Earlier this week, people rallied in downtown Houston to encourage employers to pay workers more than minimum wage. The minimum wage here in Texas is tied to the federal minimum wage, which is currently set at $7.25 an hour. The federal minimum has not been increased for four years, but the Minimum Wage Act of 2013 is currently working its way through Congress, and if passed it would raise the federal minimum to $10.10 an hour.
The minimum wage law has a very significant impact in Texas, where 7.5 percent of all workers are either paid minimum wage or even less, according to a recent news report.
In Houston on Wednesday, one of the groups protesting was the Service Employees International Union. The service industry has a reputation not only for low wages, but also for skirting existing laws by failing to pay workers for all hours worked and neglecting to pay proper overtime wages.
Of course, there are many employers in the service industry that are lawful in their wage practices, but there are others that take advantage of workers.
Regardless of whether the Minimum Wage Act of 2013 passes into law, it is important for Houston residents to be aware that they do have existing rights to certain wages and that these rights should be protected.
Workers who are not being paid at least the current minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, and non-exempt workers who are not being paid time-and-one-half their regular rate for hours worked in excess of 40, should seek legal assistance. There are many ways that employers steal wages from workers, and these employers should be held responsible.
Source: KUHF.org, "Low-Income Workers Rally Downtown To Push For Higher Wages," Florian Martin, July 24, 2013