2020 Developments for Employers

December 23, 2019


The following is a summary of changes in employment law that will take place January 1, 2020 that may be of interest to Sutin, Thayer & Browne’s business clients and friends.

  I. Minimum Wages

Effective January 1, 2020 hourly employees must be paid at the following minimum wage rates:

  • City of Albuquerque – $9.35 an hour
  • Bernalillo County (Unincorporated areas) – $9.20 an hour
  • Las Cruces – $10.25 an hour
  • State (areas not covered by a higher rate) – $9.00 an hour

Regarding the City of Albuquerque rate, if an employer provides healthcare and/or child care benefits equal to or over an annualized employer cost of $2,500.00, the minimum wage rate is $8.35 an hour.

The City and County of Santa Fe minimum wage remains at $11.80 an hour but will next be adjusted, by an as yet unknown amount, effective March 1, 2020.

The highest minimum wage rate in place where the work is performed is the rate at which a worker must be paid.  Because New Mexico has such a patchwork of different wage rates and because many of these rates change annually, employers should keep track of the wage rate then in effect.

  II. Bernalillo County PTO Ordinance

The Bernalillo County ordinance known as the Employee Wellness Act was again amended by the Bernalillo County Commission on December 11, 2019 restoring the original effective date of July 1, 2020.  After its initial enactment last summer, the PTO ordinance was amended in the fall to move the effective date up to January 1, 2020. The Commission’s second set of amendments again make the ordinance effective July 1, 2020.  Another minor December amendment was that employers subject to the PTO ordinance must provide the required PTO regardless of their employees’ daily work locations. This ordinance applies only to employers which must apply for a county business registration and which have a presence in the unincorporated areas of Bernalillo County.

Key requirements of the ordinance are:

  • Employees shall accrue at least one (1) hour of PTO for every 32 hours worked.
  • Companies with 2 to 10 employees must offer workers 28 hours of PTO per year by July 1, 2020.
  • Employers with 11 to 34 employees must offer 44 hours of PTO per year by July 1, 2020.
  • Employers with 35 or more employees must offer 56 hours of PTO per year by July 1, 2020.

There are exceptions in the Act which generally follow the exceptions in the New Mexico Minimum Wage Act.

The Albuquerque City Council has introduced, but not yet passed, a sick leave ordinance similar to the County’s PTO ordinance.  It is thought that the City Council most likely will enact some type of sick leave or PTO ordinance in 2020.  Ideally, the City ordinance will track Bernalillo County’s so that employers are not faced with yet-another set of patchwork requirements.  Employers within the City will want to follow this issue in the coming months.

   III. FLSA Final Rule

Employers may recall that on September 24, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor announced a Final Rule with a new “standard salary level” for exempt employees under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  Effective January 1, 2020, the standard salary level increases from $455 per week to $684 per week (equivalent to $35,568 per year).  Employers may use nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payments (including commissions) paid at least annually to satisfy up to 10% of the standard salary level.  The total annual compensation requirement for “highly compensated” exempt employees increases from $100,000 per year to $107,432 per year.  The duties tests for exempt employees are not changed by this Final Rule.

If you have questions regarding any or all of these employment issues, please contact Barbara G. Stephenson, Attorney.

Skip to content