Are Texas Employees Entitled to Paid Breaks During Their Shift?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes specific standards for part-time and full-time employment. The FLSA applies to private, state, and local, and federal government employees in Texas. According to the Texas Workforce Commission, this federal act covers minimum wage, overtime pay eligibility, and record keeping.

Although the FLSA covers some critical employment issues, unfortunately, several employment practices are not included. Generally, under Texas law, employers are not required to provide pension plans to their employers. Further, Texas employers do not need to give raises unless there has been an increase in the minimum wage. The FLSA also does not require employers to pay their employees extra pay for holidays or weekends. Similarly, employers do not have to pay shift differentials; meaning employers do not have to provide extra compensation for undesirable shifts.

Employee Breaks Under the FLSA

Some state laws require employers to provide their employees with breaks, but the FLSA and Texas state law do not require employers to provide paid breaks over 20-minutes to their employees. There are some special exceptions for reasonable restroom breaks and those employed in hazardous environments.

Texas law does not require employers to provide bonafide lunch breaks, but employees must be provided a paid 20-minute break. Generally, these breaks are considered “coffee” breaks and are designed to enhance employee productivity, efficiency, and safety. Smoke breaks are not required, but they are often treated like coffee breaks.

Although Texas employment laws do not require an employer to provide lunch breaks, employees can use their 20-minute coffee break to eat lunch. The law requires compensation for this break. Texas does not require employers to pay an employee for more than their authorized lunch break.

Employers are still responsible for compensating their employees during lunch breaks in certain instances. For example, if the employee’s contract provides for a paid lunch break, employers must follow the contract. Moreover, if an employer requires their employee to engage in any work during their lunch break, that time must be paid. It is also important to note that employers are still responsible for compensating a working lunch, even if they told the employee not to work through lunch. If a Texas employer tries to retaliate against the employee by cutting their pay, the employer can be held liable.

Has Your Employer Engaged in Unfair Employment Practices?

If your Texas employer has engaged in unlawful employment practices, such as not providing a 20-minute paid break or engaging in retaliatory behavior, you should contact the Texas employment law attorneys at Rob Wiley, P.C. Too often, employers take advantage of employees’ unfamiliarity of employment law. However, an attorney can help employees understand their rights and remedies. Contact the attorneys at Rob Wiley by calling 214-528-6500 to schedule an initial consultation.

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