Filing a Wage and Hour Claim - Texas

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Does Texas have state overtime laws that are different from federal law?

Texas law does not provide for overtime. For that reason, only federal law applies in the state. There may be specific rules that apply to certain government employees, including police officers and firefighters.

Does Texas have a minimum wage that is different from federal law?

The Texas minimum wage is tied to the federal minimum wage, which is currently $7.25.

The Texas minimum wage provision only covers those employees not covered by the federal minimum wage. There are nonetheless some employees in Texas who are not covered by the federal or the state minimum wage:

Tipped employees are treated under state law the same way they are treated under federal law. In other words, an employer may pay a tipped employee $2.13 in cash wages as long as this combined with tips adds up to the minimum wage of $7.25. Whereas a person must make $30 per month in tips to be covered by this provision under federal law, the Texas tip credit applies to anyone making at least $20 per month.

Employers may deduct the reasonable cost of meals and lodging if the meals and lodging are customarily furnished and are stated separately on the earnings statement. Employers do not need to pay non-worked on-call time to employees who live on the premises and who generally on call.

Does Texas have meal and rest break requirements, unlike federal law?

Like federal law, Texas state law does not require employers to provide meal or rest breaks. If breaks of less than 20 minutes are provided, they must be paid.

How do I file a wage/hour or labor standards claim in Texas?

If your employer has not paid you wages you are owed, you can file a wage claim with the Texas Employment Commission. There is an elaborate procedure of investigations and hearings, described at http://www.twc.state.tx.us/ui/lablaw/pdlsum.html. The form for filing a wage claim can be found at http://www.twc.state.tx.us/ui/lablaw/ll1.pdf. If you are not happy with the outcome of the process, you can ask a court to review the case. If your wage claim is valid, you may be entitled to double the amount you are owed from your employer. If your employer is paying you below the minimum wage, you can also bring a private lawsuit.

What are my time deadlines?

Do not delay in contacting the Texas Employment Commission to file a claim. There are strict time limits in which charges of wage-and-hour violations must be brought. In order for the Commission to act on your behalf, you must file within 180 days after the date the wages were due for payment. However, as you might have other legal claims with shorter deadlines, do not wait to file your claim until your time limit is close to expiring. You may wish to consult with an attorney prior to filing your claim, if possible. Yet if you are unable to find an attorney who will assist you it is not necessary to have an attorney to file your claim the Commission.

How can I or my attorney pursue a claim in court in Texas?

If your employer has failed to pay you the minimum wage, you have two years from the date the wages were due to file a lawsuit to recover the unpaid wages. Your employer is liable to you for twice the amount you are owed in wages, and the court may also require your employer to pay your litigation costs and attorneys' fees. If your employer has otherwise failed to pay your wages under Texas law, you must go through the administrative process described in #5.

State Labor Agency

Texas Workforce Commission
Labor Law Section
101 East 15th Street, Room 124T
Austin, Texas 78778-0001
Phone: 800-832-9243
Fax: (512) 475-3025

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