While the experienced attorneys at WageAdvocates.com are not licensed to practice law in the State of Texas, we regularly work alongside a national alliance of overtime lawyers who can help workers in all 50 states, including Texas.
Texas Wage & Hour Attorneys
Our attorneys have already helped thousands of employees win back millions of dollars in stolen pay. We can help you and your co-workers, too. Just call our lawyers today or fill out our online contact form to get a free legal consultation. In a confidential consultation, we’ll discuss your situation, outline your rights and lay out the possible steps for going forward. If we can help, our dedicated attorneys offer their legal services on a contingency-fee basis; you owe nothing until we secure compensation in your case.
How Much Is Minimum Wage In Texas?
While Texas has its own Minimum Wage Act, the law simply replicates federal labor law. As the Texas Workforce Commission reports, the State just uses the federal minimum wage. That’s rate is currently set at $7.25 per hour, but if the federal minimum wage were to change in the future, Texas would be bound by law to adopt the change as its own.
Are there exceptions to the Texas minimum wage? State law defines two basic circumstances under which employers are allowed to pay sub-minimum wages.
First, the State’s Division of Mental Health and Substance Abuse is allowed to pay patients and clients who work for the governmental office a lower wage, depending on their “productive capacity.”
Tipped Minimum Wages
Second, employers can pay workers who make at least $20 in tips every month a “tipped” minimum wage. There isn’t one single tipped minimum wage defined by Texas law. Instead, employers will have to calculate the appropriate wage every pay period, taking into account the amount of tips the worker actually made during that period.
Let’s say you made $400 in tips, while working 38 hours for minimum wage at a restaurant in Dallas. To get started, we need to figure out how many tips you made per hour, by dividing $400 by 38. That’s $10.53 every hour.
Since you made more than $20 in tips for the month, your employer can take a tip credit, lowering your cash wage in proportion to the tips you made. The lowest your employer can go, however, is $2.13 per hour. That’s according to federal labor law, which Texas state law follows to the letter. In the end, your employer should pay you $80.94 in cash wages, since that’s 38 hours at $2.13 per hour.
But let’s assume that you made less in tips, $200, during the same 38 hours of work. That’s an hourly tip rate of $2.41. Your employer can not reduce your cash wage all the way down to $2.13 per hour. Why not? Because you didn’t make enough tips, on an hourly basis, to make up the difference between $2.13 and $7.25, the federal and Texas State minimum wage.
You’re Always Entitled To (At Least) The Minimum Wage
That’s the most important point to remember. Once combined with the amount of tips you made, your wage always has to add up to at least the minimum wage. Now let’s return to our example. You made hourly tips of $2.41, which is exactly how much your employer is allowed to subtract from the minimum wage. Your cash wage should be $4.84, which is $7.25 minus $2.41. And your next paycheck should be for 38 hours paid at a rate of $4.84 per hour, or $183.92.
Overtime Pay In Texas
The law in Texas on overtime wages is known as the Texas Payday Law. The provisions in this law are identical to the ones in the Fair Labor Standards Act, the federal law that governs overtime pay for millions of workers across the country.
According to federal and Texas law, most of the State’s workers are entitled to overtime wages for any hours worked over 40 in a single workweek (a fixed and regularly-recurring seven-day, 24 hour-per-day period). Work 41 hours in a week? You should be paid at your normal rate for the first 40 hours, but a higher rate for the 41st hour. Work 52 hours? You get normal pay for the first 40 hours and overtime pay for the remaining 12.
Overtime wages in Texas are paid as “time-and-a-half.” That’s 1.5-times your normal rate of pay. So if you usually make $10 per hour, your overtime wage should be $15 per hour, or 1.5-times your normal wage.
Overtime With A Bonus Or Commission
For most workweeks, that simple calculation should be enough to properly reach your overtime rate. But if you make a performance-based bonus or commission in a certain week, the amount of that extra pay may also have to be included in overtime calculations.
To take an example, assume that you worked for 46 hours, at minimum wage, in one week, but also received a performance bonus of $60. First, we need to calculate how much you would make without overtime pay. To do that, we’ll figure out your base cash wages, which would be 46 hours at $7.25 per hour, or $333.50. Then we can add the bonus, for a total of $393.50. Next, we can divide that number by your hours worked. That’s $393.50 divided by 46 hours, which is equal to $8.55.
Now we’re ready to calculate your overtime wage, which should be 1.5 times $8.55, or $12.83. Your first 40 hours will be paid at your normal wage, which in this example is the minimum wage, so we can multiply 46 hours by $7.25 per hour to get $290. The remaining 6 hours should be paid at your overtime wage, which we found to be $12.83 after we included the $60 bonus. To get your overtime total, we multiply $12.83 by 6 hours, to get $76.98. Putting it all together, you should be paid $366.98 in cash wages for the week.
Learn More About Filing An Overtime Lawsuit
It should be clear at this point that minimum wage and overtime laws can get complicated very quickly. That’s one source of wage theft. Some employers violate the law, stealing wages from their own workers, out of confusion. Others make mistakes in performing their calculations, inadvertently cheating employees out of pay. But some employers break the law intentionally, hoping to pad their profits at the expense of working families.
Any violation of wage and hour law is a violation of wage and hour law. Your employer’s intentions don’t matter. And we can help you get that money back. To find more information about pursuing back wages in a civil lawsuit, contact our experienced legal team now for a free consultation.