If you have a Texas job with non-stop labor, your employer may expect you to work overtime. While the long hours can cut into your personal time, the extra money in your paycheck can be worth the work. When you receive your pay, you may assume that your employer calculated your hours correctly.
However, a study in 2017 by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) found that many employers cut wages short to save on payroll. Employers engaging in wage theft find loopholes in their calculations that prevent workers from receiving a fair wage.
Workers lost $8 billion in expected wages
The study by EPI looked at the ten most populous states in the U.S. When calculating reported instances of wage theft, they discovered that workers in those states lost $8 billion in expected pay over a year. On average, each worker lost out on $64 per week, or $3,300 per year.
Wage theft is not always obvious
Employers undercut pay through a variety of subtle ways. They may report overtime hours incorrectly. And wage theft can occur when your employer asks you to forgo lunch breaks or work while not clocked in. If you receive tips, your employer may keep an unfair amount.
Workers improperly labeled as independent contractors are also often underpaid for their roles. And their contractor status can mean they lose out on overtime benefits.
Increased overtime should mean increased pay
Texas workplaces like oil fields, hospitals and construction sites never stop running. And employers may expect employees to work longer hours to meet expected deadlines or increase the output of work. But if they feel that the extra wages cut into their profits, they may try to find ways to cut down on payroll.
While you may feel that extra work means more money in your pocket, you may want to keep track of what you receive.