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Last updated on: November 2nd, 2023

Hours & Pay Regulations

Normal Working Hours

The Fair Labor Standards Act defines the workweek as a fixed and recurring period of 168 hours comprised of seven consecutive 24-hour periods that do not need to coincide with the calendar week. It is adjustable only if the change is designed to be permanent. Each week is considered on its own for purposes of calculating overtime. The hours of two or more weeks may not be averaged.

Under state law, an employer may not require any employee to work seven consecutive days in a retail establishment and may not deny an employee at least 24 consecutive hours off for rest or worship in each seven-day period. The time off must be in addition to any regular periods of rest allowed during each work day.

State law also requires that an employer must accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs and practices unless the employer can show that to do so would constitute an undue business hardship. An employer also may not require an employee to work during a period the employee requests to be off to attend one regular worship service a week of the employee’s religion. This does not apply to employees who are part-time, working less than 30 hours or less in a calendar week.


Recording Requirement – Every covered employer under state and federal law must maintain records for each employee. An employer is required to record the hours worked each day and the total hours worked each workweek. There’s no law about a specific time-tracking method that employers have to use to track employee work hours.


Every employer must keep payroll records, collective bargaining agreements, sales, and purchase records for a minimum of 3 years. Records used for calculating wages, such as time cards, piecework tickets, wage rate tables, work schedules, time schedules, and wage adjustments, should be retained for at least 2 years. The employer must maintain the following records of an employee – 

      • employee’s full name and social security number,
      • address, including zip code.
      • time and day of the week when the employee’s workweek begins,
      • hours worked each day,
      • total hours worked each workweek.
      • basis on which employee’s wages are paid,
      • regular hourly pay rate,
      • total daily or weekly straight-time earnings,
      • total overtime earnings for the workweek,
      • all additions to or deductions from the employee’s wages,
      • total wages paid each pay period,
      • date of payment and the pay period covered by the payment.


    Time Clock Rounding

    Many employers do not pay employees according to the exact number of hours and minutes they work, but rather utilize some sort of “rounding” or “roundoff” system whereby a certain interval is set that serves as the minimum block of time that will be recognized as a unit of time worked or not worked. Time missed or worked within that interval will not be deducted from or added to the time worked, whereas time missed or worked outside that interval will result in that interval being deducted from or added to the time worked.


    Long Punching of Hours

    Where time records show elapsed time greater than the hours actually worked because of reasons such as employees choosing to enter their workplaces before actual starting time or to remain after their actual quitting time, the Compliance Officer shall determine whether any time is actually worked in these intervals. If an employee came in early for personal convenience and did not work prior to the scheduled beginning time, a recording of the fact that the employee worked, for example, 8 hours that day is all that is required.


    Sleeping Time

    If an employee is on a shift lasting less than 24 hours and is required to be on duty during such a shift, she will be considered as working during the entire time, even if permitted to sleep during such time or engage in personal activities, such as eating meals, when not busy.


    If an employee is on duty for a shift of 24 hours or more, the employer and employee may agree to exclude from hours worked the time spent in meal breaks and in “bona fide regularly scheduled sleeping periods”, but there is a limit of eight hours on the amount of time that can be excluded as sleeping time.


    Texas has no general provision governing overtime pay, but most employees would be subject to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.


    In accordance with FLSA, any work performed beyond 40 hours in a work week is considered overtime work. An employee who works more than 40 hours in their work week except if the employee is otherwise exempted will be entitled to receive overtime pay.

    Pay – An employee is entitled to premium pay at the rate of 1.5 times their regular rate for all hours worked excess in a workweek.


    Rest and Coffee Breaks: An employee is usually entitled to receive breaks lasting 20 minutes or less are considered compensable hours worked because they benefit both the employer and the employee. Regardless of how many breaks an employee takes, even if they exceed the allowed limit, they must be compensated. However, ordinary coffee or rest breaks that are not for the mutual benefit of both parties do not require compensation. In such cases, the company may implement a policy that requires employees to clock out and then back in for these breaks.


    Meal Breaks: Meal breaks of at least 30 minutes in duration, during which employees are entirely relieved from duty to eat a regular meal, are not compensable. Shorter meal breaks may be valid under special circumstances, subject to company policy. Employers have the option to allow or disallow meal breaks and may impose conditions, including timing, duration, location, and restrictions on consumables like alcoholic beverages.


    State Law Regarding Employee Workdays: Under state law, employers cannot require employees in retail establishments to work for 7 consecutive days, and they must provide at least 24 consecutive hours off for rest or worship within each 7-day period. This time off is in addition to any regular rest periods allowed during workdays.


    Religious Accommodation: State law mandates that employers must accommodate their employee’s religious beliefs and practices unless doing so would create an undue business hardship. Employers are also prohibited from requiring employees to work during a period requested off for attendance at one regular worship service per week as part of the employee’s religion. This exemption does not apply to part-time employees working fewer than 30 hours per week.


    Breastfeeding Break: The federal statute mandates that nursing mothers must be provided with a reasonable amount of break time to express milk as often as they require. Employers bear the responsibility of accommodating these needs without questioning the duration or frequency of the breaks, which may vary. Nursing mothers have the right to a private, disturbance-free space, which is not a restroom, for expressing milk.


    Employees who utilize their regular paid rest breaks for nursing or breast milk expression should receive compensation for these breaks on par with other employees. To meet the required work hours for their shift, the employee may need to adjust their schedule by arriving earlier or staying later, or they might experience a slight reduction in pay due to unpaid nursing breaks if they are unable to make up the time through schedule adjustments.

    Annual Leave

    No Texas or federal law requires private-sector employers to provide paid or unpaid annual leave of any kind, although some amount of unpaid leave may be necessary as a reasonable accommodation in the event of a disability, pregnancy, or other condition protected under specific statutes.

    Special Leave

    Unpaid Leave
    Employees may be eligible to take unpaid, job-protected, leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). Please refer to main United States page for further details on this Federal law.

    Limitation on Leave of Absence
    With the exception of leaves of absence for military duty, no leave of absence, by itself or in combination with other periods of leave, may last longer than six months. Any employee who for any reason or combination of reasons misses a total of six months of work in a twelve-month period, or a total of nine months of work in an eighteen-month period, will be separated from employment due to unavailability for work, subject to any reasonable accommodation duties the company may have under the ADA or similar law. Any employee so separated will be eligible for rehire and will be able to apply for any vacancies that may exist at any given time, depending upon qualifications and availability of job openings.
    Leave for Care of Foster Child
    An employer commits an unlawful employment practice if the employer administers a leave policy under which an employee is entitled to personal leave to care for or otherwise assist the employee’s sick child the leave policy described does not treat in the same manner as an employee’s biological or adopted minor child any foster child of the employee who:
        • Resides in the same household as the employee; and
        • Is under the conservatorship of the Department of Family and Protective Services.
    Voting Leave
    The employee is entitled to take paid time off for voting on election days unless the employee has at least two consecutive hours to vote outside of the voter’s working hours.
    Jury Duty Leave
    Employers must provide unpaid leave to employees summoned to jury duty. Job protections apply to employees taking jury duty leave. Employers may not punish or penalize employees for taking time off from work to comply with a valid subpoena to appear in court.
    Emergency Evacuation Leave
    An employer may not discharge or otherwise discriminate against an employee who leaves the workplace to participate in an emergency evacuation ordered by local or state authorities. An emergency evacuation order means an official statement issued in response to a natural or manmade disaster, which includes the occurrence or imminent threat of fire, flood, earthquake, wind, storm, wave action, oil spill, water contamination, volcanic activity, epidemic, air contamination, blight, drought, infestation, explosion, riot, hostile military or paramilitary action, or other public calamity requiring emergency action or an energy emergency. An employer who violates this provision is liable for lost wages or benefits incurred by the employee and must also reinstate the employee in the same or equivalent position of employment with commensurate pay if the employee was discharged. This section does not apply to individuals employed as emergency workers, so long as the employer provides adequate emergency shelter, or to employees who are necessary to provide for the safety and well-being of the general public, such as utility workers.
    Military Leave
    An employer may not terminate the employment of an employee who is a member of the state military forces of this state or any other state because the employee is ordered to authorize training or duty by a proper authority. The employee is entitled to return to the same employment held when ordered to training or duty and may not be subjected to loss of time, efficiency rating, vacation time, or any benefit of employment during or because of the absence. The employee, as soon as practicable after release from duty, must give written or actual notice of intent to return to employment.

    Disclaimer: The material provided above is for informational purposes only and is subject to change. We endeavor to keep all material up-to-date and correct but make no representations about the information's completeness, accuracy, or reliability. Laws vary by jurisdiction and are subject to change and interpretation based on individual factors that may differ between organizations. The material is not meant to constitute legal advice and we suggest you seek the advice of legal counsel in connection with any of the information presented.