Texas labor laws help employees make sure they are not exploited by their employers. Companies have to follow these laws, and make sure they provide the wages and any other benefits to which employees are entitled.
What Is Part-Time vs. Full-Time in Texas?
Texas state law does not say anything about how many hours you have to work to be considered full-time. Your employment contract should inform you as to which kind of employee you are in the company. If it does not, then you should contact your company’s Human Resources department.
How Much Is Minimum Wage in Texas?
Texas minimum wage is tied to the federal minimum wage, which is currently set at $7.25 per hour. Employees who are tipped only earn $2.13 an hour for their minimum wage.
Overtime pay laws in Texas are not made by the state government, but are set by the federal government instead. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires that any hours worked over 40 hours per week be paid at a rate of time and a half. Professions such as executives, administrators, tipped employees, professionals and sales employees are all exempt from overtime.
Texas also allows mandatory overtime for all employees except for nurses and paralegals. With mandatory overtime, you can be asked to work as many hours as the employer asks.
Texas does not have state laws about any mandatory health benefits that employers must provide to employees. Rather, the only law in Texas requiring employers to provide any sort of health assistance to their employees is the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Under the ACA, everyone has to have health insurance or pay a penalty. Small businesses are not required by law to provide insurance to their employees. The ACA defines a small business as any that has less than 50 full-time employees. If you work for a company with more full-time employees than that, then the company is required by law to provide at least 95% of the full-time employees with health insurance.
Discrimination at any Texas workplace is illegal under federal law if it involves on sex, race, religion, color, national origin, age, disability, citizenship status, or genetic information. In Texas, there is an exception to discrimination wherein an employer can take something such as race into consideration in order to make the workplace more diverse. It is also against the law in Texas to fire or otherwise punish an employee as retaliation for filing a complaint about discrimination.
There are two options employees have when filing a complaint about discrimination. Employees can file a complaint on a state level with the Texas Workforce Commission — Civil Rights Division, or they can file with the federal government through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Each agency has its own time limit about when you need to file by. If you think you have been discriminated against, you should meet with a lawyer quickly so that you do not miss any deadlines.
Now, if you do not reach an agreement through an agency, then you have the right to sue your employer. Bear in mind that there are limits to how much you can get in terms of damages. Texas and the federal government have the same damages limits:
- 15 – 100 employees: recovery capped $50,000?
- 101 – 200 employees: recovery capped at $100,000?
- 201 – 500 employees: recovery capped at $200,000?
- More than 500 employees: recovery capped at $300,000
Texas does not have state laws governing an employee’s ability to take time off from work. However, like employers in the rest of the states, employers in Texas may be subject to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Not everyone is covered by FMLA, though. It only applies to companies that engage in business in multiple states and employ 50 or more full-time employees. If you employer is not required to adhere to the FMLA, then it is up to your employer what kind of leave they will allow for illness, disability, and pregnancy, and childbirth.
If you are covered by FMLA, then you have the right to take off a maximum of 12 weeks. That leave can be paid or unpaid, depending on what your employer wants to offer. You can take time off for an illness, to take care of a sick family member, or to take care of a newborn or adopted child. During the time you take off, your employer has to keep your health benefits up to date, and they cannot refuse to give you your job back when you finish your leave.
Where Can I Find a Local Employment Lawyer to Assist Me?
You should not just stand by if you think you are not getting the basic rights and protections offered by the labor laws available in Texas. Rather, you should get into contact with a Texas employment lawyer today if you are concerned about your rights.