These days, it can be difficult for business owners to tell if they are complying with state and federal business regulations. There are so many laws and regulations governing businesses, it can be incredibly difficult—particularly for small businesses—to comply with all of those laws and regulations. State wage laws are no different. There are many nuances to wage and hour laws, both state and federal, that can make compliance a tricky thing.
In general, it is safe for a business owner to assume that compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act, the federal law that governs most wage and hour and other workplace issues, will keep them in safe territory. States generally conform their employment laws to the parameters set by the federal government in the FLSA. While states can enact more stringent requirements—such as a higher minimum wage—they cannot set standards that are below those required by the FLSA. Because states can set higher standards, business owners can’t be sure they are in compliance with all wage laws without know whether or where state law sets higher requirements than the FLSA.
What Do Texas and Federal Law Require in the Workplace?
Most wage laws, state and federal, are pretty straightforward. That doesn’t mean complying with those laws can’t be tricky, however. Some of the requirements are vaguer than others. Among the statutory requirements governing wages in the Texas workplace are:
- Minimum wage and overtime requirements: Under federal and Texas law, the minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. For employees who are not exempt from overtime requirements, any hours in a workweek that exceed 40 hours for the week must be paid at one and a half times the regular hourly rate. That does not apply to exempt employees—generally including management and professional employees, such as accountants or attorneys who require a specialized degree to perform their jobs. However, even that is not a bright-line situation, and whether employees are exempt from overtime requirements can be a little murky.
- Equal pay for different genders: Businesses must pay men and women in the same job with the same level of experience the same wage. While this might be an easy call for entry-level employees who have no experience, it is considerably less so when it comes to employees who are not entry level. The “same experience” includes not just experience, or time performing that job, but also skilled at the job, other qualifications such as education, and level of responsibility. Complying with this requirement can be very tricky indeed.
- Child labor: Children are subject to a number of employment restrictions, depending on how old they are. Children under 14 can’t work for an employer, while people 18 and older face no restrictions. In between, there are a number of restrictions determined by age that are related to hours per week worked, when those hours can occur, and restrictions on employment in hazardous jobs.
If You Aren’t Sure Your Business is Complying With Wage Laws, Consult a Houston Business Lawyer
If you aren’t sure if your business is in compliance with state and federal wage laws, the lawyers of Weisblatt Law Firm, LLC, can help. Weisblatt Law Firm routinely provides advice to clients regarding wage-law compliance. They can help you with any issues you might have. You can contact us at (713) 666-1981, or through our online contact form.
Attorney Andrew Weisblatt
Mr. Weisblatt has practiced continuously since becoming licensed in 1992 and has represented businesses ranging in size from one person start-up ventures to multi-national corporations employing hundreds of people in multiple countries. From 2005 through 2009 Mr. Weisblatt was in-house counsel and chief operating officer of a multi-national corporation in the steel products industry. That in-house position provided valuable insight into how businesses work and what they actually need from their lawyers – both in-house and outside counsel. Attorney Bio