Employment laws have two sets of rules: one at the state level and one at the federal level. For example, the 2021 state minimum wage in Texas is $7.25 an hour. This is the same as the federal minimum wage. An employer in any state cannot legally pay less than this.
Both employers and employees need to understand their rights and options when it comes to the Fair Labor Standards Act and violations of this federal act. Attorney Luisa Calderon at The Calderon Firm works with individuals and small businesses to help them protect and advocate for their rights.
What Is The Federal Labor Standards Act Or FLSA?
The Federal Labor Standards Act, or FLSA, is a standard that all employers across the country must adhere to. This act relates to state wage and hour laws and defines what “working” means. An employee is not working when on break at a restaurant or driving to and from the job. However, an employee may be working if that employee is required to sweep or remove garbage or do other duties even while “off the clock.”
What Qualifies As Work Time?
There are duties or requirements that also qualify as work time and should be paid. Some employees may have special considerations that are covered either under Texas law or federal law. In general:
- Employees are to be paid for any mandatory or required training. This may involve paying for travel time to any training that is not at the workplace.
- Overtime can be murky when an employee works nonstandard hours or when the employee is in a management position and is salaried, earning a guaranteed minimum each week, pay period or year.
- Other gray areas include freelance or contract work, farm labor, sales positions, tipped employees and amusement park workers.
Additionally, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires that an employer provide “up to 12 workweeks” of unpaid leave (while retaining their job and position) after a birth, adoption, foster care or serious health condition. There are specific requirements for an employee to be covered under FMLA. Some employees may also be protected if they are members of the military or National Guard.
When Should I Consult An Attorney?
A business owner has too much at stake to risk making a mistake with wage, hour, overtime and leave issues. It is in your best interest as a small-business owner to consult with an attorney whenever making employee handbooks, policies or “gray area” decisions.
Employees who have a wage-hour or other labor issue or who are not certain of their rights and of their status as exempt or nonexempt can get a clear picture of what they are legally entitled to under Texas and federal labor laws by speaking with an experienced employment law attorney.
Attorney Luisa Calderon has over a decade of workplace and employment law legal experience. She is an adept negotiator and an accomplished trial attorney. She can assist with issues related to:
- Employee/nonemployee classification
- Tipped employees
- Exempt/nonexempt employee definitions
Both employers and employees are best served when there is a clear understanding of what the law provides, prohibits and protects.
Schedule a consultation with attorney Luisa Calderon to better understand your rights and obligations under state and federal employment laws. Call 832-626-1306 or connect via website inquiry form. In Houston and serving employers and employees throughout the greater Houston area.