According to the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions, the New Mexico minimum wage increased $1.00 an hour on January 1, 2009, from $6.50 an hour to $7.50 an hour. Minimum wage for overtime for most employees will be $11.25 an hour.
The New Mexico law has its share of exceptions. For example, seasonal employees in some counties are not under the protection of the minimum wage laws, nor are employees of cotton gins. Typically, both the overtime and the minimum wage laws are not applicable to genuine executives, administrators, professionals, supervisors, and superintendents.
Any employer who has not updated his or her New Mexico minimum wage poster should do so now.
Certain workers who are hired to perform investigative work for the federal government are covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act, otherwise known as the FLSA. State law exempts them from the overtime law, which requires that employees working more than 40 hours a week must be paid 1.5 times their regular rate for their overtime. Nevertheless, they are still entitled to the federal minimum wage, at the least.
The minimum wage in New Mexico, incidentally, does not cover those workers under 18 who have not graduated from high school. It is a seldom-utilized and little-known aspect of New Mexico labor law.
Under the New Mexico Minimum Wage Act, employers can pay just $2.13 per hour to employees who regularly and customarily receive tips of more than $30 per month. However, for any pay period in which the employee does not average $5.37 per hour in tips, the employer must make up the difference in wages.
Like many states, the New Mexico minimum wage includes myriad exceptions, including exceptions for employees in domestic service in or about a private home, for federal employees, and for agricultural employees. Volunteers for educational, charitable, religious or nonprofit organizations are exempt from the New Mexico minimum wage laws. So are students working after school or on vacation.
The New Mexico state minimum wage has increased twice since July, 2007. The first increase occurred when the federal minimum wage rose on July 24, 2007. The second increase went into effect on January1, 2008. The minimum rose first from $5.15 to $5.85 per hour, then from $5.85 to $6.50, a whopping jump of $1.35 per hour, the biggest single increase in the country.
This means that the current New Mexico minimum wage is $6.50 per hour.
Other states bumped their minimum wage rates in the last few months of 2007. Nevada increased its minimum wage to $6.33 per hour. New Hampshire’s minimum was upped to $6.50 per hour, and Maine’s minimum hit $7.00 per hour.
January 1, 2008 saw other states increase their minimum wage rates along with New Mexico. Delaware, Oregon, Florida, Iowa, Massachusetts, California, Washington and Vermont all enacted cost-of-living increases to their minimum wage as of the New Year.
Of these states, Florida’s state minimum is the lowest at $6.79 per hour. California and Massachusetts both increased their state minimums to $8.00 per hour. Washington’s bump gave its state minimum wage the honor of highest in the United States at $8.07 per hour.
Under the New Mexico minimum wage statute, tipped workers still have one of the lowest rates in the country at $2.12 per hour. Under federal law the rate for tipped employees is $2.13 per hour. Other state minimum wages for tipped workers cover a very broad range, from $2.23 per hour to $8.07 per hour.
New Mexico’s state minimum wage applies to workers under the age of 18 who are in training or haven’t graduated from high school. Employers are not allowed to pay them a lower wage.
In addition, this New Mexico statute mandates that when a worker is fired, the employer must pay that worker’s final wages within 5 days. Employees on commission or who do piece work must receive their final check within ten days of termination. For a worker who quits, however, the employer can pay that worker’s final wages on the next regularly scheduled pay day.
New Mexico is not the only state with a change to the minimum wage. Vermont, and Missouri are among the fourteen states to raise its state minimum wage as of January 1, 2008. The increases in these fourteen states, however, are just the beginning of a year full of changes.
There are more minimum wage changes on the horizon, as well. On the 1st of July, 2008, West Virginia, Illinois, Michigan, Kentucky and Pennsylvania will enact raises to their state minimum wages, too. Michigan and Illinois will each up its minimum by 25 cents per hour. Illinois’s rate will go from $7.50 to $7.75 and Michigan’s new rate will be $7.40 per hour.
Pennsylvania workers will receive a raise of 90 cents per hour to $7.15 per hour. West Virginia will add 70 cents to its minimum wage rate resulting in a raise from $6.55 to $7.25 per hour. Kentucky’s minimum will change from $5.85 to $6.55 per hour, which is a foreshadowing of the change in the federal minimum which will occur later in July of 2008.
On May 24, 2006, President George W. Bush signed the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007 into law. This law established a three-step system to raise the federal minimum wage.
On July 24, 2008, the federal minimum wage rate will increase from $5.85 to $6.55 per hour.
As a result of the changes in both federal and state minimum wage laws, employers must update their labor law posters. Companies can get complete updated posters from www.laborlawcenter.com.
On January 1, 2008 the New Mexico state minimum wage will increase by 65 cents from $5.85 per hour to $6.50 per hour. This is the second increase in less than 6 months for minimum wage workers in New Mexico. The state minimum wage increases with the federal rate, so on July 24, 2007 the rate went from $5.15 per hour to $5.85 per hour.
That’s a total increase of $1.35 per hour since July for the state’s minimum wage workers.
The state wage for tipped employees remains just $2.125 per hour – one of the lowest rates in the nation. The federal rate for tipped employees is $2.13 per hour, while other states require tipped employees to be paid anywhere from $2.23 to $8.07 per hour.
New Mexico law does permit workers under the age of 18 who are training, or who have not graduated from high school, to be paid less than the state minimum wage.
Under the same statute, most employees who are fired must receive their final wages within 5 days. If an employee does piece work or works on commission, the employer has 10 days after termination to pay him or her. However, workers who resign can be paid on the next regular payday.
Within the past few months, three states have increased their minimum wages. New Hampshire’s minimum wage went to $6.50 per hour, while the Nevada minimum wage rose to $6.33. Maine’s minimum wage was also increased, to $7.00 per hour.
New Mexico is just the most recent in a series of states that have announced minimum wage hikes in 2008. Other states that will introduce cost-of-living increases to the minimum wage in January include Delaware, Oregon, Florida, Iowa, Massachusetts, California, Washington, and Vermont. Florida’s increase will result in the lowest rate at $6.79 per hour, while both Massachusetts and California will increase the state rate to $8.00. Washington’s increase to $8.07 will result in the highest minimum wage in the nation for 2008.
While the minimum wage may increase, overtime laws in many states remain the same. Federal law states that any employee who works more than 40 hours a week is entitled to overtime pay. The rate of pay is usually 1.5 times the hourly rate and is referred to as “time-and-a-half” or “overtime.” Most workers in the country are covered under federal law, plus several states have overtime laws.
Michigan, Massachusetts, Nebraska and several other states simply copy the federal requirement in that more than 40 hours a week qualifies a worker to receive overtime pay. In Kansas, the magic number for earning overtime is 46 hours a week, and Minnesota law demands overtime for weekly hours greater than 48.
For every company with four or more workers, Nebraska applies the both the federal minimum wage law and the federal overtime law.
Colorado workers receive overtime after 12 hours per day, or 40 hours a week. Restaurant and hotel employers in Connecticut must pay overtime to any employee who works seven days in a row. Workers in other fields do not earn overtime on the seventh day. Employees in Kentucky earn overtime pay more than 40 hours. These employees also earn overtime for seventh consecutive day of work, no matter how many hours they worked on the other six.
As is illustrated, state overtime laws vary widely across the country. State laws regarding minimum wage for employees who earn tips vary nationwide, too.
The federal minimum wage rate for tipped employees is $2.13 per hour. Several states, including Nebraska and Indiana, follow the federal rate of $2.13. Wisconsin, Massachusetts and North Carolina offer higher rates of $2.33, $2.63 and $2.43, respectively.
Kansas, at $1.59 per hour, has the lowest minimum wage for tipped workers.
Not all states allow for tips when calculating rates for minimum wage. Hawaii assumes a tip rate of 25 cents per hour, so employers legally have to pay only $7.00, instead of the state minimum of $7.25. Washington doesn’t allow or tips at all. Companies must pay tipped employees that same as non-tipped employees, which January 1, 2008 will be $8.07.
An aerospace defense contractor based in Broomfield, Colorado was ordered to pay almost $1 million in back wages to 904 employees in four states plus the District of Columbia.
According to sources, an investigation showed that once senior technicians reached the maximum hourly rate, they were arbitrarily and unlawfully changed to salaried-exempt status. The change in pay rate did not include a significant increase in responsibilities. Under federal law, in order to be exempt from overtime pay, employees must have decision-making powers, significant administrative duties or they must supervise three or more people. None of those conditions were met for the 111 technicians in question, so they are due $383, 235 in unpaid overtime.
In addition, all employees were routinely required to work through their lunch periods without any pay. Even if they were not able to take a lunch break, an hour was deducted from their time cards every work day. This violation resulted in payments of $593,092 to 793 employees.
Ball agreed to keep more accurate payroll records in the future, in compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act or FLSA, and to pay all required wages to employees in the future.
In late July, the U.S. Department of Labor forced Desert Plastering, Inc., a Las Vegas Nevada firm, to pay nearly $1.2 million in back pay to 1060 employees. The feds found that Desert Plastering had not paid required overtime to lathers, finishers, plasterers and estimators who worked up to 58 hours per week.
In early July, the U.S. Department of Labor forced 107 subcontractors of KBR, Inc. of Virginia to pay some $1.5 million in back wages and benefits for up to 2,600 workers who participated in the Hurricane Katrina recovery project. The construction workers were involved in repairs to the Naval Construction Battalion Center in Gulfport Mississippi or the Naval Air Station/Joint Reserve Base in Belle Chasse, Louisiana. The U.S. Department of Labor is still searching for some of the workers involved in that case. Anyone who believes that they are owed back wages for these projects can contact the nearest U.S. Department of Labor office. The average payment per worker in that case was $616.
Earlier this year, under a voluntary agreement to prevent a federal suit, Wal-Mart, Inc. agreed to pay $33 million in unpaid overtime wages to 86,680 employees throughout the nation. An internal audit revealed that the company had incorrectly classified some employees as “salary-exempt” when in fact they were entitled to overtime pay. In other cases, the company admitted that it had based overtime pay on the employee’s base hourly rate, not including incentives and bonuses in the employee’s average rate as required by law.
The Fair Labor Standard Act requires that most U.S. employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage, which is currently $5.85 per hour. The FLSA also mandates that employees must be paid 1.5 times their usual hourly rate for each hour over 40 in a single work week.
Many employers mistakenly believe that any worker paid by salary is exempt from overtime. The FLSA does provide a number of exemptions to the overtime law for bona fide executive, administrative, professional and outside sales jobs. In general, employees must meet job duty and salary tests, to be exempt from overtime.
The U. S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division collected more than $171 in back wages for some 246,000 employees in 2006. Thos wages were a result of 31,987 “compliance actions” in 2006.