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What You Need to Know About New Mexico’s Minimum Wage

As always, to make sure your business is prepared and stays in compliance, we recommend that you discuss these upcoming changes to minimum wage laws in New Mexico with your accountant and lawyer. This article does not constitute legal advice.
Meredith Galante, Writer

Throughout the country, state legislators are deciding what a fair minimum wage should be in their state. With so many laws changing, it can be confusing to follow what’s happening closer to home.

We’ve got you covered on what’s happening next in New Mexico, and what you need to do as a small business owner to be prepared.

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What is the minimum wage in New Mexico?

The New Mexico minimum wage is $7.50, $0.25 higher than the federal minimum wage. The state minimum wage last changed in 2008, when it was raised by $1.

However, some cities and counties within the state have higher local minimum wages. Your business is required to pay its works whichever rate is higher, state or local.

In Albuquerque, the minimum wage is $9.20. There are some exceptions to this. If the employer provides healthcare or childcare benefits, the required minimum wage is $8.20. For tipped employees in Albuquerque, the minimum wage is $5.50.

In Bernalillo County, the minimum wage is $8.85. In Las Cruces, the minimum wage is $10.10.

In Santa Fe County, employers must pay workers $11.40, which is tied for the highest minimum wage in the state.

Will New Mexico’s minimum wage change in 2019?

The state minimum wage did not change in 2019, however, some local minimum wage laws did change. Albuquerque increased its minimum wage from $8.95 to $9.20.

Are there plans to change the minimum wage beyond 2019?

There are no formal plans to increase the minimum wage in New Mexico, however, many Democrats campaigned on the promise in the state’s last election cycle.

There are currently two bills that have been filed ahead of the state legislative session that propose to increase the minimum wage. The bills would call for a $12 minimum wage and a $15 minimum wage, respectively.

How should small business owners prepare for changes to the minimum wage?

Even though New Mexico has no legislated plans to change the state minimum wage, cities and counties across the state have increased wages this year, so it’s important to be prepared based on where you do business.

Do an audit of your business spending to see where you could cut costs and save. And since time is money, make sure you’re utilizing technology that can help you be more efficient. Automating payroll is one option.

Hiring and training staff can get expensive, so you may want to focus on minimizing staff turnover. Hiring the right people and successfully onboarding them is important. Also, think of ways to retrain your staff to ensure performance is high and staff members feel equipped with the skills to do their job.

To protect your business and pay your employees fairly, find an accountant who is familiar with your local laws and can help guide you on what’s required where your business and employees are.

Meredith is a freelancer writer based in New York City. She’s been writing for Square since 2017 where she’s covered everything from the best software for restaurants to use to maximize profit, minimum wage laws across the country, and tips for entrepreneurs to maximize their impact.