It’s important to stay up to date on all of the employment laws in your state so that you can maintain compliance in your business. We did some of the hard work for you and put some of the most important Texas laws and statutes in one place so you can either learn them for the first time or give yourself a refresher. 

However, remember that our summary is not qualified legal advice, laws are always subject to change, and they can vary from municipality to municipality. 

It’s up to you to make sure you’re compliant with all laws and statutes in your area. Consult with a qualified lawyer and/or your local government agencies if you have questions or concerns. 

Here are a few employment laws every Texas small business owner should know.

Resources

First, here are a few helpful links and resources for you to bookmark and refer back to:

Leave

  • Sick Days: No statute, but employers in Texas may be required to provide an employee with unpaid sick leave under the federal employment laws stipulated in the Family and Medical Leave Act. 
  • Vacation Days: Employers are not required to provide paid or unpaid vacation benefits, but if the employer establishes a policy, it must comply with the terms. 
    • An employer can legally establish a policy denying payment for accrued vacation time if the employee doesn’t comply with specific requirements, such as giving a two-week notice of resignation. 
  • Jury Duty: An employer may not terminate an employee for responding to a jury summons. However, the employer does not have to pay the employee for the time spent. 
  • Holiday Leave: Texas law does not require employers of private businesses to provide paid or unpaid holiday leave. 
  • Voting Leave: Texas law requires employers to give employees paid time off to vote if they do not have two hours either before or after their scheduled work hours to vote. 
  • Bereavement Leave: No statute 

Final Paycheck

  • Employers have 6 days after an employee is discharged, terminated, or laid off to pay all wages due. 
  • If an employee resigns or leaves the position for any reason other than being discharged, the employer has until the next regularly scheduled payday to pay all wages due. 

Tipped Wages

Tipped employees are required to be paid a minimum wage of $2.13 an hour, which was adopted from the federal minimum tipped wage rate set forth by the Fair Labor Standards Act. 

Texas Minimum Wage

The current minimum wage in Texas is the federal minimum wage rate of $7.25 an hour. 

Child Labor

  • Texas child labor laws prohibit youth under the age of 14 to be employed, except for the following exempt circumstances
    • The child is working under direct supervision of the child’s parent or legal guardian. 
    • The child is 11 years old or older and delivers newspapers. 
    • The child is 16 years old or older and directly sells newspapers to the public. 
    • The child is participating in a school-supervised work-study program approved by the Texas Workforce Commission. 
    • The child is working in agriculture during times when he or she is not required to be in school. 
    • The child is working on a rehabilitation program supervised by a county judge. 
    • The child’s parent or guardian has given permission for the child to work in a non-hazardous, casual place of employment.
  • Youth 14 and 15 years of age may not be employed for more than 8 hours a day or 48 hours per workweek. They also may not be employed between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. on a school night, between midnight and 5 a.m. on any day that is not followed by a school day.
    • A hardship waiver from the hour restrictions can be obtained with an application that includes a statement explaining why it is necessary for the child to work. 

Meal Breaks, Rest Periods, Overtime

  • There are no laws requiring an employer to provide a meal or rest break to employees, so the federal law applies, which says if an employer does choose to provide a break (usually less than 20 minutes) it must be paid. 
  • A meal or lunch break that is 30 minutes or longer does not need to be paid if the employee is allowed to leave the premise and is relieved of all duties. 
  • Texas does not have its own laws regarding overtime pay, so federal overtime laws apply. 

Employment Discrimination

It is illegal for employers to discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, or disability. 

Termination

Texas is an “at-will employment” state, which means that without a written employee contract, employees can be terminated for any reason at any time, provided that the reason is not discriminatory. 

Shift Scheduling

Texas has no laws around shift scheduling, so the laws set forth in the Federal Labor Standards Act apply. 

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