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When compensatory time is not legal

Non-exempt, statutory employees in Texas are entitled to overtime pay for each hour worked above 40 in a workweek. In spite of the state and federal wage and hour laws, many companies routinely violate the laws and fail to pay their employees the overtime they are entitled to receive.

What are the overtime laws?

Texas employers are required to follow both the federal and state overtime rules. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, employers must pay non-exempt employees one-and-one-half times their hourly rates for each hour worked above 40 during a workweek. Under Texas law, a workweek is defined as a regular seven-day period of 24 hours per day. The workweek can begin and end on any day of the week and does not have to begin on Monday. While public sector employers are allowed to provide compensatory time at one-and-one-half hours per hour worked beyond 40 in a week, private employers are not allowed to give employees comp time instead of overtime pay. Public sector employers that give comp time must start paying overtime to employees who have been given 240 hours of comp time in a year. However, police officers and firefighters may be given 480 hours of compensatory time before they receive overtime pay.

Non-exempt vs. exempt employees

Exempt employees are not entitled to receive overtime pay. These employees include those with executive, administrative, or managerial positions for which they receive salaries of at least $684 per week. Whether an employee is exempt or should be considered non-exempt depends on the employee’s job duties rather than his or her title. Certain IT professionals are also considered to be exempt employees and not subject to the overtime rules.

Employers violate employment laws in several ways. Private employers may provide compensatory time to non-exempt workers, which is not allowed. Employers might also misclassify non-exempt employees as exempt workers to get around the overtime rules. Some employers misclassify non-exempt employees as independent contractors to avoid overtime rules, payroll taxes, and the provision of benefits. All of these tactics can form the basis of wage and hour claims through which the employees might recover the compensation they should have received.