The federal government has just updated its USERRA regulations to cover a new group of employees.
With the changes, employers should update their New Mexico USERRA posters correspondingly, to reflect those changes.
The newest version of the USERRA regulations, released recently by the U.S. Department of Labor, adds federal government employees to the list of those entitled to file claims.
USERRA – the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 – offers job protection to returning veterans, as well as to National Guard and Reserve members.
Returning veterans have a two-step claims process available to them. The first is the original claim filed under USERRA. The claim is investigated by the Veterans Employment and Training Service. VETS in turn issues a finding. In most cases, employees who have been on military duty and away from their jobs less than 5 years will be entitled to get their old jobs back. Some may even qualify after 7 years, or longer. The process usually ends here, because most employers will rehire a worker after getting a VETS finding.
However, another step is available if that does not work. The employee’s claim may be sent on to the U.S. Department of Justice. The Justice Department brings a suit in a federal district court at no cost to the employee. The appropriate federal district court may rule that there were willful violations of the USERRA. In that case, the court could award additional damages. Not only damages, but also attorney and expert fees, will be awarded if an employee brings a suit on his or her own.
While federal government employees can now file claims, the procedure is different. Unresolved VETS findings would go to the Office of Special Counsel for federal government and U.S. Postal Service employees, rather than the Justice Department. The reviewing body is the Merit Systems Protection Board. Like the court, it may award damages.
The law requires employers to display an accurate poster even if the workplace does not include someone who serves or has served in the military.
Listen up, New Mexico employers. You have some new reporting requirements and opportunities that you should know about. Your Labor Secretary there has announced that the new multi agency quarterly reporting system is out and operational in the state.
The new system is meant to streamline, standardize and modernize how all of you report the needed business information that you have to report to the state every quarter. This can include, for instance, how you report your new hires to the new hire reporting system so that child support payments can be collected from delinquent parents for the needy children. Or the system can also come in handy when reporting your quarterly payroll amounts to the unemployment insurance taxation system.
The new system is care of a triple effort by three New Mexico government operations—the New Mexico Department of Labor, the New Mexico Tax and Revenue Department, and the Workers’ Comp Administration.
Everything basically that you need to be reporting to the state, then, can be done through this new electronic system. Employee state withholdings, workers’ comp information and accident reporting, for instance, can be transferred via this system. It can be reported individually by each employee if you want to do it that way, or you employers can also tap into the ease of the system by reporting all of your employees and reports in bulk fashion.
You can check out the new so called Tri Agency System at the state Web site to see just how easy and or different it will make your life. It is viewable at the Web site https://ec3.state.nm.us/NMWebfile. The system is already up and running, as I explained, so the state authorities are even recommending that employers start to use the system for all of their reporting in the first quarter of this year, meaning right about now you could be getting yourself familiar with the new system if you hope to join in for the first quarter.
Continuing with our look at the stats coming out of the New Mexico Occupational Employment Statistics survey, we find that workers in the education, training, and library fields average about $16.93 per hour. That concludes the list for now, as we have already consider the better paying positions in the state, such as those in the legal fields, management positions, or health care practitioners. See my earlier posts for those stats.
Now let’s getting into true averages here for New Mexico, based on what we know from the Occupational Employment Statistics survey. The median wage in the state of New Mexico is $15.95 per hour. That is at least a couple of dollars lower than the national average, which is $18.02 per hour. That means that most workers in the state of New Mexico make less than the national average, according to the Occupational Employment Statistics survey put out by the state Department of Labor.
Some of the explanation for this could be that 16 percent of the work force in the state have jobs in the office and administrative support field, where the median hourly wage is $10.59 per hour. There workers could include the likes of general office clerks, secretaries, book keepers, administrative assistants, customer service reps, accounting and audit clerks, and others in similar low level office work. That 16 percent of the work force represents the number one category out of all the categories in the state.
Then next occupations that have the most workers in them include the sales work force category and the food prep and food serving category, both of which have 10 percent of the work force in them. These two fields makes $12.40 per hour and $7.37 per hour, respectively, again explaining why the state is below average perhaps in its overall pay average.
What do some of the other trades in New Mexico make, those that are not above this $25 per hour threshold? Well, if you are looking at the farming, fishing and forestry trades, for instance, in New Mexico they make as much as $7.32 per hour on average, according to the Occupational Employment Statistics survey from the Department of Labor in the state. Those workers in food prep and food serving make on average about $7.37 per hour.
Next in line are those employees in the personal care and service arena make on average $8.76 per hour, says the Occupational Employment Statistics survey for New Mexico. Workers in the field of health-care support make on average about $8.82 per hour. Employees in building and grounds maintenance make about $10.55 per hour on average in New Mexico. On the other hand, those workers in office and administrative support bring in about $10.59 per hour.
Other workers on the list of the Occupational Employment Statistics survey include sales workers, who can earn on average $12.40 per hour; workers in the transport and material moving business, who can earn $12.40 per hour as well; workers in the field of production, who average about $13.00 per hour; and employees in protective services, who can earn on average about $13.70 per hour.
The Occupational Employment Statistics survey for New Mexico also includes amounts for workers in the construction and extractive services, such as mining, who can make about $14.49 per hour, along with workers in the community and social services field and their $14.54 per hour average wage. Workers in installation, maintenance, and repair of machinery can average as much as $15.70 per hour in New Mexico, and workers in the arts, design, sports, entertainment, and media field average about $16.08 per hour.
The new stats are out on what occupations and employees make what money in the state of New Mexico, and the winners seem to be management. According to the stats put out by the Occupational Employment Statistics survey that is released every year by the New Mexico Department of Labor, on average management employee in New Mexico make about $34.15 per hour. All other occupations in the state, supposedly, on average bring in about $18 per hour, half of what the management employees make.
Management employees include most people with such titles as chief executive, general manager, occupational manager, sales managers, marketing managers, operational managers, human resource managers, financial managers, educational administrators, and other managerial or supervisory type white collar positions.
Also high on the list in the Occupational Employment Statistics survey in New Mexico include workers for the life, physical and social science industries, which average about $32.79 per hour. Employees of architecture and engineering firms make on average in New Mexico about $30.10 per hour. Workers in the legal profession in the state of New Mexico according to the Occupational Employment Statistics survey make on average about $29.05 per hour. Employees in the New Mexico computer and mathematics trades make on average $29.02 per hour, says the Occupational Employment Statistics survey. Then next on the list come workers in the health care and health care technical worlds, where employees make on average in New Mexico about $27.13 per hour.
These results in New Mexico compare to what is going on in the rest of the country, where manager type positions tend to make as much as $42.52 per hour, and the legal and computer and math folks make on average about $38.98 per hour ands $32.26 per hour, respectively. You can also expect similar wages in the health care field, where workers nationwide make $28.45 per hour.