New Law Allows Higher Wages to Qualify for Overtime in Texas

A person who earns the minimum wage in Texas may not be able to support a family unless he or she works overtime hours. To automatically qualify for overtime, employees must work more than 40 hours a week and earn less than $23,660 a year. However, new rules for wages and overtime going into effect at the end of the year will change the salary requirements for overtime eligibility.

The new rules raise the maximum salary to automatically qualify for overtime to $47,476 a year. Since more workers will be eligible for overtime pay, employers may decide to reduce the number of hours some employees work, limiting them to 40 hours a week. This means workers who did not previously qualify for overtime pay may now be making the same amount of money but working fewer hours, thus having more time to spend with their families.

There seems to be a long-accepted practice of promoting hard-working employees to salaried positions, which exempts them from overtime pay despite working long hours. The new rules call for reclassification of employees as exempt or non-exempt from overtime, which will allow higher-level workers to qualify for time and one half overtime pay if they earn less than the new salary limit. The Department of Labor predicts that more than 25 percent of salaried workers in Texas will see a pay increase under the new rules.

Minimum wage and overtime laws evolved during the Great Depression to protect workers who were often overworked and underpaid. Today, workers can be confident that these laws prevent employers from taking advantage of them or denying them their just pay. People in Texas who feel they are not being paid the wages they have earned often decide to take legal action. They may begin by contacting an experienced attorney to discuss the details of their dispute.

Source:, "The independent investor: One for the middle class", Bill Schmick, July 13, 2016