The Department of Labor has proposed a rule that would make a large number of people in the Houston area and across Texas available for overtime pay. The rule is still subject to a comment period of 60 days, but it would change the salary cap for non-management overtime eligibility nationwide beginning in 2020. The salary cap would be raised to $35,308 from $23,660. On a weekly basis, the cap would be raised to $679 from $455.
Workers in the Houston area may be under new guidelines regarding overtime in the future, but it is unclear how long the process will take. In May 2016, an overtime rule issued by the Department of Labor raised the minimum salary allowing so-called "white-collar" exemptions to overtime to $47,476 from $23,660. The "highly compensated" exemption level went to $134,004 from $100,000. Furthermore, every three years, there were supposed to be automatic increases.
Most employers in Texas make a good faith attempt to pay their workers correctly, but abuses do occur. Sometimes, employers fail to pay people what they are owed by ignoring overtime laws, miscalculating wages or applying the wrong wages. When these issues happen, employees might need to seek a court order to force employers to comply.
Some employees in the Houston area who work on-call hours may be entitled to overtime pay they are not getting. A nurse in Ohio filed a claim against her workplace where she was required to be on call on alternating weekends. The hospital paid her regular rate.
The United States Department of Labor is contemplating a change that could affect overtime laws for workers in Texas. The Fair Labor Standards Act has set a threshold salary below which workers must be paid overtime for working more than 40 hours in a week. The DOL intends to raise the threshold amount but has pushed back the change until March 2019.
Gig work is becoming a bigger and bigger part of our world. According to some estimates, next year could see up to half of the U.S. workforce participating in the gig economy.
The Equal Pay Act became law in Texas and across the country on June 10, 1963. It mandates that women receive the same pay as men for the same work, but the pay gap continues and varies based on race as well. On average, women earn 80 cents for every dollar their male counterparts earn according to data published by equalpaytoday.org. For the year 2018, Equal Pay Day was April 10. That's the day a woman had to work through to earn the money a man earned in 2017.
Texas employers may not be able to deduct travel bonuses from damages assessed if they violate the Fair Labor Standards Act. This was the decision reached by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia. An investigation into the pay practices of Mountain Masonry revealed that 112 workers were not paid overtime rates when they worked more than 40 hours a week.
Many people in Texas have worked as interns, whether over summer vacation from school, after graduation or as way to get offered a full-time job. However, there have been significant questions about proper differentiation between interns and employees, especially when interns receive no pay or just a stipend that falls below minimum wage. There has been a change in the Department of Labor's test to assess the correct classification of interns. It now aligns with the majority of U.S. appellate courts.
The Department of Labor has updated its guidance for unpaid internships. The new approach grants employers at for-profit companies in Texas more flexibility. Previous rules established by the department in 2010 insisted that an employer had to meet all six requirements to avoid paying minimum wage or overtime. The new test includes seven points of consideration meant to determine whether the arrangement benefits the intern's education or actually benefits the employer.