Texas Overtime Laws
No matter how much you love your job, being paid is likely the reason you show up for work each day. If your employer doesn’t strictly adhere to wage and overtime laws, you may be losing money.
Any work performed beyond a 40-hour week is typically considered overtime. Most employees are entitled to compensation for overtime as provided by federal and state law. In Texas, overtime pays at one and a half times an employee’s regular rate. If you work in Texas, it important to become familiar with Texas overtime law. Otherwise you might be losing money.
The Effect of Federal Law on Texas Wages
You work in Texas, and are paid by a Texas business. However, federal law has a lot to say about your wage and overtime pay. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938 was created to provide a minimum standard for how employers across the United States must treat their employees.
In its current form, the FLSA regulates minimum wages, overtime, child labor standards, and recordkeeping rules. States are can provide workers with more rights and benefits than offered by the FLSA, but not less. Texas overtime provision strictly follows the rules set in place by the FLSA. Therefore, Texas does not have its own overtime law. Any questions about enforcement or violations of overtime would be a question of federal law.
Calculating Overtime in Texas
Under the FLSA and Texas Payday Law “employers must calculate the work week as a fixed schedule of a continuous, seven day, 24 hours per day schedule.” It does not have to be Sunday to Saturday. It can start on any day of the week and end seven consecutive days later.
State law says that an employee who works more than 40 hours in a workweek is entitled to compensation for the excess hours, either by:
- Allowing or requiring the employee to take compensatory time off at the rate of 1.5 hours for each hour of overtime (government employees only) or
- Receiving pay for the overtime at the rate of 1.5 times the employee’s regular rate of pay.
Employees Not Entitled to Overtime Pay
Federal law does not provided overtime pay to all classes of works. Those not covered by FLSA are known as exempt employees. These exemptions also apply in Texas. So if you’re paid an annual salary and earning more than a certain amount set by law, you are considered "exempt" and not covered by the FLSA. This means exempt employees are not entitled to overtime pay for working more than 40 hours in a week.
Exempt employees are typically salaried employees, seasonal workers, and those who earn more than a certain amount each year. Also, some jobs are considered "exempt" by definition, including the following:
- Railroads and certain airline employees
- Taxi drivers
- Delivery drivers paid on approved trip rate plans;
Comp Times Versus Overtime Pay
In Texas, public employers can pay non-exempt employees "comp time" instead of cash for overtime worked. When a public employer gives compensatory time to a non-exempt employee instead of cash for overtime hours, it’s on a “time-and-a-half basis”, with the following exceptions:
- After 240 hours of compensatory time in a year, non-exempt employees must be paid cash for any additional overtime worked.
- Public safety personnel, such as firefighters and police, are limited to a total of 480 hours of compensatory time before they must be paid cash.
If you don’t work for a governmental agency and you get “comp time” for overtime hours, your employer may be violating the Texas’ overtime law. For example, if you work 45 hours during the workweek, and your employer tell you to take 5 hours off the next week to make up for the extra hours worked, this is a violation of overtime law. You must be paid for excess hours worked.
Texas Overtime Law Summary
This chart highlights key provisions of Texas overtime law.
State and Federal Statutes
Overtime Calculation Methods:
Exempt from FLSA
Note: State laws are always subject to change. It’s important to verify the laws you’re researching by conducting your own research or consulting with a qualified Texas employment attorney.
Research the Law
If you have additional questions about wage laws in Texas, review the following links:
Involved in an Employment Dispute? Get a Texas Attorney's Help
Labor laws can be very complex and subject to change. If you believe that you have been denied over-time pay, you may want to speak with a Texas attorney who has experience in labor law. In addition to helping you navigate labor law requirements, the attorney may be able to help you recover damages you have suffered and lost wages caused by improper overtime reporting. Contact a Texas employment law attorney to learn more about your rights under Texas law.
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