By: Barbara G. Stephenson
New Mexico has long had a patchwork of different minimum wages across the state and currently there are at least seven wage rates depending on where the work is done. Because a worker always is entitled to the highest wage based on where the job duties are performed, employers should be aware of what minimum wage applies. Employers also should remember that some New Mexico minimum wage rates periodically increase automatically.
Current New Mexico Minimum Wages
The following minimum wage rates are in force in New Mexico:
State: The State’s current minimum wage is $7.50 an hour compared to the federal minimum wage of $7.25. The minimum wage of 22 other states matches the federal rate. The current highest minimum wage is that of the District of Columbia at $13.25 an hour.
City of Albuquerque: The City’s rate increased on January 1, 2019 to $9.20 an hour. The rate is $8.20, however, if the employer provides healthcare and/or childcare benefits equal to or in excess of $2,500 a year. If an employee chooses not to take advantage of these benefits, the minimum wage still is $8.20. The minimum wage for tipped employees is $5.50.
County of Bernalillo (unincorporated areas): The County Commission increased the minimum wage to $9.05 an hour effective January 1, 2019.
Las Cruces: Effective January 1, 2019, the minimum wage increased to $10.10 an hour and $4.04 for tipped employees.
City of Santa Fe: Under Santa Fe’s Living Wage Ordinance, the current minimum wage is $11.40 an hour. This rate may be adjusted on March 1, 2019.
County of Santa Fe (unincorporated areas): The County also has a Living Wage Ordinance under which the current minimum wage also is $11.40 an hour.
Proposed Increase to State Minimum Wage
Currently pending before the New Mexico Legislature is House Bill 31 which provides for phased-in minimum wage increases. The state minimum wage would increase to $10.00 an hour this coming July 1st, to $11.00 on July 1, 2020, and to $12.00 on July 1, 2021. Another pending bill would increase the State’s minimum wage to $15.00 an hour. The chances of some version of HB31 passing and being signed into law by Governor Lujan are considered good. If this happens, the $10.00 an hour minimum wage would apply to any areas of the state not already subject to a higher minimum wage.