New Mexico has state laws that protect employees from being taken advantage of by their employers when it comes to their paycheck. If you have a disagreement with your employer about some part of your paycheck, whether it is how often you get it or how much, you should carefully read the laws that protect you.

When Must Paychecks Be Sent Out?

Generally, you should be given a paycheck on a semimonthly basis by your employer. This requirement is the same for hourly or salary employees. However, if you are paid partly or wholly by commission, then your commission can be paid on a monthly basis. Your employer can also choose to pay you monthly if you are an executive employee, professional employee, outside salesman, or administrative employee, unless you are part of a union or your wages are otherwise subject to a contradicting collective bargaining agreement.

What Happens If I Am Fired?

If you have been fired, you should be given your final wages within five days of being fired, but commissions may be paid up to 10 days after termination. For employees that quit their job, they should receive their last paycheck by the next payday. There is no state law that requires employers to pay their employees for any unused vacation or sick days. However, if the company has a policy where they do pay for these days upon termination of employment, then your employer is obligated under law to stick with that policy.

Can My Paycheck Be Garnished?

Except for very specific situations, your paycheck cannot be garnished for non-work debts without a court judgment. The situations where a judgment is not needed are unpaid child support, back taxes, and defaulted student loans. For other debts unrelated to your job, such as unpaid credit card bills and car payments, your creditor has to go to court first and ask for a judgment against you. If that judgment is given, then your creditor can have your income garnished until the debt is paid.

Your employer cannot automatically deduct money from your paycheck without your authorization for anything that is not required by law, unless it is to cover the reasonable cost of food, utilities, supplies, or housing provided to agricultural workers. For anything else that an employer wants to take from your wages, they will need a court order to deduct that amount.

Can I Recover a Withheld Paycheck?

You have every right to pursue any unpaid wages that you have earned. If you need help recovering a withheld paycheck, then you can file a complaint with the Wage and Hour Bureau of the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions. You can also file a lawsuit for your owed paycheck.

Is There Anything Else I Must Know?

There is no law in New Mexico that stops your employer from making you purchase your own uniforms or equipment, even though the money cannot be taken out of your wages to cover the cost without you agreeing to it first. Your employer can also ask that you pay for drug or medical testing prior to starting a job.

Where Can I Find the Right Lawyer?

Getting your rights upheld, especially when it comes to your paycheck, can be very important. This is why it is important that you hire an employment lawyer in New Mexico as soon as you suspect your employer of violating the state’s wage laws.