New Mexico Salaried Employees Laws

April 24th 2024

Salaried employees in New Mexico are individuals compensated with a fixed, predetermined amount. Paychecks are scheduled at regular intervals, often biweekly (every second week) or less frequently. Federal and state laws govern specific regulations outlining the working conditions of employees.

The objective of this article is to outline the relevant laws and regulations that define the rights and duties of both salaried employees and employers in New Mexico. The article covers various areas, including payment protocols, break and leave privileges, and the categorization of employees into exempt and non-exempt classifications.

This article covers:

Payment of Wages for Salaried Employees in New Mexico

Each US state has the autonomy to establish its own labor laws. New Mexico surpassed the federal wage standard under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The minimum hourly rate in New Mexico is $12.00, except in Santa Fe County, where employees earn $14.60 per hour.

New Mexico Minimum Wage $12.00 per hour
Santa Fe County: $14.03 per hour
New Mexico Overtime Laws 1.5 times the minimum wage for any time worked over 40 hours per week.
$18.00 for minimum wage workers, $21.90 in Santa Fe County

Under federal law, tips are discretionary payments from customers to specific employees (i.e., servers and bartenders). In New Mexico, tipped employees, who regularly receive gratuities, have a minimum wage of $3.00 per hour. But this is only applicable if the combined total of base wages and earned tips equates to or exceeds $12.00. If the sum is lower, employers must compensate for the difference.

In Albuquerque, Las Cruces, and Santa Fe County, employers have the flexibility to compensate their employees. They can combine cash and tips as long as they meet the local minimum wage requirements, with hourly rates ranging from $3.62 to $7.20.

The New Mexico Stat. § 50-4-2 requires employers to pay their employees on a biweekly basis. Each pay period occurs every two weeks. However, executives, administrative personnel, and professionals can opt for a monthly payroll. In cases where the employee wishes to change their pay period, both parties must have a written agreement.

Salaried Employees Eligibility for Overtime for New Mexico

Under the FLSA, salaried employees in New Mexico may be eligible for overtime pay unless they meet the criteria for exempt status. Exemptions are often based on job duties, salary level, and salary basis.

Non-exempt salaried employees in New Mexico qualify for overtime pay if:

  • They are not classified as bona fide executive, administrative, or professional workers.
  • They exceed the 40-hour workweek.
  • Earn less than $684 per week.

Pay for Working Overtime for New Mexico Salaried Employees

The FLSA defines a workweek as a consecutive 7-day period. If employees work any hours exceeding 40 in a week, they are considered overtime. Employees must receive compensation at a higher rate.

For non-exempt employees, the rate is 1.5 times the regular hourly rate. In New Mexico, the overtime hourly rate for minimum-wage workers is around $18.00 per hour. However, in Santa Fe County, the overtime hourly rate is $21.90 per hour due to the higher local minimum wage.

Precisely monitoring the number of hours worked is crucial for overtime compensation, and this can be a tedious task. Employers can simplify by using a timesheet app, monitoring time and attendance, or even incorporating overtime compliance software to make overtime pay computations more straightforward and efficient.

Exceptions to Overtime Exemptions for New Mexico Salaried Employees

According to federal regulations governing overtime exemptions, specific groups of employees referred to as white-collar workers, are excluded. This classification includes executives, administrative workers, professionals, and outside salespeople. Along with these categories, other professions are also exempt from overtime laws. These includes:

  1. Government employees.
  2. Volunteers working for educational, charitable, religious, or nonprofit organizations.
  3. G.I. Bill trainees during their training period.
  4. Seasonal employees of employers holding a valid certificate issued by the Labor Relations Division of the Workforce Solutions Department.
  5. Agricultural workers.
  6. Employees involved in the handling, drying, packaging, or canning of any horticultural or agricultural product during its manufacturing process.
  7. Employees of nonprofit, religious, and charitable organizations who reside on the premises.
  8. Salespersons and those compensated through commission, piecework, or a flat-rate schedule.

Learn more detail about New Mexico Overtime Laws.

Violation of Salaried Employees Wages Payment in New Mexico

Timely payment of wages is considered a fundamental right for employees under the New Mexico Wage Payment Law. Employers are expected to adhere to this requirement, and failure to do so can result in penalties.

Under Chapter 50, Article 4 of the New Mexico Wage Payment Law, various violations related to wage payment are outlined. Employers must pay their employees regularly, and any delays may lead to penalties, with specifics varying depending on circumstances. Employees who do not receive their wages on time are entitled to compensation for each day the payment is overdue, up to a maximum limit.

Distinctions are made in penalties between voluntary departure and termination or layoff by the employer. If an employee voluntarily leaves, penalties may commence on the originally scheduled due date of the paycheck, whereas termination or layoff may entail penalties within a specific timeframe after the scheduled payment date. In cases of disputes over wage payments, employees have the right to file complaints, seek to reclaim owed wages and damages or negotiate with the employer.

Furthermore, intentional wage withholding can lead to criminal charges against the employer, potentially resulting in financial penalties or imprisonment. In civil litigation scenarios, employees may recover unpaid wages and damages, with the responsible employer covering legal fees and related costs.

Male and Female Salaried Employees in New Mexico

New Mexico regulations state that both male and female employees have the right to receive equal compensation for comparable work. Differences in compensation are only permissible when based on factors like:

  • Seniority,
  • Merit,
  • Quantity,
  • Quality of production,
  • Or considerations unrelated to one’s protected class, such as sex or race.

Leave Entitlements for Salaried Employees in New Mexico

New Mexico mandates several leave entitlements for salaried employees, ensuring their rights and protection in various situations. Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), eligible employees are entitled to up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave within a year for medical or family-related reasons.

Additionally, employers in New Mexico must grant jury duty leave to employees without requiring the use of sick or vacation leave, and employees summoned for jury duty should not face any negative consequences as a result of fulfilling this civic duty.

During elections, employers are required to provide two hours of paid leave to employees if their shift coincides with the opening or closing hours of the polls, ensuring their ability to exercise their right to vote.

New Mexico ensures protections for employees facing domestic violence or sexual assault situations. Victims of such violence are entitled to take up to 14 days of intermittent unpaid leave within a year, with a daily limit of 8 hours, to address issues such as obtaining restraining orders, meeting with law enforcement, or attending court proceedings related to the abuse.

Military leave allows employees to take a leave of absence to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces, National Guard, or state militia. Following military service, employers are obligated to reinstate employees with the same pay and benefits, and they cannot lawfully dismiss employees without just cause within a year of their return from military duty.

These leave entitlements ensure that employees are supported and protected in various circumstances, promoting fairness and well-being in the workplace.

Break Entitlements for Salaried Employees in New Mexico

Employers have the flexibility to establish policies for salaried employees regarding meal and rest breaks. Typically, breaks lasting between 5 and 20 minutes in New Mexico are compensated. Breaks exceeding 30 minutes are not compensable.

New Mexico has established a break entitlement for female breastfeeding employees, either paid or unpaid. Breastfeeding mothers have the right to take breaks for this purpose. According to the Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace Initiative (BFWI), employers must provide a private room or space with a door, excluding bathroom stalls. Also, it should be conveniently located near the workspace.

Deductions from Exempt Employees’ Salaries in New Mexico

Exempt employees in New Mexico do not qualify for overtime pay and are exempt from certain wage and hour regulations. Common deductions for exempt employees may include those related to the following:

  • Legal Requirements: Deductions required by law, such as income tax withholding.
  • Benefits: Deductions for benefits (i.e., health insurance premiums, retirement contributions, and other voluntary benefits) the employee has opted into.
  • Leave Policies: Deductions related to paid time off (PTO) or other leave policies if the employee has exhausted their leave balance.

Termination of Employment for Salaried Employees in New Mexico

New Mexico adheres to the “employment-at-will” policy. Employers have the authority to dismiss employees for any reason, without a specific cause. Similarly, employees can resign without legal repercussions. There are, however, exceptions to this rule: employers cannot terminate an employee based on discrimination or retaliation.

State law mandates that employers should provide the final pay of terminated employees, including all wages and benefits. The disbursement of this payment occurs within 5 or 10 days after the termination date. Meanwhile, in cases where employees voluntarily resign or depart, the payment is scheduled for the next payday.

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.