New Mexico workers’ comp law addresses workers under the influence

by Barbara J. Koenig
Foster, Rieder & Jackson, P.C.

A new law in New Mexico is designed to clear up confusion on how workers’ compensation benefits can be lowered when a worker is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The law will go into effect on May 18.

The new law was enacted because New Mexico Workers’ Compensation Administration (WCA) judges have faced troubling issues raised by two conflicting statutes. One law said a worker found to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of an injury wouldn’t be entitled to any workers’ comp indemnity benefits at all. Another law said the judge must reduce benefits by 10%.

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New Mexico pay equity law takes effect

by Robert P. Tinnin, Jr.

New Mexico’s Fair Pay for Women Act (FPWA) goes into effect June 14, affecting all employers with at least four employees.

The law prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex “by paying wages to employees . . . at a rate less than the rate that the employer pays wages to employees of the opposite sex in the establishment for equal work on jobs[,] the performance of which requires equal skill, effort and responsibility and that are performed under similar working conditions.”

The law includes an exception for payments made under a seniority system, a merit system, or a “system that measures earnings by quality or quantity of production.” It prohibits retaliation in the form of discriminating against an employee for (1) asserting a claim under the FPWA, (2) assisting another person in doing so, or (3) “informing another person about employment rights or other rights provided by law.”

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Albuquerque minimum wage increase garners overwhelming approval

by Robert P. Tinnin, Jr.

By an almost 2-1 margin, Albuquerque voters overwhelmingly approved a measure on the city ballot Tuesday that will raise the minimum wage from $7.50 per hour to $8.50 per hour effective January 1. The unofficial vote was 138,000 to 70,699. The current federal minimum wage is $7.25. The measure also will require the minimum wage to be adjusted annually to reflect increases (but not decreases) in inflation. Santa Fe now has the highest minimum wage in the nation–$10.29–and it is also indexed to inflation.

The New Mexico Business Weekly recently cited a study by The Rio Grande Foundation that estimated the passage of the minimum wage measure will cost the city of Albuquerque 1,300 jobs because businesses will likely lay minimum wage workers off rather than incur the additional cost of keeping them on the payroll. The measure will more severely affect those with low work skills, such as students. New Mexico Employment Law Letter will keep you apprised of further developments.

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New Mexico: First Female Governor Elected

November 04, 2010 - by: HR Hero Alerts 0 COMMENTS

by Robert P. Tinnin, Jr., Tinnin Law Firm

New Mexico voters have elected the state’s first female governor, Republican Susana Martinez. Republicans gained several seats in the New Mexico House of Representatives, but Democrats maintained control of the chamber. There were no contests for seats in New Mexico Senate, where Democrats hold a substantial majority of the seats. In the congressional races, Republicans picked up one seat.

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