Texas Minimum Wage Act

Texas has established a statewide minimum wage; however, this wage law is preempted by the FLSA minimum wage. In addition, the federal minimum law supersedes any state or municipal wage law that affects Houston, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, Fort Worth or any other city or county in Texas.

The Texas Minimum Wage Act itself contains certain specifications:

1) A Texas employer may include meals and/or lodging at a "reasonable cost" in calculating an employee's minimum wage provided these are customarily provided by the employer to the employee. In addition, such furnishings must be stated and identified on the employee's earnings statement.

2) The Texas Labor Code allows an employer to employ an individual for a wage as low as 60 percent of the state minimum wage if that person's capacity to produce is impaired by a physical or mental deficiency, age, injury, or if the employee is over 65 years of age. This rate, however, does not extend to agricultural piece workers. A caution is attached to this application of a subminimum wage: 1) the FLSA does supersede the state wage law; 2) designating less of a wage to an individual because of age or disability presents risks under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, or the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act.

3) As of September 1, 2001, employers follow the FLSA guidelines in calculating wage rate for "tipped employees"; those employees who regularly receive more than $20/month in tips.

4) Penalties against an employer who violates the Texas Minimum Wage Act include liability for the employee's unpaid wages plus liquidated damages that are equal to those unpaid wages. The employer may also be liable for attorney fees and court costs.

5) A current or a former employee may bring a petition against an employer who has violated the Texas Minimum Wage Law by submitting a "verified" statement, which means it is to include an affidavit confirming statements to be true, to court. If a former employee takes such action, it must be within two years of the time he or she was employed.

6) The Texas Minimum Wage Law, which parallels those of the FLSA, exempts an employer from implementing the minimum wage for certain employees in certain positions:

  • Executive, administrative and professional employees
  • Elected officials, commissioned salespersons, certain domestics, prison inmates, those employed by religious, educational, charitable, or non-profit organizations
  • Youths and students under the age of 18 and have not graduated from high school or vocational school
  • Individuals under 20 years of age who are regularly enrolled in an educational institution as long as they are employed in a non-agricultural setting
  • Family members, including brother, sister, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, child, spouse, parent, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, or ward
  • Employees of certain amusement or recreational establishments

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