New Mexico Break Laws

April 13th 2024

Break laws govern the rights and responsibilities of employees and employers regarding meal breaks, rest periods, and other forms of relaxation during working hours. However, employers in New Mexico are only required to provide one type of break, which is the lactating or breastfeeding break.

In this comprehensive guide, we elaborate on the specifics of New Mexico break laws to clarify the rights and responsibilities of employers and employees despite not having a state law concerning rest and meal breaks.

This article covers:

Rest Breaks in New Mexico

In New Mexico, employers are not required to provide short periods for rest breaks. However, employers can include this break entitlement in their company policy. Rest periods of short duration are 20 minutes or less and are customarily compensated as worked hours.

Meal Breaks in New Mexico

New Mexico employers are not mandated by state or federal law to provide meal breaks. However, employers can provide meal periods as part of their company’s policy or custom.

A bona fide meal break is generally 30 minutes long and not compensated as work time. Employees taking meal breaks are entirely relieved of their duty. If the employee is not relieved and required to perform any duties, whether active or inactive, while on meal break must be compensated.

Breastfeeding Breaks in New Mexico

The New Mexico Human Rights Act (NMHRA) mandates employers to provide a space and reasonable break time for nursing mothers to express breast milk at work. According to New Mexico Statutes § 28-20-2, employers should provide the following to their employees who are nursing mothers:

  • Flexible break time to express breast milk.
  • A clean and private space to use the breast pump at work should be near the employee’s workstation and not a bathroom.

Employers in New Mexico may provide refrigeration or cold storage for breast milk but are not liable. Furthermore, employers are not liable for paying nursing mothers time for breastfeeding.

Break Obligations for Minor Employees in New Mexico

In New Mexico, employers are not legally required to provide breaks to their employees who are under the age of 18, just like they are not required to provide breaks to adult employees. However, if an employer decides to offer rest breaks and meal periods to their minor employees, they must follow the breaks and meal period regulations set by the FLSA.

Penalties for Employers in New Mexico Violating Break Laws

The key to understanding New Mexico break laws is acknowledging that employers must pay employees for all the time they perform work. If an employer provides their employees with rest and meal breaks, the short breaks of less than 20 minutes are compensated. On the other hand, employees who work through their meal breaks must be paid. If an employer elects these breaks and fails to do so, they have violated break laws.

Learn more about New Mexico Labor Laws through our detailed guide.

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.