New Mexico Minimum Wage Laws: What can you expect for 2020 and beyond?


Southwestern HR Consulting is highlighting important information about minimum wage rates you need to know as an employer in New Mexico. If your business falls outside of Albuquerque, Bernalillo County, Las Cruces, Santa Fe County, or Santa Fe, you are required to pay the state minimum wage. If you are within the locations listed, special wage provisions apply.

Albuquerque – Minimum Wage
The City of Albuquerque Minimum Wage Ordinance requires the City to post the adjusted minimum wage for the forthcoming year on the City’s internet home page each year by October 15. The minimum wage required to be paid from 1/1/20 – 12/31/20 has changed and is outlined below:

• Starting January 1, 2020, the minimum wage will be
• Starting January 1, 2020, the minimum wage will be
$8.35 if the employee’s employer provides
healthcare and/or childcare benefits to the
employee during any pay period and the employer
pays an amount for these benefits equal to or in
excess of an annualized cost of $2,500.00.

• Starting January 1, 2020, the minimum wage for
tipped employees will be $5.60.

Bernalillo County – Minimum Wage
If your business is located in Rio Rancho, you will want to verify your county. While the majority of the city lies in Sandoval County and follows the state minimum wage, a small portion lies in Bernalillo County. Bernalillo County has its own minimum wage ordinances:

• Effective January 1, 2019, the minimum wage in
Bernalillo County is $9.05/hr.
• For tipped employees in Bernalillo County, the
minimum wage is the federal minimum of $2.13/hr.
If the tipped employee’s hourly rate does not equal
or exceed $9.05/hr with tips, the employer shall pay
the difference between the wage received and $9.05.

City of Santa Fe and Santa Fe County – Minimum Wage
The City of Santa Fe decided in 2007 to adjust the Living Wage with the annual cost of living. Santa Fe County also passed a very similar ordinance in 2014. Each year, change to the Living Wage in both the City of Santa Fe and Santa Fe County is made March 1:

• City of Santa Fe Living Wage: $11.80/hr
• For tipped employees in Santa Fe County, the Living
Wage is $3.53/hr. If the tipped employee’s hourly
rate does not equal or exceed $11.80/hr with tips,
the employer shall pay the difference between the
wage received and $11.80.

Las Cruces – Minimum Wage
As of January 1, 2019, all Las Cruces employers shall pay all employees no less than:

• Minimum wage: $10.10/hr
• Tipped employees should be paid no less than the
tipped minimum wage of $4.04/hr. (Tipped
employee means an employee who customarily and
regularly receives more than $30/wk in tips)

In addition, tipped workers will receive an increased minimum cash wage on the same schedule, from the current $2.13, to $2.35 on January 1, 2020, then to $2.55 on January 1, 2021, then to $2.80 on January 1, 2022, and finally to $3.00 on January 1, 2023. Tip pooling is allowed, only among wait staff.

In very simple terms, violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) Minimum Wage and Overtime provisions, posted on the Department of Labor’s website, equals a civil monetary penalty of $2,014 per incident. However, it is not that simple. Take for example a Tennessee-based restaurant enterprise, Las Maracas. In August 2019, the Department of Labor published that Las Maracas has paid $67,781 in back wages and liquidated damages to 56 employees after the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) investigated and found the employer violated minimum wage, overtime, and recordkeeping provisions of the FLSA. In addition, the employer is also paying a civil penalty of $20,232 for the repeat nature of the violations.

FLSA Statute of Limitations on Back Pay
So what constitutes “back pay” owed to an employee? Back pay is the wages you failed to pay an employee in the past and still owe. Specifically, back pay is the difference between what you paid and what you should have paid. Back pay can include unpaid:
• Minimum wage
• Overtime wages
• Promised wage increases

Generally, there is a two-year statute of limitations after the wage violation occurs if your business had ongoing wage violations. If you “willfully” violate the FLSA, there is a three year statute of limitations. The employee cannot receive back wages for violations that go back further than the statute of limitations. SWHRC, Inc. can help you evaluate your organization’s pay practices and create a compensation strategy and policy that will keep you compliant and limit your liabilities.

Disclaimer: As the employer, you, of course, have the final decision on your approach to all advisement. All information in this blog was garnered from applicable County and Municipality websites and applies to New Mexico companies. Those companies outside of NM should contact SWHRC to verify the minimum wage rates for their specific state/county/city.

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