Wage Deductions: Can I Dock Costs from Employee Wages?

Texas employers may be able to make deductions from employee wages under certain circumstances, but it is essential for employers to know that they must do so in compliance with the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Texas Payday Law. Under federal and state law, certain types of deductions are always permitted, while others may be permitted in Texas if an employer obtains written employee authorization. Then, some types of deductions are never permitted, even if an employee authorizes such a deduction in writing. The Frisco employment law attorneys at Simon Paschal PLLC can assist your business with wage deductions and employer responsibilities under state and federal law.

Deductions Required by Law

Employers are required to make certain deductions from employee paychecks, such as withholding taxes, FICA tax, garnishments that have been mandated by a federal court, any court-ordered family support, and IRS tax levies. These deductions are not typically considered to be “costs” since an employer must make these deductions.

Deductions Permitted Under Texas Law with Written Employee Authorization

Under the Texas Payday Law, there are certain types of costs that can be deducted from an employee’s paycheck if the employer receives written authorization from the employee, and as long as the deductions do not result in violations of the FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime requirements. Generally speaking, the following are categories of deductions cited by the Texas Workforce Commission that are permitted under Texas law when your company receives written authorization from your employee to dock his or her paycheck for these costs:

  • Administrative fees for family support or other wage attachment deductions
  • Meals and lodging
  • Loans from the employer
  • Wage advances, including vacation pay advances
  • Wage overpayment
  • Uniform costs
  • Union dues
  • Misappropriated cash
  • Store inventory purchased by the employee on credit
  • Employee’s personal use of company equipment
  • Employee’s personal use of company credit
  • Damage or other losses the employee caused
  • Drug screening for the employee
  • Physicals required for the employee
  • Trainings that are not work-related
  • Costs paid by the employer for the employee’s traffic tickets, court fees, and related costs

Even with written authorization from the employee, most of these deductions are only lawful if they do not violate wage laws. Accordingly, deductions cannot result in the employee being paid less than the minimum wage per hour in any given paycheck.

Do Not Dock an Employee’s Wages without Written Authorization

It can be frustrating for employers in Texas to deal with costs related to an employee’s violation of a company rule or policy. In such scenarios, many employers want to withhold these costs from the employee’s wages to repay the company’s losses. However, if the employee has not provided written authorization for such a deduction, you cannot dock an employee’s paycheck for these costs.

Contact Our Texas Employment Law Attorneys

If you have any questions about the types of deductions you are allowed to make from employee paychecks, or the process you must follow in order to dock an employee’s paycheck for certain costs, you should seek advice from one of our experienced Texas employment lawyers. Our firm can assist you with obtaining written authorization from employees for paycheck deductions and can advise you if you may be subject to wage or hour violations. Contact Simon Paschal PLLC for more information on how we can help your business.

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