Wages and Overtime Pay
Minimum wage and overtime rules are found in the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Generally, state law can provide a higher minimum wage or greater overtime, but it cannot drop below the standards set by the FLSA. Texas employers are required to follow the FLSA and the Texas Payday Act. Some employers take advantage of their workers' lack of general knowledge of their rights and do not pay the appropriate wages or overtime pay. If you believe that you are not being paid fairly under these laws, you should contact an experienced FLSA lawyer. At Wiley Walsh, P.C., our Austin wage law lawyers are committed to workers' rights and may be able to help you recover any sums that you are owed.Rights Related to Wages and Overtime Pay
Texas has adopted the federal minimum wage rate, and as of 2009, that rate is $7.25 per hour. However, in some cases, a collective bargaining agreement may apply, and it may provide a higher rate of pay, although it cannot provide a lower rate of pay than what is mandated under federal and state laws.
The Texas Minimum Wage Act establishes the same minimum wage for nonexempt employees as the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, and it requires covered employers to give employees a written earnings statement that includes information about their pay. The law also provides certain rules for agricultural piece rate workers and exempts certain employers.
There are broad exemptions for minimum wage and overtime pay. You can be exempt if you are considered an executive, administrative, or professional employee and receive a minimum salary of $455 each week. However, employers are not allowed to simply contort a job description to avoid paying minimum wage or overtime. Specific tests are used to determine whether a position is an exempt or nonexempt job. In some situations, you may be entitled to minimum wage and overtime rules, even if you receive a salary. A wage law attorney can advise Austin employees on whether any of these rules is being violated.
However, under some circumstances, your tips or the value of meals and lodging could be counted toward the minimum wage. If you live on the property of your employer, you do not need to be paid for time that you spend on call in addition to any work hours that you are assigned.
If you are required to work more than 40 hours in a workweek, and you are nonexempt, you are entitled to overtime compensation for excess hours. Even if you are paid every two weeks and work under 40 hours during the second week, or you do not total 80 hours for a two-week period, you are still entitled to overtime pay for a workweek in which you worked each week that you worked over 40 hours.
Overtime is compensated at a rate of 1.5 times your regular rate of pay. The hours that count toward your workweek include most work performed. This may include work performed before you clock in or put on safety gear. It may also include any work that you perform on your lunch break, traveling between work sites once your workday starts, and any work that you do, such as cleaning up, after clocking out. It can include on-call time or time that you spend on mandatory trainings. You are supposed to be paid overtime, even if it was not pre-approved or pre-authorized.
If you are a nonexempt employee, and you do not receive 1.5 times your regular pay rate for your overtime hours, it is likely that your employer is not complying with overtime laws. You can sue to recover lost wages or overtime from two years prior to filing the lawsuit. IN some cases, you amy be able to go back three years. If you succeed in your overtime case, you can recover the wages that you were not paid, and you may be able to recover liquidated damages under the FLSA. Liquidated damages are twice the unpaid wages that you are owed under the FLSA.Explore Your Options with a Wage Law Lawyer in Austin
If you believe you have not been properly paid wages and overtime pay, you should consult an overtime attorney. Wiley Walsh, P.C. represents people in cities such as Austin, Georgetown, Round Rock, Cedar Park, Pflugerville, Leander, Del Valle, Kyle, San Marcos, San Antonio, New Braunfels, and Fredericksburg. Call us at (512) 271-5527 or complete our online form to set up an appointment with an Austin wage law attorney.