Wage and Hour Laws That Texas Businesses Should Know

Texas companies that hire employees need to know about the various wage and hour laws that govern their businesses. These include both federal state laws concerning minimum wage, overtime, and other matters. Whether you’re a new business or an established one, retaining experienced legal counsel can protect your rights and interests.

Count on the dedicated representation provided by the Oracle Legal Group. Call us today at 832-291-2798 for a free business consultation.

The Types of Wage and Hour Cases We Handle

Hiring an attorney is the best way to defend your business against litigation over wage and hour issues. However, a lawyer can also help reduce the likelihood that a lawsuit is filed against your Texas business. We can review your ongoing practices, identify potential wage and hour violations, and assist with remedying them.

Our firm can specifically help you with the following matters, among others.

Minimum Wage

The federal and state minimum wages are currently $7.25/hour. Tipped workers may be paid $2.13/hour. But if the employee doesn’t make enough from tips to earn at least minimum wage, the employer must pay the difference.

It should also be noted that some Texas cities have enacted their own minimum wage rates. In Austin, for instance, employers must pay at least $15.00 per hour.

Overtime Pay

Employees must be paid overtime if they work more than 40 hours in a given week. Overtime is 1.5 times the worker’s regular hourly rate, which is why it is also known as time and a half. Exemptions to overtime exist, but they are rare and strictly applied. Employers are responsible for ensuring that if they claim an exemption it is allowed by law.

Every work week stands alone. Once the employee exceeds 40 hours in a week, they must be paid overtime. An employer cannot average hours across more than one week to avoid this obligation.

Not Paying Employees for Their Time

Some businesses are accused of failing to pay their employees for all time worked. Indeed, some employers try to evade wage and hour laws by asking or requiring their employees to work “off the clock.” For instance, an employee may be required to perform work duties before clocking in or after clocking out.

Although these tasks may only take a few minutes, these minutes can add up to substantial amounts of time. As a general rule, employers must pay their employees for any time spent performing their job duties. Requesting or demanding free labor can cause legal problems.

Concept of wage and hour compliance. Miniature working people with piles of coins.

Automatic Meal Break Deductions

Some employers automatically deduct meal breaks from an employee’s hours. But many employees are required to work or be “on call” during these so-called breaks. Unless an employee is fully relieved of his or her work duties, it’s not a true break. The employee has to be paid for time worked.

Independent Contractor Issues

Companies use independent contractors to accomplish tasks outside of their normal scope of business. Independent contractors are not entitled to certain wage and hour protections. This creates an incentive for employers to misclassify actual employees as independent contractors. There are several tests for determining the appropriate status, employee or independent contractor.

Employment Contracts

Many parts of wage and hour law are controlled by employment contracts. An employer may, for instance, choose to offer more beneficial paid time off benefits than the law requires. In this case, the contract can be enforced against the employer.

These are a few topics that may be covered by an employment contract:

  • Start and end dates of employment
  • Pay rates
  • Employee benefits
  • Pension and retirement plans
  • Promotions and advancements

How The Oracle Legal Group Can Help

If your business has been accused of a wage and hour violation, let us review the claims against you. We may be able to settle the lawsuit or government (e.g. Department of Labor) investigation out of court. Otherwise, we will present the strongest possible case on your behalf to a jury or administrative body.

Our goal is also to help businesses correct issues before they become lawsuits and investigations. We can take a look at your existing business operations and determine if there are wage and hour violations. Then, we can start fixing them.

Find out why so many Texas businesses trust the Oracle Legal Group. Call us today.

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Wage and Hour Laws That Texas Businesses Should Know

Wage and Hour Laws That Texas Businesses Should Know