Is Overtime Pay Required in Texas and Other OT FAQs

Is overtime pay required in Texas?

Federal law requires most workers to be paid at least time and a half their regular rate of pay for each hour they work over 40 hours in a week. Texas does not have its own overtime law.  Instead, overtime pay in Texas is governed by federal law, namely the Fair Labor Standards Act, or FLSA.

How does overtime pay work?

For the most basic example, an employee paid by the hour would take their regular hourly rate and multiply it by 1.5 for each hour worked above forty in a week.  Thus, if you are paid $10.00 per hour, and you work 60 hours in a week, you should be paid $10.00 for the first 40 hours, and $15.00 (one-and-a-half times your regular hourly rate of $10.00) for the additional 20 hours of overtime that you worked that week.  In other situations where an employee is paid per job or a salary, the calculation of overtime pay can be more complicated, and an experienced overtime attorney should be consulted to make these calculations.

Are all workers covered by the overtime pay law?

Most employees are entitled to overtime pay, but there are some exceptions under the FLSA.  Most workers who perform manual labor are entitled to overtime pay.  Many office workers are also entitled to overtime pay.  However, determining whether a worker is entitled to overtime pay can be tricky, and anyone who has questions about whether they are owed overtime should consult with an experienced overtime attorney.  For a more in-depth discussion on common overtime exemptions, see my blog post here.

What is my regular rate of pay?

Generally, this is a rather simple inquiry – an employee’s regular rate of pay includes an employee’s hourly rate plus the value of some other types of compensation such as bonuses and shift differentials. With a few exceptions (discretionary bonuses, holiday and vacation pay, etc.), whatever the employee is paid is included in their regular rate of pay.

What is my regular rate of pay if I am not paid by the hour?

You take the total amount of earnings (before deductions) that you are paid in a regular week without overtime and divide that amount by the number of hours you worked that week. That would be your regular rate of pay for that week.

 What hours are counted towards overtime?

Normally, you get to count all the time that the employer requires you to be present at the worksite, ready to work.  This would include training, safety meetings, time spent traveling from job-site to job-site, etc.

 Do I count the hours I spend waiting at the worksite as part of my work time?

Yes, if the employer requires you to be there during that time. Even if you are not doing any work at the moment, but are expected to be there waiting for the employer to get started or to fix some equipment or to provide with the more work, this counts as work time.

When does travel time count as hours worked?

Normally you don’t count your travel time between your home and your first worksite at the start of the day and you don’t count your travel time between your last worksite and you home at the end of the workday. But you do count as work time travel between one job site to another.

Does my employer have to keep overtime pay records?

Yes, every employer covered by the FLSA is required to keep accurate pay records showing all the hours you worked in each work week as well as all the earnings you were paid for that work week.

What should I do if my employer is not keeping accurate pay records or is requiring me to sign off on inaccurate records?

In this case you should try to keep as accurate records as possible of the hours you work and the pay you receive. Keep a daily calendar of the hours worked.  This will protect you in the event that you choose to bring an action later to recover your overtime pay.

What if I have already quit the job, was laid off or no longer work at the job where I am owed? Can I still recover overtime pay?

Yes. In fact many employees don’t feel safe trying to recover their back wages until after they have left the job. You can still recover your unpaid wages and damages. The important thing to keep in mind is that the FLSA only allows workers to go back two years (sometimes three) from the time they file their complaint; so any delay may cause the worker to lose some of the back pay he or she might otherwise be entitled to receive.