Texas overtime laws
Employment Law

A Comprehensive Guide On Texas’s Overtime Laws

| December 28, 2023

Howdy, folks! If you’re clocking in and punching out in the great state of Texas, you might be wondering about those Texas-sized overtime laws. Well, we’ve got your back. So, kick off your boots, grab a cold sweet tea, and let’s wrangle some knowledge about Texas overtime laws in this comprehensive guide.

What Are The Overtime Laws In Texas?

Howdy, folks! Down in the heart of Texas, where the cattle roam, and the stars shine bright, it’s essential to know your rights when it comes to overtime pay. So, grab your cowboy hat, and let’s mosey through the Lone Star State’s overtime laws.

The Basics of Texas Overtime Laws

You all might have heard the term overtime thrown around the corral, but what does it actually mean in Texas?

1. Defining Overtime:

Overtime is the extra cash you rightfully earn when you work more than 40 hours in a workweek. It’s like finding a nugget of gold in the Texas desert – hard-earned and worth its weight.

2. Who’s Eligible for Overtime:

Not every cowpoke gets to ride this Bronco. Texas overtime laws primarily apply to non-exempt employees. That means if you don’t meet specific exemption criteria, you’re entitled to overtime pay.

3. The Overtime Rate:

In Texas, when you put in those extra hours beyond the 40-hour workweek, you’re looking at an overtime rate of 1.5 times your regular hourly wage. It’s like a little bonus for your hard work.

Special Considerations Under the Texan Sun

But hold onto your Stetsons, folks, because there are some unique twists in Texas overtime laws:

1. Alternative Workweeks:

Some Texas employers can set up alternative workweek arrangements. This means they can pay overtime if you work more than 10 hours in a single workday, even if it doesn’t add up to 40 hours in a week. But here’s the catch – it takes an agreement between you and your boss.

2. Compensatory Time (Comp Time):

In the Lone Star State, you’ve got the option of comp time. Instead of getting cash, you can choose to take time off at the overtime rate. But remember, you can’t accumulate more than 240 hours (that’s six weeks) of comp time.

Exemptions: Who’s Riding into the Sunset?

While most Texans are entitled to overtime, there are some riders who can watch the sunset without worrying about extra pay:

1. Executive, Administrative, and Professional Employees:

If you’re wearing a white-collar hat, such as a manager or an office worker, you might be exempt. But it’s not just about what you do – there are specific salary and job duty requirements you’ve got to meet.

2. Agricultural Workers:

For the cowboys and cowgirls working the ranch, federal overtime laws don’t apply to you. Texas has its own rules for agricultural workers.

3. Commissioned Employees:

Salesfolk who make more than half their earnings through commissions are typically exempt from overtime laws.

4. Computer Professionals:

Tech-savvy Texans might be exempt, but they need to be making a pretty penny to qualify.

Getting Paid Right in the Wild West

Now, let’s talk turkey (or barbecue) when it comes to getting paid correctly:

1. Overtime Calculation:

Remember that 1.5 times your regular hourly wage? That’s the magic number. If you’re earning different rates for different tasks, the weighted average is used to calculate your overtime pay.

2. Breaks and Travel Time:

Navigating break time and travel time can be as complex as a Texas two-step. Regular breaks aren’t typically included in work hours, but if your break is less than 20 minutes, it’s considered paid time. Travel time depends on whether you’re on the clock for work or on your own time.

3. Docking Pay:

Employers can’t reduce your pay to avoid paying overtime. That’s a strict no-go in the Lone Star State.

4. Unpaid Overtime:

If your boss tries to hightail it without paying you the overtime you’ve earned, don’t worry. You’ve got two years (or three if it’s a willful violation) to lasso ’em back in.

Do You Get Overtime On Salary In Texas?

Howdy, hardworking Texans! If you’re putting in those long hours on a salary in the great state of Texas, you might be wondering if you’re eligible for that sweet overtime pay. Well, grab your Stetson, and let’s clear up the dust on this topic.

The Salary Showdown

You’ve probably heard the terms “salaried” and “hourly” employees. Salaried workers receive a fixed amount of pay, often on a monthly or bi-weekly basis, and this doesn’t change based on the number of hours worked. In contrast, hourly workers are paid by the hour and are typically eligible for overtime when they clock in extra hours beyond the standard 40-hour workweek.

The Exemption Game

Now, here’s the twist in the Texas Two-Step: Not all salaried workers are exempt from overtime pay. Being on salary doesn’t automatically mean you’re exempt, and your exemption status depends on a few key factors.

1. Exemption Categories:

There are three primary exemption categories: executive, administrative, and professional. To qualify for exemption, your job duties must fall within one of these categories.

Executive Employees: 

These are the folks in charge, like supervisors and managers. To be exempt, their primary duty must be management, and they need to customarily and regularly supervise at least two full-time employees.

Administrative Employees: 

Administrative workers typically handle office or non-manual work related to their employer’s management or general business operations. Their duties should involve exercising discretion and independent judgment regarding significant matters.

Professional Employees: 

This category includes jobs that require advanced knowledge in a field of science or learning. These employees need specialized intellectual abilities and must perform work that consistently involves discretion and judgment.

2. Salary Threshold:

There’s also a salary threshold in the mix. To be exempt from overtime, salaried workers must earn above a certain minimum salary level. In 2021, the minimum weekly salary to qualify as exempt under federal law was $684 per week, which equates to $35,568 annually.

A Potential Rodeo in the Works

Hold your horses, pardner, because there’s talk of change on the horizon. The Department of Labor proposed a new rule in 2019 to bump up that minimum salary threshold. If the new rule is implemented, more salaried workers could become eligible for overtime.

The Final Round-Up: Know Your Rights, Partner

Texas overtime laws aren’t as simple as a tumbleweed blowing down the road. They’ve got some peculiarities and exemptions, but one thing’s for sure – if you’ve put in the hours, you deserve the pay. So, whether you’re a ranch hand, a tech whiz, or a desk jockey, make sure you’re getting your fair share. And remember, when you’re navigating the wild terrain of labor laws, it’s always a good idea to saddle up and consult with a knowledgeable wrangler (a legal expert) for guidance tailored to your specific situation. Happy trails!

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nilanjana basu
nilanjana basu

Nilanjana is a lawyer with a flair for writing. She has a certification in American Laws from Penn Law (Pennsylvania University). Along with this, she has been known to write legal articles that allow the audience to know about American laws and regulations at ease.


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