New Mexico Legal Definition of Part-Time Work

Shop assistant restocking the produce section shelves
••• jacoblund/iStock/GettyImages

Related Articles

New Mexico does not have a legal definition of what constitutes part-time work. Employers in the Land of Enchantment operate under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). However, the federal government also does not have a definition of part-time work. Most companies view it as being less than 32 to 40 hours per week.

Full-time vs. Part-time Work in New Mexico

New Mexico does not have a legal standard for what constitutes part-time employment, nor does the federal government under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which regulates employment law in the US.

Most companies define part-time employment as being less than 32 to 40 hours a week. According to the federal [Bureau of Labor Statistics](https://www.bls.gov/cps/definitions.htm#:~:text=In%20Current%20Population%20Survey%20(CPS,than%2035%20hours%20per%20week.), anything over 35 hours a week is full time, but that’s not a law. No matter what the number is, part-time employees work fewer hours than those who work full time.

Some people working part time may work as little as 10 hours per week, while others may work 20 or more hours weekly. A part-time worker can work two hours a day or five hours a day, and they may not work every day of the week.

Shift Time Guarantees

Full-time employees are generally guaranteed the same shifts, for example, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and work seven to eight hours a day, five days a week. Part-time workers are often not guaranteed that they will work the same time or on the same day each week. However, it’s easier for part-time workers to pick up extra shifts at a busy time of the year or cover for someone who is sick.

Wage and Hour Laws

Wage and hour laws set standards for work-related issues such as meal and rest breaks, minimum wage, overtime, tips and payment schedules. All states and some local governments have their own wage and hour laws, as does the federal government under the FLSA.

An employer subject to more than one law must follow the requirements of the law that pays the employee more. For example, the federal minimum wage in 2022 is $7.25 per hour, while the New Mexico minimum wage as of January 1, 2022, is $11.50).

Hourly Rate of Pay vs. Salary

Most part-time employees are paid hourly, and typically “clock in” and “clock out” when their shift starts and when it ends. Some companies ask their part-time workers to submit a time sheet with their hours recorded, and they are paid for those hours.

Full-time employees may also get paid hourly, but many receive a salary. Those paid by the hour are referred to as “nonexempt,” while salaried employees are “exempt.” This means hourly employees can get overtime pay, which is 1.5 times what they make per hour, for time they work over 40 hours each week. Exempt employees do not get overtime, no matter how much they work.

Meal Breaks and Rest Periods in New Mexico

While some states have laws requiring companies to provide lunch or rest breaks to employees, New Mexico does not. The FSLA also does not require employers to provide lunch or rest breaks. In both instances, it is up to the business' discretion.

Lunch breaks in New Mexico that are longer than 30 minutes are not counted as part of an employee’s work hours. If the break is for a shorter time, deductions for it cannot be made from an employee’s earnings.

Eligibility for Health Insurance

Part-time employees in New Mexico state, as in all states, are eligible for health insurance, but again, it is up to the employer; federal law does not require it.

The federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) defines part-time employment as less than 30 hours a week, or less than 130 hours a month for at least 120 days consecutively. If a New Mexico employer chooses to give part-time employees health insurance, it must follow the ACA’s rules.

Eligibility for Sick Days Under New Mexico Labor Laws

New Mexico’s “Healthy Workplaces Act,” goes into effect July 1, 2022 and requires private businesses in the state to pay earned sick leave to their employees. The Act will apply to all businesses, regardless of size. Most employees now have this right as long as they work in the state, even if their employer is based outside of it.

The Act applies to part-time and even seasonal workers as well as those who work full-time with few exceptions. The state law does not apply to independent contractors and those working on federal tribal lands.

Vacation Benefits in New Mexico

New Mexico companies do not have to provide vacation benefits to workers, paid or unpaid. An employer can do so if it wishes, but must comply with the terms of their employment contract policy.

The state requires that unused vacation is paid to the employee when they leave the company. There is no federal law that requires employers to pay accrued vacation, sick leave or additional paid time off (PTO) to a worker when the relationship with a company terminates.

Minors and Hours of Work Limitations in New Mexico

New Mexico follows the FLSA when it comes to working minors, some of whom do have limitations on the number of hours they can work. Hours worked by 14- and 15-year-olds in the state are limited to:

  • Non-school hours.
  • Three hours on school days.
  • 18 hours per school week.
  • 8 hours on days when school is not in session.
  • 40 hours on weeks when school is not in session.
  • Hours between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. (June 1 through Labor Day, nighttime hours are extended to 9 p.m.)

Minors 14 and 15 who enroll in a Work Experience and Career Exploration Program (WECEP) can work for a maximum of 23 hours during the school week and three hours during a school day, including during school hours. The FLSA has no limit on hours or days for those 16 years old and older.