The State of Texas Labor Laws & Overtime Provisions

Following FLSA Provisions

The Texas labor laws overtime provision strictly follows the rules set in place by the FLSA. While many states have created their own laws concerning overtime, Texas has chosen to rely on the rules set in place by the federal government.

Texas labor laws overtime provisions require that any employee who works more than 40 hours per work week should be paid one and one half times the regular rate of pay for every hour over the forty hour mark.

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What is Considered “Work Time?”

Texas labor laws overtime provisions clearly state that all time spent by an employee performing activities which are job-related is potentially “work time.” This includes the employee’s regular “on the clock” work time, plus “off the clock” time spent performing job-related activities (which benefit the employer).

Potential work is actual work if the employer “suffered or permitted” the employee to do it. An employer suffers or permits work if it knows the employee is doing the work (or could have found out by looking), and lets the employee do it.

The FLSA overtime rules also state that with only a few exceptions, all time an employee is required to be at the premises of the employer is work time. All regular shift time is work time. This includes “breaks” (if there are breaks), and “nonproductive” time (for example, time spent by a receptionist reading a novel while waiting for the phone to ring).

In addition, all time spent by an employee performing work-related activities that the employer suffers or permits is work time, whether on premises or not and whether “required” or not. Work done “at home” or at a place other than the normal work site is work, and the time must be counted. “Voluntary” work is work, and the time must be counted.

The Gray Areas of the Texas State Labor Laws & Overtime Provisions

While the Texas labor laws overtime provision is mostly black and white there is some gray area which leads to many misconceptions about overtime by both employers and employees. Employers may violate the Texas labor laws overtime provision by failing to pay their employees the proper hourly rate. This can occur by paying overtime at the same rate as straight time, versus time and one-half. It can also occur when the employer fails to include bonuses and shift pay in the employee’s regular hourly rate.

Other times employers may violate Texas overtime labor law provision include:

  • Failing to pay their employees for the total hours they have worked.
    • This may include failing to pay for time such as:
      • time spent cleaning equipment 
      • time spent putting on a uniform before work begins
      • break time
      • travel time
      • time you worked late without being asked to do so or work done at home
  • Getting “comp time” for working overtime hours in a work week (if you don’t work for a governmental entity).
    • A typical example is someone who works 55 hours in a workweek, and is told by their employer that they will give you 15 hours off the next week to “make up” for the extra hours worked. This is improper under the Texas overtime law. If you are non-exempt, you are entitled to be paid overtime for any hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week.
  • Employers frequently classify employees as exempt, when they are actually non-exempt.

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