The New Mexico employment
law guide

The New Mexico labor laws every business owner should know

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Wages and breaks

New Mexico Minimum Wage

The current minimum wage in New Mexico is $12.00.

The Santa Fe and Santa Fe County minimum wage is $12.10.

The Las Cruces minimum wage is $10.50.

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Tipped min wage

The minimum wage for tipped employees is $3.00.

Employees in Albuquerque who receive tips may be paid a cash wage of $7.20 if the cash wage and tips total at least the local minimum wage.

Employees in Las Cruces who receive more than $30 a week in tips may be paid a minimum wage of $4.95 if the cash wage and tips total at least the local minimum wage.

Employees in Santa Fe County who receive more than $30 a month in tips may be paid a cash wage of $4.21 an hour if the cash wage and tips total at least the local minimum wage.

Employees are allowed to participate in tip pooling or sharing arrangements, but New Mexico law does not address whether employers may require employees to do so.

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New Mexico Overtime

Employers are required to pay employees an overtime rate of 1 ½ time their regular rate of pay when they work more than 40 hours in a workweek, unless otherwise exempt.

The federal overtime laws require that the minimum salary requirement for administrative, professional, and executive exemptions is $684 per week, or $35,568 per year.

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New Mexico Meal Breaks

There are no state laws regarding breaks or meal periods, so federal law applies. The federal law does not require employers to provide breaks, but if they choose to do so, breaks less than 20 minutes must be paid. Meal periods do not need to be paid as long as the employees are free to do as they wish.

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New Mexico Rest breaks

There are no state laws regarding breaks or meal periods, so federal law applies. The federal law does not require employers to provide breaks, but if they choose to do so, breaks less than 20 minutes must be paid. Meal periods do not need to be paid as long as the employees are free to do as they wish.

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Final paychecks in New Mexico

Employers have 5 days to pay all due wages to employees who are fired or laid off if the wages are a fixed amount. If they are based on a task or commission or other method of calculation, they have 10 days to pay the wages.

If an employee quits or leaves as a result of a labor dispute, the employer has until the next regularly scheduled payday to pay all due wages, according to wage and hour laws.

New Mexico child labor laws

New Mexico Child labor laws prohibit minors 14 and 15 years of age from working outside of the following hours: non-school hours, 3 hours on a school day, 18 hours in a school week, 8 hours on a non-school day, 40 hours in a non-school week. They may only work between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., except from June 1 through Labor Day, when the hours extend to 9 p.m.

There are no time restrictions for minors 16 years of age and older.

Leave requirements

New mexico Sick days

Employers are not required to provide paid or unpaid sick leave but must comply with their own established policies if they choose to implement one.

New Mexico Family and medical leave

Employers may be required to provide an employee unpaid medical leave in accordance with the Family and Medical Leave Act or other federal laws, which includes taking leave to care for a family member. 

New Mexico Bereavement leave

Employers are not required to provide bereavement leave. 

New Mexico Vacation time

Employers are not required to provide vacation leave but must comply with their own established policies if they choose to implement one.

New Mexico Holiday leave

Private employers are not required to provide paid or unpaid time off for holidays.

New Mexico Jury Duty Leave

Employers do not have to pay employees for time spent responding to a jury summons, but employees cannot be terminated or otherwise penalized for doing so.

Employees also cannot be required to use vacation or sick leave for time spent responding to a jury summons.

New Mexico Voting time

Employees whose workday begins within 2 hours of the polls opening and ends less than 3 hours before polls close are to be given up to 2 hours of paid leave to vote.

New Mexico Domestic Violence or Sexual Assault Leave

Employees are entitled to up to 14 days of intermittent unpaid leave in any calendar year and up to eight hours in a day to obtain an order of protection or other judicial relief from domestic abuse or to meet with law enforcement officials, attorneys, or advocates, or to attend related court proceedings.

New Mexico Volunteer Emergency Responder Leave

Employers must provide their employees who are volunteer emergency responders, such as firefighters, with up to 10 days of leave per year to respond to an emergency.

New Mexico Civil Air Patrol Leave

Employers must allow their employees who are members of the Civil Air Patrol to take up to 15 days of leave per year for search and rescue missions.

New Mexico Military Leave

Employers must reinstate an employee to their previous position after serving in the National Guard, US Armed Forces, or the reserves. If the employee cannot be reinstated to their previous position, they are entitled to a position with similar seniority and other benefits unless the employer’s circumstances have changed so much that reemployment would be impossible or unreasonable.

For one year, the employer may not discharge the employee without cause.

Hiring and firing

New Mexico Discrimination Laws

Federal law makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate on the basis of: Race, Color, Age, Sex, Sexual orientation, Gender, Gender identity, Religion, National origin, Pregnancy, Genetic information, including family medical history, Physical or mental disability, Child or spousal support withholding, Military or veteran status, Citizenship and/or immigration status.

Additionally, New Mexico law makes it illegal to discriminate on the basis: Status as a smoker or non-smoker; Marital status; Spousal affiliation.

Click here to read our blog on what acceptable and unacceptable questions to ask during an interview.

New Mexico Termination LAws

New Mexico is an employment-at-will state, which means that without a written employee contract, employees can be terminated for any reason at any time, provided that the reason is not discriminatory and that the employer is not retaliating against the employee for a rightful action.

New Mexico Record-Keeping Laws

Regarding employment and payroll data, under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and others, you must:

For at least 3 years: keep payroll records, certificates, agreements, notices, collective bargaining agreements, employment contracts, and sales and purchase records. Also keep completed copies of each employee’s I-9 for three years after they are hired. If the employee works longer than three years, hold on to the form for at least one year after the employee leaves. 

For at least 2 years: Keep basic employment and earning records like timecards, wage-rate tables, shipping and billing records, and records of additions to or deductions from wages. Also keep the records that show why you may pay different wages to employees of different sexes, such as wage rates, job evaluations, seniority and merit systems, and collective bargaining agreements.

For at least 1 year: The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says employers should keep all employment records for at least one year from the employee’s date of termination. 

Other record-keeping laws that may apply to you: 

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, you need to keep records of job-related injuries and illnesses for five years. But some records, like those covering toxic substance exposure, have to be kept for 30 years.

You must keep files of benefit plans and seniority and merit systems while they are in effect and for at least a year after they end. You must also retain summary descriptions and annual reports of benefits plans for six years.

If your company is covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act, you must also retain relevant records of leaves, notices, policies, and more for three years. 

Additional laws that may apply to you.

New Mexico Background Check Laws

Employers who run background checks should ensure they’re following the requirements of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

New Mexico requires that employers conduct background checks on the following types of employees: School personnel; Childcare center personnel; Those working at a juvenile detention, correction, or treatment facility; Home health agency personnel; Homemaker agency personnel; Personnel working in a home for the aged or disabled; Personnel working in a group home; Personnel working in an adult foster care home; Guardian service providers; Those working for a case management entity that serves people with developmental disabilities; Those working for a private residence that provides personal care, adult residential care, or nursing care for two or more people who are not related to the owner or operator of the residence; Adult day care center personnel; Boarding home personnel; Adult residential care home personnel; Personnel who provide respite, companion, or personal care services.

Additionally, background checks are required for those providing care in any of the following facilities: A nursing facility; An intermediate facility; A mentally retarded care facility; A general acute care facility; A psychiatric facility; or A rehabilitation facility.

New Mexico Credit and Investigative Check laws

New Mexico does not expressly allow or prohibit employers from obtaining credit checks on applicants or employees.

New Mexico Arrest and Conviction Check laws

Employers may not ask if an applicant has a criminal record until they have reviewed the applicant’s application and are discussing employment with them.

New Mexico COBRA

COBRA is a federal law that allows many employees to continue their health insurance benefits after their employment ends. Because federal COBRA only applies to employers that have 20 or more employees, many states have adopted their own versions of the law, which are known as “mini-COBRAs.” New Mexico’s mini-COBRA allows employees to continue their coverage for up to 6 months. When a triggering event occurs, employers should notify the insurer of the employee’s (or their dependent’s) change of status and last known address.

New Mexico Whistleblower Protection Laws

Employers may not discharge or discriminate against an employee for doing any of the following: Exercising their rights under the Minimum Wage Act; Exercising their right to domestic-violence leave; Filing a claim for workers’ compensation; Filing a claim for occupational disease benefits; Filing a complaint or participating in proceedings regarding workplace safety; Filing a complaint, opposing, or participating in a proceeding under the New Mexico Human Rights Act.

New Mexico Social Media Laws

New Mexico employers may not request or require job applicants to disclose the usernames or passwords of their social media accounts.

Compliance Calendar

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This summary is not qualified legal advice. Laws are always subject to change, and they can vary from municipality to municipality. It’s up to you to make sure you’re compliant with all laws and statutes in your area. If you need more compliance help, we recommend consulting with a qualified lawyer, checking with your local government agencies, or signing up for Homebase to get help from our certified HR Pros.