Unpaid Wages in Texas
How to Submit a Wage Claim Under Texas Payday Law
Employees have a right to certain wages in Texas. When an employer fails to pay wages to an employee, the employer can face liability under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) or the Texas Payday Law.
Under federal and state law, employers have a duty to pay employees at least the minimum wage, to pay for hours worked, and to provide overtime pay in certain circumstances.
In addition, under federal law, if you take a permitted work break of 20 minutes or less, your wages cannot be docked for that time away from work.
When employers fail to abide by federal and state law concerning wages, they can be held liable through an unpaid wages claim. There are substantial penalties attached to unpaid wages claims in Texas.
Have you been searching for help with “unpaid wage Texas” to find out about employees rights under federal and state law? To learn more about unpaid wages and to file a claim, you should reach out to a Texas unpaid wages attorney as soon as possible.
Unpaid Minimum Wage
Unpaid wages in Texas harm employees, especially when employees are not paid the minimum wage. Minimum wage is set by federal law. States are permitted to have a higher minimum wage than the federal minimum, but states cannot go below it. Texas has the same minimum wage as the federal minimum wage: $7.25 per hour.
It is important to note, however, that this is the minimum wage for workers who are covered by the FLSA and are nonexempt. Exempt employees include, for example, those who rely on tips (and thus earn the minimum wage or more when tips are included).
Nearly all employees are covered by the FLSA in one way or another. Most immediately, employees can be covered under “enterprise coverage,” which means the employee either:
- works for an enterprise with at least two employees and has an annual dollar volume of sales or business of at least $500,000
- works for an enterprise with at least two employees and is a hospital, business that provides medical or nursing care, school or preschool, or government agency
However, other employees can be covered as long as they are engaged in work that regularly involves interstate commerce. Nearly all businesses, in some form, are regularly engaged in interstate commerce. Domestic service workers are also typically covered by the FLSA.
If you have not been paid the minimum wage, you may be able to file a federal or a state claim. Typically, the remedy for an unpaid wages claim is getting paid the unpaid wages amount. For example, if you worked for only $5.00 per hour for 10 weeks, you were underpaid by $2.50 per hour. The law allows you to claim those unpaid wages.
To determine the amount for which you may be eligible, you must calculate the amount by which you were underpaid. In this example, if you worked 40 hours per week during those 10 weeks, you would determine the number of hours you were underpaid (40 hours per week x 10 weeks = 400 hours), and then multiply that amount by the difference in the amount you were paid and the required minimum wage (400 x $2.50 = $1,000).
Texas unpaid wages include unpaid overtime wages. Unless an employee is exempt, she is required to be paid overtime pay for any hours worked beyond the 40-hour workweek. Salaried employees are an example of exempt employees, but there are many other types of workers who are not entitled to overtime pay.
If you have questions about whether you are entitled to receive overtime pay, you should discuss those questions with an employment law attorney in Texas.
If you are entitled to overtime pay, what are some of the reasons to file an unpaid wages claim? If you worked more than 40 hours in the workweek and were not compensated at least time-and-a-half for the hours worked beyond 40, then you may be eligible to file an unpaid overtime wages claim. For example, say you earn $10.00 per hour and are entitled to overtime wages (in other words, you are covered by the FLSA and are not exempt).
Then, imagine you worked 50 hours in a week, but you were only paid $10.00 per hour for all of those hours. You could be entitled to receive 50 percent of your hourly pay rate for the hours worked beyond 40. In this scenario, you would be entitled to an additional $5.00 per hour beyond 40 worked, or 10 additional hours ($5.00 x 10 hours = $50.00).
Common Wage Violations in Texas
Under federal and state law, you may be entitled to hours worked prior to clocking in, as well as certain commissions or bonuses. In addition, employers in Texas are not allowed to deduct certain costs or expenses from your paycheck.
If you had the cost of a uniform, for example, deducted from your paycheck, you also may be eligible to file an unpaid wages claim. And if you were not paid for a short rest break of 20 minutes or less, you also may be entitled to pay for that time period.
Meals and Rest Breaks
It is important to reiterate that neither federal nor Texas law requires that an employee is paid for meal breaks. As such, if you take a meal break of 30 minutes or an hour (any period longer than 20 minutes), you do not have to be paid for this meal break period.
However, there is a catch: if your employer required you to do any work at all during your meal break, then it may in fact be compensable time.
Contact a Texas Unpaid Wages Attorney to Get Back the Money You Earned
To file an unpaid wages claim in Texas, you should speak with a Texas employment lawyer as soon as possible. Employers are required to pay certain wages, and employees have rights to be paid for the hours they have worked. Contact Lindquist Wood Edwards LLP for more information about how we can assist with your case.