOL, a private employer may direct exempt staff to take vacation or debit their leave bank account, whether for a full or partial day’s absence, provided the employees receive in payment an amount equal to their guaranteed salary.
An employer may also require exempt employees to use accrued vacation time for any absence, without affecting their exempt status, provided that the employees receive a payment in an amount equal to their guaranteed salary.
Under both Texas and federal wage and hour laws (the FLSA), merely being “salaried” does not, however, mean you are an exempt employee and not entitled to overtime pay for hours worked in excess of 40 per week. The first issue is to determine your proper classification – either “exempt” or “non-exempt”.
In the rest of our response, we explained the basics covering overtime in Texas, illustrating to this particular employee that she could have a case in which her employer owes her back overtime pay.
If you have similar wage and hour questions, complete our Case Evaluation Form as much as possible and submit it. One of our overtime lawyers will be happy to help you evaluate your possible overtime claim.