In order to protect workers, New Mexico has strict laws that govern employment practices. Wage and hour statutes cover topics including minimum wage, overtime pay and breaks. Violating these laws can result in costly litigation and penalties. Further, a company that does not abide by wage and hour standards could garner a bad reputation, which is never good for business.
Minimum Wage in New Mexico
The minimum wage in New Mexico is $7.50 an hour, slightly above the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. The New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions enforces the $7.50 an hour rate. Per the New Mexico Minimum Wage Act, it is possible for municipalities to implement their own rate as long as it is higher than the state’s rate.
Minimum Wage of Tipped Workers: There is an exception to the $7.50 rate when it comes to people who earn more than $30 in tips every month. The law states that businesses may pay those workers $2.13 an hour, which is also the federal rate. However, once tips are factored in, the employee must have earned at least $7.50 an hour.
Does Minimum Wage Apply to Me: While every employer is required to pay workers at least the minimum wage, there are several exceptions. For example, if a company provides housing, utilities, supplies or food to a worker in the agriculture industry, the value of those items may be deducted from the worker’s wages.
There are a number of workers who are exempted from New Mexico’s minimum wage law, including the following: people who are employed in a private home; people involved in charitable, religious or non-profit work; certain agricultural workers; people who work in sales and are paid on commission; some students working after school hours; and seasonal employees whose company has a certificate from the New Mexico Labor Relations Department.
For a full list of exemptions, visit the Minimum Wage Act.
When Are Raises Required: New Mexico does not have any law in place that requires employers to give workers raises. Instead, raises are typically a matter of agreement between the worker and the employer.
Work Hours in New Mexico
Under the Minimum Wage Act, no one may be required to work more than 40 hours over the course of seven days without receiving overtime pay.
If workers do put in more than 40 hours, the company must pay them one and a half times their regular hourly rate for each hour worked over 40 hours. The federal government has the same law in place regarding the pay rate. The Fair Labor Standards Act does state that working holidays or weekends does not automatically guarantee a worker will be paid at a higher rate, unless the hours on those days are overtime. Extra pay for those days is typically a matter of negotiation between the employer and employee.
Guaranteed Breaks and Meals: New Mexico does not have a law that requires employers to provide breaks for employees. Instead, businesses in the state must abide by federal laws, which note that all workers must be paid for the time spent working. Therefore, if someone must work through his or her lunch, he or she must be paid for that time. Additionally, short breaks, or those lasting five to 20 minutes, must be paid. Federal law states that employers do not have to pay for a meal break, nor are they required to give a worker a meal break.
Nursing mothers are the exception to this law. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires employers to give nursing mothers a reasonable break time to express milk for the first year after the child’s birth. Employers are also required to provide a place, other than a bathroom, where nursing mothers may do this.
Paid Time Off and Sick Pay: There are no state or federal laws that require employers to grant workers paid time off or sick pay. These issues are a matter of agreement. However, if the employer has promised a worker either of these, there is a legal obligation to grant it.
Notice Period for Employee Termination: There are no federal or state laws that dictate a notice period for terminating an employee.
Plant Closings & Layoffs: New Mexico abides by federal law when it comes to plant closings and layoffs. The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification law applies to employers with at least 100 full-time employees or at least 100 employees who work a combined 4,000 hours or more every week. Under the law, covered employers must give 60 days’ notice of a mass layoff, or a layoff of at least 33 percent of the workforce. Additionally, these employers must give 60 days’ notice of a plant closing.
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