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Overtime in Texas – Protected by FLSA Overtime Law

State of Texas Overtime Laws & Exemptions

When an employee works overtime in Texas, they have a legal right under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to be paid overtime pay 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 overtime 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 employee’s 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.
    • Job duties are typically what determine whether you are exempt or not.  Some exemptions also have pay requirements like requiring salary pay.
    • Employees are protected under the FLSA against retaliation for asserting an overtime claim.

The FLSA sets the federal standard for overtime pay. 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. 

For the most part, Texas overtime regulations follow the federal FLSA and require 1.5 times the employee’s regular hourly wage, for any hours worked over a 40 in a workweek.

Am I Exempt From Receiving Overtime Pay in Texas?

In most cases, whether an employee is exempt from the overtime laws depends on:

  1. how much they are paid,
  2. how they are paid (e.g., salary, commissions), and/or
  3. what their job duties/responsibilities are.

While there are exceptions, typically, an employee must meet 3 tests to be exempt:

  1. be paid at least $455* ($684 as of 1/1/2020) per week
  2. be paid on a salaried basis, and
  3. perform exempt job duties.

The three most common overtime exemptions are the Executive, Administrative, and Professional exemptions.

* 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. Instead, the Trump Administration only increased the salary requirement to $684 per week as of 1/1/2020. Please see this page for the latest updates.

Examples of Texas Overtime Cases

Question

“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 Answer:

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”.

If you have wage and hour questions, complete our Case Evaluation Form and one of our overtime lawyers will be happy to help you evaluate your possible overtime claim.