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Working all day in the hot Texas sun can be tiring enough, but it can be even more exhausting when you don’t get paid in accordance with state and federal law. Many people aren’t familiar with the overtime labor laws in Texas. We’re here to clear up the myths.

Overtime is calculated per Week – Not per Pay Period

One of the biggest misconceptions is that overtime only kicks in if an employee works more than 80 hours in 2-week a pay period. The reality is that it’s computed per week. For example, if an employee works 44 hours in the first week of a 2-week pay period and only 30 hours in the second week, they would still earn overtime for the 4 extra hours they worked the first week – even though in total their hours over the course of a pay period were only 74.

The Week Begins on Sunday

Many people assume that the pay week begins on Monday and runs through Sunday. In actuality, for overtime purposes the week begins on Sunday. So if a laborer works 10-hour days Sunday through Thursday, then their employer is required to pay 10 hours of overtime.

Workers Who Work Per Piece Are Eligible for Overtime

Some workers are paid by the piece. For example, a seamstress may be paid for each piece of clothing they work on. Though these workers are not paid by the hour, they are still entitled to overtime pay if they work for more than 40 hours in a week. In this case, the rate for overtime pay is calculated by dividing the hours the employee worked by the number of pieces they completed. This gives the employer the average hourly wage the employee earned while being paid per piece. For any hours over 40, the employee should receive 1 1/2 times the calculated average hourly pay.

Even Those on a Salary Are Entitled to Overtime Pay

It’s also common for employees to believe that if they’ve agreed to a straight salary versus hourly pay, that they have given up their right to overtime pay. This is simply not true. To determine what their overtime wages should be, their per-week salary is divided by the number of hours the employee worked in the week in which they worked overtime. When they work more than 40 hours, then their extra hours need to be paid at 1 1/2 times their calculated hourly rate.

What to Do if You Haven’t Been Paid Fairly

Labor laws in Texas can be complicated. If you believe you haven’t been paid in accordance with federal and state laws, then it is in your best interest to contact an attorney immediately.

Patrick Whalen is a part of an elite team of writers who have contributed to hundreds of blogs and news sites. Follow him @2patwhalen.