The Texas Payday Law requires employers to pay their employees in full, on time, and on scheduled paydays. The law also tells how and when employers can pay wages.
The Payday law helps employees who were not paid their wages correctly. Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) suggests talking to the employer before filing a wage claim because most problems can be solved by talking to the employer first.
If an employee believes they are owed wages, they need to file a wage claim within 180 days from the original date the wages were supposed to be paid.
If the employer filed for bankruptcy, TWC cannot investigate the claim and the employee may need to file directly with the Bankruptcy Court.
Payments Subject to Payday Law
The Payday Law applies to different types of payments, including:
- Compensation for services provided regardless of how they are calculated.
- Commissions and bonuses according to an agreement between the employee and employer.
- Certain fringe benefits required by the employer’s policy or through an agreement with the employer.
You can file a Payday Wage Claim online or using a paper form.
|Online Wage Claim
|Paper Claim Form
Use our secure online application to make sure your claim is complete and immediately received.
If unable to use the online app, download the paper form, complete it, and return to TWC by mail or fax.
Don’t have a computer or printer? Use a computer or printer from a Workforce Solutions office. Or request a paper form by sending a request to the Wage and Hour Department address, below.
The deadline for filing a wage claim is no later than 180 days after the date the wages were originally due to be paid. If part of your unpaid wages were due more than 180 days ago and part within 180 days, then file a claim only for the part that is within the deadline.
- Identify each type of unpaid wage claimed and how you determined the amount due.
- Your claim must be signed and declared as true under penalty of perjury.
- Mail or fax information and documents to support the claim. Include a copy of your most recent payroll check or stub.
- If you are owed wages by more than one employer, submit a separate claim for each employer.
Send the paper claim and any supporting documents to:
|Texas Workforce Commission
Wage and Hour Department
101 E 15th St, Rm 514
Austin, TX 78778-0001
- Do not send original.
- Always send good quality copies.
- Do not use highlighter or colored paper.
If your address or phone number changes, you must immediately mail or fax your contact information to the Wage and Hour Department. If we cannot contact you, the likelihood of collecting unpaid wages will be reduced.
If TWC can collect money, the check is sent to the most recent address on file with the Wage and Hour department. It’s important to tell the Wage and Hour department if your address or phone number changes.
Amending a Claim
If additional wages become owed by this employer before a Preliminary Wage Determination Order is made, you can amend the claim. To amend the claim you should mail, fax, or e-mail detailed information regarding the changes to the Wage and Hour Department.
If You Are Paid
If the employer pays you after you filed the claim, you should call the Wage and Hour Department and let us know. We need to know the date and amount you received and if it was the correct amount owed.
Information Needed to File a Wage Claim
- The claim must have detailed and complete information.
- There must be enough information to identify and contact your employer such as business name and address, phone number, and the address where you worked.
- You must list each type of unpaid wages and how you determined the amount due to you.
- You must give the dates you worked and were not paid.
- Your claim must be signed and have a completed declaration that the information is true and correct.
Why a Claim Could be Denied
A claim could be delayed or denied if:
- You were not an “employee” of the business. If unsure, file a claim and TWC will investigate.
- You were employed by a close relative such as your mother, grandfather, or father-in- law. If unsure, file a claim and TWC will investigate.
- The employer filed for bankruptcy. You can file a claim for owed wages in bankruptcy court. If you don’t know, file a claim and TWC will investigate.
- You were employed by a federal, state, or local governmental agency such as a school district. You may be able to file a claim with the US Department of Labor (USDOL).
- Your wage claim is filed later than 180 days after the date the unpaid wages were due to be paid. You may be able to file a claim with USDOL.
- You file against more than one employer on one claim. File a separate wage claim for each employer.
Options if Your Wage Claim is Denied
If TWC cannot accept your wage claim, here are some alternatives to seek owed wages.
Contact the US Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division (USDOL)
- USDOL can assist with minimum wage and overtime claims if you’re covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act.
- USDOL can assist in cases where your employer is a public entity.
- Claims can be filed within 2 years of when the wages were owed (Texas law provides 180 days).
File suit in your county’s Civil / Small Claims Court
- There is a small filing fee.
- There is a limit on the amount of owed wages you may be awarded.
- You may be covered by civil and contract law in addition to the Texas Payday Law.
- You should check with an attorney for more information.
File with the Bankruptcy Court, if applicable
- If your employer has declared bankruptcy, you must file a claim with the bankruptcy court.
- If you seek arbitration, be aware that you must follow the instructions in the arbitration agreement.
TWC takes the following steps on a wage claim:
- Mail a letter to the person filing the claim confirming receipt and giving a summary of the claim process.
- Mail a letter to the employer with a copy of the claim, supporting documents, and a form for the employer’s response. The employer has 14 days to respond. If the employer responds, we send a copy to the claimant.
- Contact the claimant and employer for additional information, as needed. If we cannot identify and contact the employer, this will delay your claim. Make sure to provide as much information as possible.
- Mail a “Preliminary Wage Determination Order” letter to both parties. Both parties can appeal the determination.
Collecting Wages from the Employer
If TWC determines wages are owed, the wages owed are not paid from state funds. TWC must collect the money from the employer before we can send the wages to the claimant. The Collections Department will attempt to collect the wages from your employer. If the employer does not voluntarily pay the wages, the law allows TWC to take additional actions to get the payment.
- Collection actions cannot begin until at least 31 days after the Preliminary Wage Determination Order is mailed. If an appeal is filed, the determination is set aside, and a new decision will be made by the appeal.
- After a determination is final (i.e., 31 days after we mail the determination and no appeal is filed OR the order was appealed and affirmed in your favor), the claim is sent to Collections if wages are owed and unpaid.
- Collections will send a demand letter to the employer regarding the amount that is owed. We mail a copy of this notice to the claimant.
- If money is collected, the Texas State Comptroller will send a check for the amount awarded in the determination order. Make sure TWC has your current address.
- If the money cannot be collected, TWC may file a lien or bank levy against the employer.
- Any information you submit regarding the employer’s assets will be used in collection efforts, as allowed by law.
Note: TWC may demand from the employer a deposit of a bond to secure wage payments against future wage claim violations for a period of up to three years.
See Wage and Hour Liens for a list of employers with an active administrative lien of $2,000 or greater due to a Texas Payday Law violation.
TWC does not process contractual settlements between parties regarding wage claims. If the claimant and employer reach an outside settlement, the claimant may withdraw their wage claim if the TWC determination is not final. If the determination is final, the claimant may file a “Declaration of Satisfaction of Payment.”
When to File a Wage Claim Withdrawal
File a Withdrawal of Wage Claim form if the wage claim is not final, which means is still under investigation or appeal. Once TWC receives the withdrawal form, we will not carry out any orders that may have been issued. This includes charging the employer with a penalty. TWC will release any liens or freezes.
The Wage Claim determination is final 21 days after the date the “Preliminary Wage Determination Order” is mailed unless there is an appeal.
- If there is an appeal, the determination is final 14 days after the date the Wage Claim Appeal Tribunal or Commission order is mailed unless there is a Motion for Rehearing.
- If there is a Motion for Rehearing, the determination is final 14 days after the date a Denial of Motion for Rehearing is mailed, regardless of whether a party files for judicial review of the determination.
When to file a Satisfaction of Payment Declaration
File a Satisfaction of Payment Declaration form if the determination has become final, as described above. The Satisfaction of Payment Declaration is different from a withdrawal because TWC will still recognize that an order has been issued, however, TWC will no longer pursue collection actions on wages owed by the employer. The employer will still be liable to TWC for any administrative penalties assessed on the claim. TWC will release any liens or freezes on the claim once any administrative penalties owed are paid to TWC.
The claimant may not cancel or rescind a declaration after the form is submitted. Once submitted, TWC will not take any further collections actions on the claim for ANY reason.
Employers are required to pay employees in full, on time, and on scheduled paydays. The law sets the requirements for how and when you must pay wages. This page gives a summary of the Texas Payday Law. See the Resources section on this page for links to the Payday Law and Payday Rules.
- See a copy of the form for Responding to a Wage Claim
- Review the Texas Guidebook for Employers: Especially for Texas Employers
Unless an employee agrees in writing to accept wages in another form, they should be paid in U.S. dollars, by check, payroll card, or electronic transfer (such as direct deposit) in U.S. dollars.
Wages must be paid to the employee by any reasonable means, including:
- At the normal workplace during work hours
- Mailed by registered mail
- By direct deposit to be received no later than payday
- To any person authorized in writing by the employee
The Payday law does not say how long a paycheck must be kept active before it must be cashed. However, it does say that an employee can file a claim for unpaid wages up to 180 days from the date the wages were due to be paid.
For detailed information on compensable time, see the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) fact sheet Hours Worked Under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Pay for Meetings or Training
The Payday law requires that employees be paid for all time worked. The law does not specifically mention pay for meetings or training. However, DOL defines Compensable time as "the time an employee is required to be on the employer's premises, on duty, or at a prescribed workplace.
Paid Breaks or Lunch Period
The Payday law does not require an employer to give rest breaks or meal breaks. Work schedules, including breaks, regular hours, and overtime hours, are left to the employer to decide, and are usually based on the needs of the business. However, if breaks are given, the DOL does have guidelines on this issue:
- If coffee breaks or rest breaks of 20 minutes or less are given, they must be paid.
- Lunch breaks, which is a break of 30 minutes or longer for eating a meal, where the employee is fully relieved of duties (performing no work), do not have to be paid.
There is no law in Texas that requires employers to pay additional wages, such as premium pay, for working holidays or weekends. Individual company policy generally sets premium pay.
The Payday Law does not require an employer to offer fringe benefits such as vacation pay, holiday pay, or other pay for hours not worked. However, if the employer offers these benefits in writing, they are required to follow their policy or employment agreement. The employer can set the policy on how benefits are earned, accrued, and used. The employer also sets the policy for if these benefits are paid out when not used, except for any policy which might be considered discriminatory as defined by law.
Employees who are exempt from the overtime provisions of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) must be paid at least once a month; others must be paid at least twice a month. Semi-monthly pay periods must contain as nearly as possible an equal number of days. Within those rules, an employer may designate any paydays they choose.
Employers must post notices of paydays in a place where they will be easily seen. If an employer does not designate paydays, the paydays are the first and 15th of each month.
If an employee quits, they must be paid in full at the next regular payday. Terminated employees must be paid in full within six days.
If an employee is not paid on a payday for any reason, including the employee's absence, the employer must pay those wages on another business day as requested by the employee.
Bonuses or wages paid on a commission basis are due in a timely manner according to the terms of agreement between the employee and employer.
The deadline to pay the employee’s final wages is listed below.
- Laid Off / Discharge / Fired: Final payment is due within six (6) calendar days of the last day.
- Quit / Resign / Retire: Final payment is due on the next regularly scheduled payday after the effective date of resignation.
If an employee gives notice they are leaving, the employer is not required to let the person work through the notice date or to pay through the notice date. This means the employer can accept the notice immediately and is not required to pay you for the notice period.
An employer is required to pay for unused benefits (vacation, holiday, sick leave, parental leave, or severance pay) only if the employer’s written policy or agreement provides for these benefits.
Employers must get proper written authorization before making a payroll deduction. The employer may not make deductions unless:
- Ordered by a court of competent jurisdiction, such as in court-ordered child support payments.
- Authorized by state or federal law, such as IRS withholding.
- Authorized in writing by the employee, and then only for a lawful purpose (authorizations may not be too general or too broad).
Deductions for out-of-pocket loans to an employee, even with an oral agreement to repay, are allowed only if the deduction is authorized in writing.
An employer who received an income withholding order is required to withhold from the employee’s wages. This includes withholding any severance pay, commissions, bonuses or amounts paid in lieu of vacation time that the employee may be due under company policy or agreement.
If an employee quit while in possession of company property and is due a final paycheck, the employer cannot hold wages to recover the property unless the employer is authorized to do so by law, is required to do so by a court, or if the employer has written authorization from the employee for the deduction. Otherwise, the employer would need to attempt to recover the property by other means, such as civil remedies (e.g., lawsuit, small claims court or police report) or make arrangements with the employee outside of a wage deduction.