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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 paid at overtime rates. 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's important to become familiar with Texas overtime law. Otherwise you might be losing money for unpaid overtime.

The Effect of Federal Law on Texas Wages

You work in Texas, and are paid by a Texas business. However, both federal law and the Department of Labor have a lot to say about your wages 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 fewer. 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 wages 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 overtime rules apply to employees who work more than 40 hours in a workweek are 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 provide 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.

Overtime exemptions are typically for 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
  • Farmworkers

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 your job duties are not 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 are a hourly employee who works 45 hours during the workweek and your employer tells 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

The chart below are  lists the key provisions of Texas overtime law.

State and Federal Statutes

Overtime Calculation Methods

  • Hourly: pay time and a half over 40 hours work/week.
  • Hourly Plus Bonus and/or Commission: regular rate = (total hours times hourly rate) plus the workweek equivalent of the bonus and/or commission, divided by the total hours in the workweek; then pay half of that regular rate for each overtime hour.
  • Salary: regular rate = salary divided by the number of hours the salary is intended to compensate.
    • If the regular hours are less than 40: add regular rate for each hour up to 40, then pay time and a half for hours over 40.
    • If the regular hours = 40: pay time and a half for hours over 40.

Exempt from FLSA

  • The following class of employees are not entitled to overtime pay (partial list)
    • Railroad workers (most)
    • Truck drivers (most)
    • Outside sales
    • Salary Level Test (pay over federally determined wage)
    • Supervisory employee with management as primary duty

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 extremely complex and subject to change. If you believe that you have been denied overtime 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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