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An overview of wage and hour laws in Texas

Wage and hour laws are in place at the state and federal levels. These regulations govern how many hours that people in Texas, and elsewhere, are permitted to work and the amount they are compensated for their time. By fully understanding these laws, employers can stay in compliance and avoid possible civil litigation or criminal penalties.

Under Texas and federal law, the minimum wage is set at $7.25 per hour worked. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, employers are able to pay tipped workers less than the minimum wage. They can pay those who earn at least $30 in tips each month a lesser hourly wage of $2.13. This is the case as long as their total earnings average the minimum wage.

Generally, there is no limit on the number of hours that people can work each day or in a week in Texas, and there are no federal regulations on the hours people work. If workers put in more than 40 hours in a week, however, they must typically be paid overtime. According to the Texas Workforce Commission, the state’s Fair Labor Standards Act requires employers to pay employees 1 1/2 times their regular pay rate for every hour over 40 hours worked in a week.

Although these laws are in place, there are a number of exceptions. The Texas Workforce Commission points out that wage and hour laws may not apply to inmates, workers at recreational or amusement establishments, domestic workers and certain salespeople, among others.

If employers violate state or federal wage and hour laws, it may give employees the right to take legal action against them. They could seek damages, including back pay. Therefore, it is important for employers to adhere to these regulations in order to avoid potentially costly and disruptive litigation. 

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