Current Minimum Wage in Texas
As of 2021, Texas minimum wage currently sits at $7.25 which is the minimum as guaranteed by federal law. Remember that, in cases of civil rights, citizens get whatever law (federal or state) provides them with the most protections. Therefore companies in states such as Georgia, whose official minimum wage sits at $5.15, must still pay their employees $7.25 per hour.
The $7.25 minimum wage was established in the Fair Labor Standards Act. Initially introduced in 1938 as part of his New Deal strategy, the bill has undergone over 20 revisions since its introduction. In 2007, the Fair Minimum Wage Act was proposed and passed that set the federal minimum hourly wage at $7.25.
Your Employer Is Required To Give You An Earnings Statement
Not only is your employer required to meet the federal $7.25 minimum to comply with the law, but they must also provide you with an earnings statement. As noted by section 62.003 of the law, an earnings statement must have the following information and be signed by the employer or someone the employer has hired to handle this function. Those six items:
(1) Your (employee) name.
(2) How much you are paid hourly.
(3) The total amount you have earned during the period.
(4) Any deduction made from your employer’s pay and the purpose of the deduction.
(5) The total amount that you are to be paid after all deductions.
(6) Point six is divided into two points concerning whether or not the employee is being paid on an hourly basis or if it’s a project basis (how much you accomplish during a certain period). Specifically worded as either:
- Hours worked by the employee if the employee’s pay is computed by the hour.
- Units produced by the employee during the pay period if the employee’s pay is computed on a piece rate.
Does Minimum Wage Count Tips?
A popular question that we had to look up to be sure. A special section, Sec. 62.052, was added to the labor code that deals explicitly with how minimum wage is applied to those who make their money via tips. If you are an employee that works in an industry that regularly receives tips and “in which the employee customarily and regularly receives more than $20 a month in tips”, the employer just needs to make sure that the sum of tips and hourly wage is at least $7.25.
If the sum of the wage and tips does not average out to $7.25 then the employer must compensate you for your time.
Are Costs of Meals Considered in Minimum Wage?
If you’re an employer you’re going to love this, if not well…
The cost of meals and lodging can be factored into your pay if meals or lodging customarily are furnished by the employer to employees. Additionally, the cost of the meals and the lodging that the employer claims to be paying for must be indicated in the earnings statement (above) that the employer is required to supply.
Additionally, employees that live on the premises are unique to the minimum wage law. Particularly if you are an employee who “is assigned certain working hours plus additional hours when the employee is subject to call for more than the number of hours the employee works or is on duty because of assigned working hours.”
Texas was not one of the 20 states that altered their minimum wage in the 2020-2021 legislative session. California increased its minimum wage to $14.00 which was the largest increase in the country. However, California does have an asterisk to that number. The $14.00/hr only applies to “large businesses”–smaller employers only have to pay $13 per hour (formerly $12 in 2020). They attempt to draw the line at the number of full-time employees (15) which distinguishes a small business from a large business.
Texas had three separate sessions in 2021 but none of them improved chapter 62 of the Labor Code as many employees had hoped. However, it was not without trying. House Bill 46 proposed by Ron Reynolds of district 27 (think Corpus Cristi area) ambitiously sought to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour. An example of virtue signaling, the bill failed to make it out to the house committee it was assigned to.
In 2019, a flurry of bills sought to raise the minimum wage as the effort was becoming commonplace in states around the country. A perhaps too ambitious bill sought to make the hourly minimum wage in the Lonestar state $15/hour. A more reserved bill sought to increase the minimum wage modestly over four years so that way the impacts of the increase could be seen in advance.
The bill would have made it “$8.25 per hour in calendar years 2020 and 2021”, then $9.25 per hour in 2022 and 2023, and finally $10.10 in 2024. The bill elicited a fiscal note by John McGeady of the Legislative budget board that said the result would be an increase in labor costs of 14%. A number that was too much for the conservative-minded Texas house of representatives.
Relevant Labor Code
The official section of the Texas labor code that deals with minimum wage is Chapter 62, aptly named Minimum Wage. We’ll update this section with relevant links as requests come in. However, note that if you feel you are not being awarded $7.25 per hour (after tips and everything we’ve already discussed above), contact a Texas employment rights attorney who can, at the very least, help you seek justice.