Texas is one state that whose employment and labor laws are strict on employers with regards to paychecks. The Fair Labor Standards Act and the Texas Payday Law are examples of laws that regulate payment of wages in Texas. In order to enforce these provisions, the Texas Payday Law offers a process in which employees can file a claim.
If you believe that your employer has violated your rights under the paycheck laws of Texas, you may need legal action in order to obtain a remedy.
When Must Paychecks Be Sent Out According to Texas Law?
In the state of Texas, an employer must give the employee their paychecks for the hours worked at least once a month. The method of delivering the paycheck to the employee must either be in person by a check, or by mail if the employee has requested their paycheck. It can also be sent through direct deposit to the employee’s bank account the next business working day.
In addition, employers are required to post notices of pay periods in noticeable places in the workplace. If an employer does not name or list the paydays, the employer's paydays will be the first and 15th of each month.
What Happens to Your Paycheck If You are Fired in Texas?
In Texas, if an employee is fired or terminated, they must be paid a paycheck within the next 6 days, either by mail or by direct deposit. If the employee quits, they would then be paid on the next regular pay period with the other employees. If an employee is not paid on a payday for any reason, including the employee's nonattendance, the employer is required to pay the wages on another business day as requested by the employee.
In Texas, there has been no state law established that requires an employer to pay their employees any unused vacation time that the employee has not used on the employee’s final paycheck. Since there is no state law that governs this area, employers in Texas can establish their own procedures on what happens to unused vacation time when an employee is fired.
If an employer provides vacation benefits, they must include this agreement in a contract with their employees, or they must have a written policy in place. An employer may also put a policy in place or state in the contract terms that an employee may not receive payment for paid vacation time left after the employee resigns or is terminated.
Can Your Paycheck be Garnished Under Texas Law?
Under Texas employment and laws, if you owe a debt, your paycheck can be garnished. Wage garnishment allows an employer to set aside some of your wages, and to send them to be used for the payment of outstanding or unpaid debt. In most instances, the employer will forward the amounts directly to the court for processing.
However, Texas laws limit how much creditors can garnish of your wages to repay certain debts, including unpaid taxes, child support, or settlements. There are limits as to how much money in total can be garnished from your paycheck under Texas law. Generally speaking, you should have enough left to pay for living expenses after these wages have been garnished.
Creditors can sometimes take a portion of your wages or paycheck for unpaid debt. However, there are a few different types of debt where creditors are allowed to take more. For instance, creditors can garnish paychecks more than the limits set for the following types of unpaid debt:
- Unpaid income taxes;
- Court ordered child support;
- Student loans in default;
- Unpaid student loan debt; and/or
- Back taxes.
Can You Recover a Withheld Paycheck Under Texas’s Paycheck Law?
There are no events under which an employer can legally withhold a final paycheck under Texas law. Employers must pay the employee their wages due when the pay period has arrived, unless the certain situations apply.
For example, an employee who believes that their employer has withheld their paycheck for illegal reasons can file a wage claim with Texas Workforce Commission no later than 180 days after the wages were due. The employee can also choose to hire an experienced Texas employment lawyer to assist them in recovering their wages and paycheck.
What if a Texas Employer has Discriminated Against Employees?
Under Texas employment laws, employers are not allowed to discriminate against employees or future employment candidates. For instance, they cannot withhold a paycheck based only on an employee’s age, race, sex, gender, political affiliation, country of origin, and other characteristics.
This also includes an employee’s pregnancy status as well as any legally-recognized medical conditions or disabilities. They also cannot provide preferential treatment to other workers or groups of workers based on these characteristics.
Where Can You Find the Right Lawyer for a Paycheck Dispute in Texas?
If your employer has withheld an amount from your final paycheck, a Texas employment lawyer may be able to help. In Texas, you only have two years to file an unpaid wage claim according to federal law and getting help from an employment lawyer is critical part of the process.