Therefore, on July 24, 2009, when the federal minimum increases to $7.25 per hour, the Texas state minimum will also increase to $7.25 per hour. Texas is one of 12 states, including Maryland, Idaho, North Dakota and Virginia, which ties its minimum to the federal minimum wage.
Under Texas minimum wage law, any employee covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is excluded from Texas minimum wage. The FLSA is the main federal minimum wage law and covers employers that engage in interstate commerce and those with annual earnings of $500,000 or more.
Like many states that tie their minimum wage to the federal minimum wage, the Texas minimum wage rose to $6.55 per hour on July 24, 2008. This increase is directly related to the increase in the federal minimum wage as set forth in the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007. This act introduced a series of three increases, each of 70 cents over three years. The third and last increase will occur on July 24, 2009.
The Texas state minimum wage law is tied to the federal minimum. In fact, according to the US Department of Labor, the Texas law doesn’t even mention a dollar amount. Instead, it references the federal minimum wage amount and adopts that wage as its own.
In Texas, employers covered by the primary federal minimum wage statute, the FLSA or Fair Labor Standards Act, are exempt from the Texas state minimum. Companies included under FLSA are those which earn $500,000 or more annually, or which engage in interstate commerce.
The Texas Workforce Commission provides the business publication Texas Business Today. A recent issue of this publication states that in the age of the Internet, it’s nearly impossible for a company not to conduct business across states. Any company that uses the Internet, accepts credit cards or corresponds via email is engaged in interstate commerce, thereby qualifying it as an employer under FLSA.
Texas Payday Law requires employers to pay salaried workers at least twice per month. Other employees must also be paid at least twice a month, and at regular intervals. Employers are also required to display labor law posters informing workers what day they will be paid, and how often.
No overtime law exists on the Texas law books. Employers are required to follow the federal standard of 1.5 times the usual hourly rate for all time over 40 hours worked in one week.
Under Chapter 62 of the Texas Labor Code, known as the Texas Minimum Wage Act, the state minimum wage mirrors the federal minimum wage. On May 24, 2007 President Bush signed the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007 into law. That federal act provided for annual 70-cent increases in the minimum wage. The current increase is the second of three under the law. The federal (and Texas) minimum wage will increase again on July 24, 2009.
The Texas minimum wage will increase from $5.85 to $6.55 per hour on July 24, 2008. This 70-cent increase mirrors the increase in the federal minimum wage under the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 1007 on the same day. Under that bill, the federal minimum wage is scheduled to increase a total of 3 times between 2007 and 2009. Each increase is 70 cents. This brings the federal minimum wage from $5.15 per hour to $7.25 per hour.
When an employer enters into an agreement with attorneys of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), it’s probably better to honor that agreement. A Houston grocer faces $268,812 in penalties after allegedly welching on a deal with the U.S. Department of Labor.
A suit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas alleges that employees at 4 grocery stores owned by Hai Du Duong and his wife, Ha Duong, were not paid the minimum wage. The employees also did not receive overtime pay when they worked more than 40 hours per week. Manager Tommy Vo is also named in the suit, as is the Hong Kong Group.
Initially, an employee filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division. After an investigation, the department found that the company had not paid the appropriate minimum wage, and overtime wages between October 2002 and October 2004.
At that time, the Duongs agreed to pay 119 employees more than $161,500 in back wages, and to comply with the minimum wage and overtime laws in the future. According to the DOL, the Duongs did pay the back wages to employees. However, the Duongs demanded that the employees return the money to them.
As a result, the Department of Labor launched another investigation and discovered that the company owes more than $2 million in back wages from March 2003 to October 2006. The DOL also assessed a penalty of $268,812 for “willful” violations, based on the company’s past performance.
“The Department of Labor is committed to enforcing the law to ensure that employees receive the wages to which they are legally entitled,” said Wage and Hour Division Administrator Paul DeCamp. “In this case, the department recovered more than $2 million dollars in overtime back wages for workers employed by Hong Kong Group.”
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, employees must be paid at least the federal minimum wage for all hours worked. Employees who work more than 40 hours per week are entitled to 1.5 times their usual hourly rate. The current minimum wage is $5.85 per hour. Until July 24, 2007, the federal minimum wage had remained at $5.15 per hour for more than a decade.
The Duongs, Mr. Vo and the Hong Kong Group deny any wrongdoing.
This is just the most recent in a series of minimum wage violations uncovered by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division.
In September, two companies agreed to pay nearly $1 million in unpaid overtime to 382 workers employed in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The workers were employed by L&R Security Inc. of New Orleans and HKA Enterprises Inc. of Duncan, South Carolina as subcontractors for CH2M Hill of Englewood, Colorado under a FEMA contract. Employees worked as security guards at FEMA trailer sites and in debris removal, but were not paid overtime in accordance with federal law.
In August, five jointly-operated restaurants in Long Island, New York were ordered to pay almost $1 million to 191 low-wage workers. The employees had been forced to work long hours for wages less than the minimum wage, without overtime pay. The court ordered that if the employers did not pay up, their restaurants could be sold and the proceeds used to pay the employees.
In late July, the U.S. Department of Labor forced Desert Plastering, Inc., a Las Vegas Nevada firm, to pay nearly $1.2 million in back pay to 1060 employees. The feds found that Desert Plastering had not paid required overtime to lathers, finishers, plasterers and estimators who worked up to 58 hours per week.