Is it illegal for an employer to pay less than minimum wage if they are paying under the table?

My husband worked 9 hours a day, 5 days a week at a tire shop and was paid

everyday in cash 60. I tried doing the math, and that is a little over$ 6.25 hour. His lunch break was less than 30 minutes and sometimes the boss made him and his coworkers work through their lunch break. I’d like to know is it illegal to pay less than minimum wage and what is the minimum time for a lunch break? Is it illegal to have your employees work through their lunch break?

Asked on September 8, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

1) Your state does not require employees to get any lunch breaks; it's up to the employer whether to grant time for lunch or not.
2) Hourly employees must be paid for ALL time worked, including time that is theoretically "at lunch"--if they're working, it is work time, and is therefore compensible.
3) There is no exception to minimum wage for paying in cash or under the table. 
4) If your husband works 9 hours/day, 5 days/week, his working 45 hours per week and must be paid overtime (time and a half) for 5 yours per week.
So, your husband is earning $300/week, when in fact he should be paid 40 hours per week at $7.25/hour, or $290, and another 5 hours each week at $10.87 per hour, or another $54.35--he should be paid $344.35 or so per week, and is being shortchanged by at least $44/week. He could file a wage and hour complaint with the state or federal department of labor to get back wages and overtime for up to the last 2 years of work under this arrangement.

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