Laws about overtime pay can be confusing to workers who are trying to learn more about their employment rights. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) has a complicated set of rules about overtime exemptions. Those rules, along with court decisions from lawsuits, determine whether you are entitled to overtime pay. Other factors, like different kinds of pay methods, proper classification of your exempt or non-exempt status, whether you are an employee or an independent contractor, and other things affect whether or not you are owed unpaid overtime pay and, if so, how much you are owed. Understanding how your pay method affects your right to overtime wages will help you fight against unfair overtime payment practices. A qualified Texas overtime lawyer at Ross • Scalise Employment Lawyers can help make that process easier.
Two factors determine whether an employee on salary is exempt for overtime pay:
- Is the employee paid at least $684 per week?
- Does the employee perform the duties of an exempt employee?
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is the set of laws that determines if an employee’s position is exempt. If you are paid a salary but you do not have certain specific job duties, your employer has to pay you overtime pay if you work more than 40 hours a week.
It can be difficult to know if your job duties qualify your position for an overtime exemption. A great way to determine if you’re exempt from overtime as a salaried worker is to contact a skilled employment lawyer in Austin, TX and ask. The “duties test” can determine whether or not you fall under an exemption. There are three main categories of exempt job duties: executive, administrative, and professional. To find out more about your particular job, speak with an attorney.
If your employer pays you on a day-rate basis, as is often the case for an oil or gas field worker, you’re entitled to receive overtime. Your employer might mistakenly believe day-rate workers are exempt from receiving overtime, but this isn’t the case. For example, if your employer pays you a day rate and fails to pay you overtime if you work more than 40 hours a week, you have the right to make a claim for unpaid overtime.
Even if your employer pays you a day rate that’s significantly higher than minimum wage, it’s still obligated to pay you at least 1.5 times your regular rate for overtime hours. Contact a Texas overtime attorney to discuss your legal options if you believe you should be getting paid overtime as a day-rate worker.
Under the FLSA rules, tipped employees (those who regularly earn more than $30 per month in tips) must calculate overtime amount based on tip credit. Tipped employees include waiters, waitresses, bellhops, bartenders, bussers, counter personnel, and other employees who customarily receive tips. Tip credit describes an employer using an employee’s tips as a credit against its minimum wage obligation.
A common problem for tipped employees is illegal tip pooling. It is legal to require tipped employees to pool tips and then share the tips with other employees, but the tips can only be shared with certain categories of employees. If your employer makes you pool your tips, you should talk to a wage lawyer to find out if the employer is following the rules.
To calculate overtime wages as a tipped employee, the employer must multiply the minimum wage ($7.25 in Texas) by 1.5 and subtract an hourly tip credit of $5.12. $5.12 in tip credit is calculated by subtracting the minimum cash wage ($2.13) from the minimum wage. Therefore, when federal minimum wage is $7.25, employers owe tipped workers $5.76 per hour for overtime hours worked.
Most workers who are paid by the hour are entitled to overtime pay. Some employers will simply say, “We don’t pay overtime,” but the law, not the employer, decides who gets paid overtime. Sometime employers change timecards or deduct time for meal breaks that aren’t taken. Some may pay “straight time” for all hours. Some just don’t pay for all of the hours worked. If you are entitled to overtime wages and the employer knows or should know that you are working more than 40 hours a week, you should get all of the pay that you earn under the law.
Ross • Scalise Employment Lawyers | Texas Overtime Lawyers
Regardless of your pay method, you must understand the overtime provisions for your particular type of work. To determine that you aren’t cheated out of overtime, discuss your options with an attorney. The FLSA sets overtime exemptions, but many factors can contribute to determining whether your employer owes you overtime pay.
Don’t accept being shortchanged. Overtime violations are serious and could be costing you a lot of money. Ross • Scalise Employment Lawyers handles all facets of employment law, including overtime violations. You have nothing to lose by calling to find out whether you may have an overtime claim. Call our office at 512-474-7677 or contact us online for a case evaluation and more information today.