The Texas Workforce Commission is responsible for administering the state’s labor laws and making sure employers also comply with the United States Department of Labor’s federal labor laws. The Texas Payday Law governs employment wage and hour practices. Texas employers must keep adequate payroll records for each pay period. Both the federal wage and hour laws and the state’s Payday laws allow employers to use time clocks or time sheets to record work time.
The federal Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor and the Texas Workforce Commission require employers to keep adequate records using any type of record-keeping method they choose as long as their choice properly records total wages and time each employee works during each pay period. Record-keeping laws require employers to record overtime hours and standard work hours of every employee, personal record information and earnings.
The U.S. Department of Labor allows employers to use time sheets, time cards or time clocks as long as the employer accurately records the hours employees work each day and when workweeks begin and end. Recognizing that many employers commonly use time clocks to record information, the federal laws allow employers to round time using increments of five minutes to over 15 minutes. Employers must encourage their employees to clock in or punch in to account for all hours worked without allowing them to work “off-the-clock.” Under the Texas “de minimis” rule, employers may round time if the rounding is insubstantial or insignificant. Texas law allows employers to round by a few seconds or minutes if the employer properly accounts for all hours worked as practically possible and rounds up and down. In cases of “long punching” where employees punch in before they actually begin working, then the Texas Workforce Commission’s Compliance Officer investigates whether the employee was actually working during this period.
In Texas, the payday laws require employers to pay their employees at least once monthly. However, some employers must pay their employees at least semi-monthly with an equal number of days between pay periods, if possible. Employers must place payday posters in a conspicuous area in their workplace, notifying employees of the state’s payday laws and the employer’s regular paydays. In Texas, conspicuous workplace areas include posting the payday law rules near time clocks or other areas that employees frequently visit. Under state law, if employers do not designate their paydays, then the employer’s paydays must be on the first and 15th of every month.
Texas laws do not prohibit the use of time clocks by employers. However, the state prohibits employment practices where employers deduct from paychecks and time clock hours without obtaining written authorization from the employee allowing those payroll deductions. Employers in Texas may not deduct from an employee’s paycheck without prior written authorization. The Texas Workforce Commission can assess up to $1,000 in penalties against noncomplying employers.
Since employment laws can frequently change, you should not use this information as a substitute for legal advice. Seek advice through an attorney licensed to practice law in your jurisdiction.