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Employment law

Wage and Hour Division

The Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is committed to providing employers with the tools they need to operate in compliance with the variety of labor laws enforced by the WHD—including resources intended to provide employers with readily accessible, easy-to-understand information relevant to their rights and responsibilities under the law.

For example, the WHD offers employers (1) a complete library of free, downloadable workplace posters; (2) forms; (3) fact sheets; and (4) compliance assistance.

And the WHD’s Payroll Audit Independent Determination (PAID) program facilitates resolution of potential overtime and minimum wage violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The program's primary objectives are (1) to resolve such claims expeditiously and without litigation; (2) to improve employers' compliance with overtime and minimum wage obligations; and (3) to ensure that more employees receive the back wages they are owed—faster.

In Texas, employers are subject to both federal and state labor laws. The Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) enforces federal labor laws, including the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which sets standards for minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and youth employment. The WHD provides a variety of resources to help employers comply with these laws, such as free workplace posters, forms, fact sheets, and compliance assistance tools. Additionally, the WHD's Payroll Audit Independent Determination (PAID) program is available to help employers voluntarily correct potential overtime and minimum wage violations. This program aims to resolve issues quickly without litigation, improve compliance, and ensure employees receive owed back wages more promptly. While Texas does not have its own state-specific minimum wage law, it follows the federal minimum wage guidelines. Employers in Texas must adhere to the FLSA standards and can utilize the resources and programs offered by the WHD to maintain compliance.

Texas Statutes & Rules

Texas Labor Code, Title 2, Subtitle A, Chapter 61, The Texas Payday Law
This state statute is relevant as it outlines the requirements for the payment of wages to employees in Texas, complementing federal regulations such as the FLSA.

The Texas Payday Law regulates the timing and methods of wage payments to employees. It requires employers to post notices of pay periods, prohibits unauthorized deductions from wages, and outlines the procedures for recovering unpaid wages. Employers must pay employees at least once per month and provide a written earnings statement upon request. The law also establishes the Texas Workforce Commission as the authority for enforcing wage payment laws and handling claims for unpaid wages.

Texas Labor Code, Title 2, Subtitle B, Chapter 62, Minimum Wage
This statute is relevant for employers to understand their obligations regarding minimum wage standards in Texas, which work in conjunction with federal minimum wage laws enforced by the WHD.

Chapter 62 of the Texas Labor Code adopts the federal minimum wage rate by reference and applies it to most employees in the state. It also provides for certain exemptions and allows the Texas Workforce Commission to issue special provisions for disabled workers. Employers are required to comply with this minimum wage and are subject to penalties for non-compliance.

Texas Labor Code, Title 2, Subtitle A, Chapter 62, Section 62.051, Posting of Wage Rate Required
This section is relevant as it aligns with the WHD's emphasis on employers providing accessible information regarding wage rates.

Section 62.051 mandates that employers must conspicuously post a notice of the current minimum wage rate as established by the federal government. This requirement is in line with the WHD's provision of free, downloadable workplace posters and ensures that employees are informed of their rights to fair compensation.

Texas Labor Code, Title 2, Subtitle A, Chapter 61, Section 61.014, Wage Claim Procedures
This section is relevant for employers to understand the procedures for wage claims, which is pertinent to the objectives of the WHD's PAID program.

Section 61.014 outlines the process for an employee to make a wage claim with the Texas Workforce Commission. It includes the time frame for filing a claim, the investigation process, and the potential for administrative hearings. This process is designed to resolve wage disputes, similar to the goals of the PAID program, but at the state level.

Federal Statutes & Rules

Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) - 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq.
The FLSA establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor standards affecting full-time and part-time workers in the private sector and in federal, state, and local governments.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law that sets minimum wage, overtime pay eligibility, recordkeeping, and child labor standards for employees in the private sector and in federal, state, and local governments. The minimum wage is the lowest hourly rate an employer can legally pay an employee, and the FLSA sets this baseline. Overtime pay is required at a rate of not less than one and one-half times the employee's regular rate of pay after 40 hours of work in a workweek for covered nonexempt workers. The FLSA also outlines recordkeeping requirements for employers, which include maintaining accurate records of employees' wages, hours, and other conditions of employment. Additionally, the FLSA contains provisions regarding the employment of minors, restricting the number of hours they can work and the types of jobs they can perform. The Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the U.S. Department of Labor is responsible for enforcing the FLSA, including the investigation of potential violations and ensuring that employees receive back pay when owed.

Portal-to-Portal Act of 1947 - 29 U.S.C. § 251 et seq.
This Act clarifies and narrows the scope of compensable work activities under the FLSA, particularly with respect to activities performed before or after the regular work shift.

The Portal-to-Portal Act of 1947 amends the Fair Labor Standards Act by excluding certain activities from compensable working time under the FLSA. According to this Act, employers are not required to pay for the time employees spend on activities occurring before or after their principal work activities, such as traveling to and from the actual place of performance of the principal activity or activities, and activities that are preliminary or postliminary to said principal activity. However, if the activities are an integral and indispensable part of the principal activities for which the worker is employed, they are compensable. The Portal-to-Portal Act also provides employers with a defense against claims for unpaid compensation if the employer can show that the act or omission causing the non-payment was in good faith and that they had reasonable grounds for believing that their act or omission was not a violation of the FLSA.

Employee Polygraph Protection Act of 1988 - 29 U.S.C. § 2001 et seq.
This Act restricts the use of lie detector tests by employers for employment-related purposes and outlines the rights of employees or prospective employees.

The Employee Polygraph Protection Act of 1988 prohibits most private employers from using lie detector tests, either for pre-employment screening or during the course of employment. Employers are generally not allowed to request, require, or even suggest that an employee or job applicant take a lie detector test. There are exceptions for certain employers such as security service firms (armored car, alarm, and guard) and pharmaceutical manufacturers, distributors, and dispensers. The Act also restricts employers from discharging, disciplining, discriminating against, or denying employment or promotion to an individual for refusing to take a test, for failing a test, or for exercising other rights under the Act. The Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the U.S. Department of Labor is responsible for administering and enforcing the Employee Polygraph Protection Act.

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) - 29 U.S.C. § 2601 et seq.
The FMLA entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons.

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides certain employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year and requires that their group health benefits be maintained during the leave. FMLA is designed to help employees balance their work and family responsibilities by allowing them to take reasonable unpaid leave for certain family and medical reasons. It also seeks to accommodate the legitimate interests of employers and promote equal employment opportunity for men and women. FMLA applies to all public agencies, all public and private elementary and secondary schools, and companies with 50 or more employees. Employees are eligible if they have worked for a covered employer for at least 12 months, have at least 1,250 hours of service for the employer during the 12 months preceding the leave, and work at a location where the employer has at least 50 employees within 75 miles. Under FMLA, eligible employees are entitled to take leave for the birth and care of a newborn child, for placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care, to care for an immediate family member (spouse, child, or parent) with a serious health condition, or when the employee is unable to work due to a serious health condition.