Stay on Top of Minimum Wage Increases!
As is a growing trend across the United States, New Mexico does not have one minimum wage, but rather six (yep, six!). If you employ minimum wage employees, it is important to stay on top of these rapidly changing rates in order to comply with the New Mexico Minimum Wage Act as well as local ordinances and avoid a Wage & Hour claim.
This means a few things:
- Pay employees at least the minimum hourly wage for all hours worked between 0-40;
- Pay employees one and a half times the minimum hourly wage for all hours worked over 40 hours per week unless the specific employee is exempt. Be careful not to misclassify employees! (paying an employee a salary does not an exempt employee make – they must meet the requirements for one of the specific exemptions allowed by the Act);
- Adjust employee hourly rates when minimum wage changes. Be thoughtful of those employees whose hourly rate is above minimum wage and make sure you are adjusting their wages to reflect the change as well (i.e. don’t let minimum wage “catch up” with their pay unless you enjoy disgruntled employees);
- When a minimum wage change occurs in the middle of a pay period, err on the side of overpaying employees. Some payroll systems give you a hard time when making a change mid-period. In that case, making the change retroactive to the beginning of the period in which the increase occurred will insulate you from Wage & Hour claims;
- If you have tipped employees, it is imperative that you have a strong system for them to declare their tips and, if there is a week in which the tipped employee minimum wage plus those tips divided by the number of hours worked does not equal minimum wage, you pay them the difference; and
- Last, but certainly not least, don’t forget to update your minimum wage postings! Employers are required to post, in a prominent location, a notice of compliance with the applicable minimum wage (in both English and Spanish).
Here are the current New Mexico minimum hourly wages as well as upcoming increases:
- State of New Mexico
$7.50/hour; $2.13/hour for tipped employees (as long as their tips ensure they are making at least $7.50/hour). This rate applies anywhere that has not been impacted by local minimum wage regulation.
$8.95/hour; $5.35/hour for tipped employees (as long as their tips ensure they are making at least $8.95/hour. This amount is set to increase on January 1, 2019, to $9.20/hour; $5.50/hour for tipped employees (again, as long as their tips take them to $9.20/hour). In the Albuquerque Minimum Wage Ordinance, there is an incentive for employers to provide healthcare and/or childcare benefits equal to or in excess of the $2,500.00 minimum annual cost: In this case, 2019 minimum wage will be $8.20/hour (currently $7.95).
- Bernalillo County
$8.85/hour; $2.13/hour for tipped employees (as long as their tips ensure they are making at least $8.85/hour). This amount is also set to increase on January 1, 2019, to $9.05/hour. The tipped wage will stay that same, but the tips must now take the employee to at least $9.05/hour instead of $8.85.
- Las Cruces
$9.20/hour; $3.68/hour for tipped employees (same requirement that the tips ensure the employee is paid at least the $9.20/hour minimum wage). Although the Las Cruces Minimum Wage Ordinance did see some delays in its implementation, on January 1, 2019, this amount is also set to increase to $10.10/hour; $4.04 for tipped employees (same requirement for tips – must ensure the employee makes at least minimum wage).
- Santa Fe
$11.40/hour; $2.13/hour for tipped employees (as long as their tips get them to $11.40/hour). The Living Wage Ordinance was enacted on March 1, 2018, with the goal of providing a “minimum hourly wage necessary for a person to achieve a higher standard of living.”
- Santa Fe County
That’s right, it’s different “for businesses located throughout Santa Fe County, outside of the incorporated boundaries of the City of Santa Fe, City of Espanola and the Town of Edgewood.” $11.40/hour; $3.42/hour for tipped employees (they also have to make enough tips to reach the minimum wage).
If you do receive a Wage & Hour Claim or other complaint regarding minimum wage, we’ve got your back! Let Human Resources Experience, LLC, handle all of your employment law needs!
Human Resources Experience, LLC
320 Gold Ave. SW, Suite 640
Albuquerque, NM 87102