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Wages for food service workers in Texas: 3 things to know

The federal minimum wage is only $7.25 and hasn't gone up since 2009. But many state and local laws set higher minimums.

What about Texas?

If you work in the food service industry, here are three useful things to know about wagen-and-hour laws.

Texas laws on minimum wage may be changing.

Texas is not currently one of the 29 states (as well as the District of Columbia) with hourly minimums more than the federal minimum of $7.25. In other words, the minimum wage in Texas is the same as the federal minimum.

There are, however, numerous proposals before the Texas legislature to increase the minimum wage here. Several bills call for increasing the minimum to $10.10.

As a food-service worker, even if you get tips, your hourly pay must be at least minimum wage.

If you are considered a "tipped employee," your employer can pay you as little as $2.13 per hour, but only if make enough in tips to get a total of $7.25 in hourly pay. A tipped employee is defined as one who makes over $30 in tips on a regular monthly basis.

If you have a base pay of $2.13 and don't get enough tips to make a total of $7.25 per hour, your employer must make up the difference. This is done with a payment called a "tip credit."

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act applies after 40 hours.

Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), minimum-wage workers have a right to receive time-and-a-half overtime pay after 40 hours.

For workers who make more than minimum wage, the rules can be more complicated. There are certain exceptions that apply.

But FLSA overtime protections still apply in many situations. If you have questions about overtime, it makes sense to discuss your specific situation with a knowledgeable employment law attorney.

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