ALBUQUERQUE ― The New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions (NMDWS) is working closely with the New Mexico Restaurant Association (NMRA), Association of Commerce and Industry (ACI), and the Statewide Chamber Executives (SCE) to educate employers on minimum wage requirements and the state statutes around labor law.
Employers who are well informed and have received training, tools, and resources will be in a position to avoid errors and non-compliance with regards to paying the appropriate wages to their employees and avoiding settlements of wage claims.
Beginning in May, the Department will make available to employers a short series of webinars to provide an overview of the Minimum Wage Act, employer responsibilities specific to New Mexico, its municipalities and industries, as well as where to go for assistance. The webinars will be led by the Department’s General Counsel and labor subject matter experts. Valuable information and feedback will also be incorporated into each webinar from NMRA, ACI, and SCE.
“Emphasizing compliance and education will help reduce mistakes and support fair competition while allowing the Department to focus enforcement efforts on any bad actors who may be willfully cheating the system and their employees,” ACI President and CEO Rob Black said.
In concert with providing resources to employers to avoid non-compliance, the Department is taking a strong stance on enforcement against employers found liable for wage theft. As the enforcement agency for underpayment or nonpayment of wages, NMDWS will ensure that employers who fail to comply with our wage statutes and neglect to settle their claims or timely respond to the Department’s investigative inquiries, will face steep civil penalties and possible criminal prosecution.
“Governor Lujan Grisham believes passionately that a fair day’s work should mean a fair day’s pay and she has directed the Department to take wage theft seriously,” Secretary Bill McCamley said. “We will be talking with our partners in the business community to make sure everyone knows what they have to do to obey the law, and will also be working with State Prosecutors, the Secretary of State’s Office, and local governments on enforcement to make sure everyone gets what they are legally owed.”
NMDWS enforces payment of promised wages, the minimum wage, and overtime labor laws under the Wage Pay Act and the Minimum Wage Act. The Department also enforces the payment of prevailing wages to laborers and mechanics under the Public Works Minimum Wage Act. NMDWS takes claims for unpaid wages from employees and former employees and conducts investigations to determine if wages are owed. To assist employers and prevent the non-compliance that can lead to wage claims, the Department also provides seminars and materials to employer and employee groups on the compliance requirements of the various state labor laws.
Any employee who has not been paid earned wages may file a wage claim with the Department, as long as the last non-payment or underpayment of wages occurred within three years prior to the date of filing. A Wage Claim Form in both English and Spanish is available atwww.dws.state.nm.us/Wage-and-Hour, or at any Labor Relations Division (LRD) office or New Mexico Workforce Connection center. A report of violation of wage and hour laws may also be made over the phone by calling any LRD office.
Labor Relations Division Contact Information
121 Tijeras NE, Suite 3000
Albuquerque, NM 87102
Las Cruces Office
266 S. Alameda Blvd
Las Cruces, NM 88005
Santa Fe Office
1596 Pacheco Street, Suite 103
Santa Fe, NM 87505
As a follow up to the series of webinars, NMDWS will also partner with Local Workforce Development Boards to host regional employer summits that provide business owners with guidance on implementation of the new minimum wage. Other topics will include responsibilities associated with the New Mexico Human Rights Act, Unemployment Insurance Tax, and the Wage Pay Act.