New Mexico Labor Laws

March 15th 2024

This article covers:

What are New Mexico Time Management Laws?

 In the US, there are federal laws in place to manage the time spent by employees in the workplace, safeguarding their rights and guaranteeing fair pay for their efforts. These laws act as directives for employers, keeping them in check, and minimizing any forms of abuse or exploitation.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which dates back to 1938, is a critical federal law for time management, setting hourly wage rates and overtime pay, and requiring employers to keep an accurate record of their employees’ working hours. Overtime is pegged at 1.5 times the regular hourly rate for workers who exceed 40 hours a week. However, certain job categories, including executives, professionals, and administrative employees, are exempt from overtime pay depending on their job description and salary.

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is another essential federal law that governs time management in the workplace, entitling eligible employees to up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for specific family and medical reasons, such as the birth or adoption of a child or caring for a family member with a serious health condition. This act also requires employers to maintain employees’ health benefits during their leave and restore them to their previous or equivalent positions upon their return to work.

Employers who contravene federal time management laws face severe legal ramifications, including fines, back pay, and damages. If workers feel that their employer has violated federal time management laws, they can file complaints with the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division for investigation and legal action.

Overall, federal time management laws are instrumental in ensuring that workers are compensated fairly for their time and effort in the workplace, protecting them from abuse and exploitation by employers. The Fair Labor Standards Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act are vital federal laws that govern time management and worker compensation, ensuring fair labor practices across various sectors, including non-profit, public, and private organizations.

New Mexico Minimum Wage $12.00 (except for Santa Fe County — $14.60)
New Mexico Overtime Laws 1.5 times the minimum wage for any time worked over 40 hours/week
($18.00 for minimum wage workers, $21.90 in Santa Fe County)
New Mexico Break Laws Breaks not required by law

What are the Hiring, Working & Termination Laws in New Mexico?

It is against federal law, when hiring, to practice workplace discrimination, according to federal regulations which is not only immoral but also unlawful. Besides the federal laws, the New Mexico Human Rights Act expands on them. Consequently, employers are not allowed to base their hiring practices on various criteria, such as:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Sexual orientation
  • Religion
  • National origin
  • Pregnancy
  • Genetic information (including family medical history)
  • Physical or mental disability
  • Child or spousal support (wage withholding)
  • Military or veteran status
  • Citizenship and/or immigration status
  • Status as a smoker or non-smoker
  • Marital status
  • Spousal affiliation

New Mexico follows the “employment-at-will” policy, which means that employers have the right to terminate their employees for any reason or no reason at all, while employees can quit without legal consequences. There are only two exceptions – termination cannot be discriminatory or in retaliation for rightful action. The state law requires employers to provide terminated employees with their final paycheck, including all wages and benefits. The deadline for payment depends on the method of wage calculation and is set at 5 or 10 days after the termination date. If employees quit or leave due to a labor dispute, the payment is due on the next payday.

What Are the Key Labor Laws in New Mexico?

Now, we will discuss some key labor laws in New Mexico that may not be related to the categories we have previously explored. Some of these regulations include:

  • OSHA Laws – All workers must be provided with a safe and healthy environment to work in, as required by federal and state laws. The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) is the first regulation to mention healthy working conditions and it requires employers to provide those, regularly inspect for flaws and irregularities, and strive to improve work conditions. Employers must ensure workplace safety by providing proper training, education, and continuous assistance to reduce the possibility of workplace injuries, illnesses, and fatalities. This includes creating optimal working conditions free from hazards and regularly conducting research on health and safety conditions, as well as safety demonstrations. In New Mexico, the Occupational Health and Safety Bureau under the jurisdiction of New Mexico OSHA is responsible for enforcing regulations for private and public entities. Employers must comply with inspections, which can be scheduled or unscheduled, including those stemming from imminent danger reports, fatalities, worker complaints, or referrals.
  • Whistleblower Protection Laws – The purpose of these laws is to ensure employees can report illegal practices and hazards in the workplace without fear of retaliation. Such employees, called whistleblowers, must be protected under the Whistleblower protection laws. Discrimination or differential treatment is explicitly prohibited under these laws for several reasons, such as exercising the rights of whistelblowers under the Minimum Wage Act, taking domestic violence leave, filing for occupational disease benefits and workers’ compensation, and reporting workplace safety concerns to OSHA or participating in proceedings under the New Mexico Human Rights Act.
  • COBRA Laws – The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), a federal law, permits former employees to maintain their health care insurance and benefits even after they have left their job. This law is applicable to employers with more than 20 employees. Various states have implemented mini-COBRAs for businesses with fewer employees. New Mexico has its own mini-COBRA law that covers businesses with less than 20 employees. This law extends health coverage for up to 6 months following the termination of employment.
  • Background Check Laws – Employers have the option of conducting background checks, but it’s not mandatory for every job position. These checks are in line with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, a federal law that governs the accuracy, collection, and sharing of data the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
  • Credit and Investigative Check Laws – In New Mexico, there are no specific laws that forbid or authorize employers to carry out credit and background investigations on their job candidates or current workers. Nonetheless, should employers choose to conduct those checks, they must comply with the provisions outlined in the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
  • Arrest and Conviction Check Laws – Employers in New Mexico are prohibited from inquiring about a job candidate’s criminal record during the job application process. This means that job applicants are not required to disclose their criminal history on their initial application. However, once an employer decides to hire an applicant, they may request information relating to the applicant’s criminal record.
  • Social Media Laws – If you’re an employee based in New Mexico, state law has got your back when it comes to your personal social media accounts. Employers aren’t allowed to ask for your usernames or passwords, whether you’re a current employee or a job applicant.
  • Recordkeeping Laws – As a legal requirement for all New Mexico employers, they must keep records of all their employees for a period of three years. The records should include specific types and categories of information. These are the records that an employer should keep:
    • Employee name
    • Social security number
    • Occupation of the employee
    • Date of birth
    • Address including ZIP code
    • Regular hourly rate of pay
    • Basis on which wages are paid
    • A daily record of beginning and ending work, if a split shift is in question
    • Total daily or weekly net wages and deductions
    • Total gross daily or weekly wages
    • Date of each payment
    • Records of leaves, notice, and policies under the Family and Medical Leave Act
    • Records of all job-related injuries and illnesses under OSHA — for 5 years
    • Summary descriptions and annual reports of benefit plans — for 6 years
    • Specifically dangerous instances under OSHA (e.g. covering toxic substance exposure) — for 30 years

New Mexico Payment Laws

To start off, let’s take a look at the laws that govern how much employees must be paid. We’ll delve into the details of minimum wage standards, including any exceptions that may apply.

What is the Minimum Payment in New Mexico?

The term “minimum wage” refers to the lowest hourly rate that employers are required to pay their workers. While wages on a federal level are regulated by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), states have the power to set their own minimum wage, which can be higher than the federal rate. New Mexico, for instance, currently has a minimum wage of $12.00, with one exception. In Santa Fe County, minimum wage employees earn $14.60 per hour.

According to federal law, tips are optional payments made by customers to employees in certain professions, such as servers and bartenders. In New Mexico, tipped employees regularly receiving such gratuities have a minimum wage of $3.00 which applies only if the sum of the basis and earned tips is at least $12.00, but if this sum is lower, employers must pay the difference. Tip pooling, where employees share tips among themselves, is common practice but not required under New Mexico law. In Santa Fe, as of March 1, 2024, the minimum wage for tipped employees stands at $4.38 per hour.

What are the Exceptions for Minimum Payment in New Mexico?

In New Mexico, there are some employees that are exempt from the minimum wage law, such as those working in agriculture. Here is a list of other job profiles that also do not have to comply with minimum wage requirements in this state:

  • White-collar employees (bona fide executives, administrative workers, and professionals)
  • Outside salespeople, provided they are compensated on a commission basis, by piecework, or flat rate schedules
  • Individuals who work on a voluntary basis for educational, charitable, religious, or nonprofit organizations
  • Bill trainees while under training
  • Seasonal employees of employers who have a valid certificate issued by the Labor Relations Division of the Workforce Solutions Department
  • Employees working in agriculture
  • Employees engaged in handling, drying, packaging, processing, freezing, or canning of any agricultural and horticultural commodity in its unmanufactured state
  • Employees of charitable, religious, and nonprofit organizations who reside on the premises

In New Mexico, specific groups of workers including apprentices and employees with disabilities are subject to a subminimum wage, which means they can legally be paid a lower hourly rate than the standard minimum wage.

However, this lower wage must be at least 50% of the standard minimum wage, which results in at least $6.00 per hour and $7.30 per hour in Santa Fe County. For employees who are trainees, student learners, or student workers, the standard minimum wage applies and they cannot be paid the subminimum wage. Only employers who have a special certification are allowed to pay employees with disabilities the subminimum wage.

What is the Payment Due Date in New Mexico?

In New Mexico, employers are obligated by law to pay their employees regularly on a semi-monthly basis. This implies that each pay period is every two weeks. However, monthly payroll is permitted for executive, administrative, and professional staff. In case an employee wishes to have a different payroll period, it is allowed only if there is a written agreement between both parties.

What are New Mexico Overtime Laws?

According to the Fair Labor Standards Act, a working week is defined as any seven consecutive working days. If employees work less than 40 hours during this period, they will earn an hourly rate of at least the minimum wage set by the New Mexico constitution. However, any hours worked in excess of 40 will be considered overtime and must be compensated at a higher rate. For non-exempt employees, this rate is 1.5 times their regular pay rate. In New Mexico, the overtime hourly rate for minimum wage employees is typically $18.00 per hour. However, in Santa Fe County, this rate is $21.90 per hour as their minimum wage is higher.

What are Overtime Exceptions and Exemptions in New Mexico?

According to federal regulations on overtime exemptions, there are four major types of employees who do not receive protection under the law because they are considered white-collar workers, and they are administration workers, executives, professionals, and outside salespeople. These employees are not required to receive 1.5 times their regular rate of pay for working over 40 hours a week, as long as they earn at least $684 per week. Besides these categories, there are other professions that make an exception for the overtime law, and those are:

  • Any and all individuals working for the United States, the state, and a political subdivision of the state
  • Individuals who work on a voluntary basis for educational, charitable, religious, or nonprofit organizations
  • G.I. Bill trainees while under training
  • Seasonal employees of employers who have a valid certificate issued by the Labor Relations Division of the Workforce Solutions Department
  • Employees working in agriculture
  • Employees engaged in handling, drying, packaging, processing, freezing, or canning of any agricultural and horticultural commodity in its unmanufactured state
  • Employees of charitable, religious, and nonprofit organizations who reside on the premises

Learn more in detail about New Mexico Overtime Laws.

What are New Mexico Time Off/Break Laws?

According to the law in New Mexico, employers are not obligated to offer any form of breaks to their employees. However, there is one exception for lactating mothers, who are entitled to a lactating break which we will explain in further detail in a later section.

What are the Exceptions to Break Laws in New Mexico?

As an employer, you have the option to create a policy that gives your employees both meal and rest breaks. In general, breaks that are 5 to 20 minutes are compensable, while those that are 30 minutes or longer are not. It’s not mandatory, but if you do offer breaks, the length of each break determines whether you need to compensate your employees for that time.

What are New Mexico Breastfeeding Laws?

If you’re a mom who’s still breastfeeding, you have the right to take a break just for that purpose. This is true for working moms in New Mexico just as it is at the federal level. By law, the conditions for this kind of break need to be appropriate for female employees. Whether the break is paid or unpaid depends on the company’s policies. The law specifies that employers must provide a private room or space with a door that isn’t a bathroom stall. And it needs to be as close as possible to where you work.

What are New Mexico Leave Laws?

New Mexico provides two types of leaves – required and non-required leaves.

What is New Mexico Required Leave?

The following are the required leave types that New Mexico employers must provide to their employees:

  • Family and Medical Leave – In the state of New Mexico, employers are required to provide their employees with a specific type of leave. This leave is regulated by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and ensures that all employees are eligible for 12 weeks of unpaid, work-protected leave within a year’s period. This is applicable for a range of medical and family-related reasons including taking care of an own or family member’s serious health condition, a newly born child, or a placement of adoption/foster care of a child with the employee. Eligibility for this leave requires an employee to have worked for the employer for at least a year and a minimum of 1,250 work hours. This leave requirement is only applicable to employers with over 50 employees. Additionally, employers are required to provide up to 26 weeks of unpaid leave if an employee needs to take care of a member of the Armed Forces with a serious health condition, injury, or undergoing medical treatment or therapy. This is applicable only if the member is an employee’s spouse, parent, child, or next of kin.
  • Jury Duty Leave – In New Mexico, if an employee gets called for jury duty, their employer has to give them time off work. Employers cannot ask employees to use their sick or vacation leave for this reason. Furthermore, employees should not be punished in any way for being summoned to jury duty. However, there is no requirement for employers to provide compensation for the time spent on jury duty.
  • Voting Time Leave – Employers in New Mexico are required to give their employees two hours of paid leave to vote if their shift begins within two hours of the polls opening or ends less than three hours before the polls close.
  • Domestic Violence or Sexual Assault Leave – If an employee has experienced domestic or sexual violence, they have the right to take unpaid leave for up to 14 days of intermittent leave within a year, with a limit of 8 hours per day. This leave is available for specific reasons, such as obtaining an order of protection, meeting with law enforcement officials or advocates, or attending court proceedings related to the abuse.
  • Volunteer Emergency Responder Leave – Employers are expected to grant up to 10 unpaid days off to employee volunteer emergency responders in the case of an emergency. Some examples of volunteer positions that would qualify for this type of leave include firefighters, ambulance drivers, and medical technicians.
  • Civil Air Patrol Leave – New Mexico workers who are part of the Civil Air Patrol can take up to 15 days off without pay annually. This time off must be for involvement in search and rescue operations.
  • Military Leave – In the US, a leave of absence to serve in the US Armed Forces, National Guard or state militia is regulated by the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act. The act mandates that post-service, the employee must be given the same pay and benefits as before. In addition, in New Mexico, employers cannot lawfully dismiss an employee without just cause within a year of their return.

What is New Mexico Non-Required Leave?

The non-required leave types are:

  • Sick Leave – In New Mexico, employers are not obliged to provide sick leave, be it paid or unpaid.
  • Vacation Leave – In New Mexico, employers are not obligated to provide employees with any paid or unpaid leave for vacation.
  • Bereavement Leave – Unfortunately, New Mexico employers are not obligated to provide bereavement leave to their staff.
  • Holiday Leave – In New Mexico, employers are not obligated to provide their employees with holiday leave.

The following are the official federal holidays observed in the US:

State Official Holidays Date
New Year’s Day 1 January
Martin Luther King Jr. Civil Rights Day Third Monday in January
Washington’s Birthday Third Monday in February
Memorial Day Last Monday in May
Independence Day 4 July
Labor Day First Monday in September
Columbus Day Second Monday in October
Election Day Every other year
Veterans Day 11 November
Thanksgiving Day Fourth Thursday in November
Christmas Day 25 December

What are New Mexico Child Labor Laws?

The term “minors” refers to individuals under the age of 18, and child labor laws at both the federal and New Mexico state level aim to protect them from exploitation. These laws prioritize education for minors, with employment meant to supplement their academic and life experiences. Various limitations on the types of work minors can perform exist, such as hourly restrictions and restrictions on night work and hazardous occupations. While different age groups have different rules, federal law forbids all minors from working in dangerous positions. New Mexico Child Labor Laws also outline specific regulations that must be followed.

What are the Laws on Working Hours for Minors in New Mexico?

New Mexico has laws regulating child labor that vary depending on a minor’s age. These guidelines include limits on hours worked and restrictions on working at night. Any minor under 16 who wishes to work must provide a Work Permit certificate and proof of age in the form of a birth certificate, tribal ID, passport, or government-issued identification.

Age Group Work Hour Limit (School Not in Session) Work Hour Limit (School in Session) Nightwork Restrictions
Under 16 Maximum 8 hours per day
Maximum 40 hours per week
Maximum 3 hours per school day
Maximum 18 hours per week
Prohibited to work between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. (except from June 1 to Labor Day, when they can work until 9 p.m.)
16-17 No restrictions on maximum working hours No restrictions on maximum working hours No restrictions on nightwork

What are the Banned Jobs for Minors in New Mexico?

It is important to note that according to federal laws, minors are not allowed to work in any occupation that has been deemed hazardous. Some examples of these types of jobs include:

  • Electrical technicians
  • Boiler or engine room operators
  • Any work with flammable, toxic, or corrosive substances
  • Elevator-related work
  • Centrifugal machine operators
  • Any and all work including climbing
  • Any and all work including power-driven machinery
  • Any and all work including glazing and glass cutting

According to the laws in New Mexico, minors are not allowed to work in quarries or underground mines or around areas where explosives are utilized. Moreover, individuals under the age of 16 have more limitations on the jobs they can engage in. Here is a complete list of the occupations that are prohibited for minors in this state:

  • Working around belted machines while in motion
  • Working around power-driven woodworking machines
  • Working around plants or establishments containing explosive components
  • Working around plants or establishments where malt or alcoholic beverages are manufactured, packed, wrapped, or stored
  • Working around electrical hazards
  • Municipal firefighting
  • Door-to-door sales — except for non-profit activities and with parents’ or guardians’ approval
  • Any employment dangerous to limbs or injurious to the health or morals of children

Important Cautionary Note

This content is provided for informational purposes only. While we make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information presented, we cannot guarantee that it is free of errors or omissions. Users are advised to independently verify any critical information and should not solely rely on the content provided.