6 Tips for Hiring Employees in New Mexico: The Employer’s Guide

Barbara C. Neff

Congratulations! Your business idea is such a success that you’re ready to hire some help. As an employer in New Mexico, there is a lot you need to know before bringing on new employees. 

We’ve created this 2023 guide with six tips for hiring employees in New Mexico— complete with paycheck calculators, links to important forms, an explanation of federal and state laws, and other resources to help your business grow and thrive. 

Make sure your business meets federal and state employer requirements

If this is your first time hiring employees for your New Mexico business, you will need to register as an employer. Becoming an employer begins with applying for a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN). This is a tax identification number that’s not only required for employing workers but also for things like paying federal taxes and opening a bank account. Next, you must register your business with New Mexico’s Secretary of State. 

Additionally, both state and federal law require employers to display labor law posters in their workplaces to visibly communicate information regarding employee rights and helpful resources.

If you employ three or more workers, the State of New Mexico’s Workers’ Compensation Administration requires you to secure workers’ compensation insurance to protect your employees and your business in case of workplace-related injury or illness.

Know the rights your employees have in New Mexico

Workers have many rights granted by the state and federal governments. 

As of January 1, 2023, the New Mexico Minimum Wage Act stipulates that employees have the right to earn a minimum of $12.00 per hour, or $3.00 per hour for tipped employees. Certain New Mexico cities, such as Albuquerque and Santa Fe, have either a higher non-tipped minimum wage or a higher tipped minimum wage.

Overtime pay at the rate of one-and-a-half times the regular employee wage is required for non-exempt employees who work over 40 hours per week.

The New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions enforces child labor laws for minors working in the state. These youth worker laws vary by age and job. Generally, there is a maximum number of work hours allowed per day and per week. Additionally, minors may be prohibited from some tasks if they are deemed physically or emotionally harmful.

The New Mexico Human Rights Act, established in 1969, prohibits discrimination in employment—including failure to hire, demotion, and harassment—on the basis of such demographics as race, ethnicity, age, gender, national origin, and sexual orientation. Additionally, New Mexico’s Fair Pay for Women Act of 2013 requires that, in companies with four or more people, women have the right to be treated and compensated equally. For employers with fewer than four people, employees may be protected by the Federal Equal Pay Act, which applies to employers of all sizes.

The Healthy Workplaces Act requires private employers to provide New Mexico employees with earned, paid sick leave. This leave time may also be used to care for a sick or injured family member or to deal with certain legal or family issues.

Create an effective hiring process

It’s especially important for first-time employers to create a hiring process that includes effective recruitment, onboarding, and retention strategies in order to be successful.

First, take inventory of the following: the specific tasks and responsibilities you would like to have filled by a new hire, the skills and experience necessary for the position, and the compensation and other value you can provide to employees. The latter may include common benefits such as healthcare and paid time off, as well as lifestyle benefits such as flexible working arrangements, exercise classes, and childcare subsidies.

If you want more guidance on benefits plans, read this complete guide to employee benefits—and know that we’re here to help if you don’t want to do all of this yourself. Gusto’s modern benefits can help your company grow and support your team.

This is also a good time to consider whether the position should be filled by a regular full-time or part-time employee, or if the tasks are best suited for an independent contractor.

When you have all the details set, you’re ready to create and circulate a job posting seeking top talent. Don’t forget to include a description of your company culture — if it’s one that would attract and retain employees. If it’s not, learn how to improve your company culture so that it can be an effective recruitment and retention tool. Keep reading for more about company culture in step number four, below.

When it’s time for hiring and onboarding, Gusto has a complete package—check out our HR software that includes an onboarding checklist, personalized offer letters, and more.

Create a company culture that attracts and retains the right workers

Today’s workforce is looking for more than just a paycheck. They also want to work for a company with values that align with their own and they want pleasant working conditions, too. This is where company culture comes into play.

As a business owner, when you have the type of company culture that attracts top talent, you have an edge over the competition. Research has shown that workers consider a flexible work environment to be a defining and appealing component of company culture. If you can offer flexible working conditions, be sure to promote this perk as part of your recruitment and hiring strategy.

Also, keep in mind that company culture is maintained by hiring workers who will maintain and expand on the existing culture. Therefore, consider your culture throughout your interview process by asking questions that are culture-based (in addition to skills-based questions).

Ensure all federal and state paperwork is completed

There is a lot of paperwork when it comes to employment, beginning with Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. This information is used to verify your employees’ identity and confirm authorization to work in the United States.

Your next step in the paperwork trail is new hire reporting. As a New Mexico employer, you are required to report new hires to the New Mexico New Hire Directory within 20 days of their hire date. Information that needs to be reported includes the employee’s name, address, social security number, and additional contact details. The state uses this information to identify parents who owe child support.

Your human resources department (which may only be you!) might require some additional paperwork on behalf of your company. Many companies ask their new employees to sign a nondisclosure agreement, noncompete agreement, or other documents that can help protect the business.

Make sure your business is set up for payroll taxes in New Mexico

Lastly, we can’t forget about payroll taxes. Gusto has state-specific hourly and salary paycheck and payroll calculators to help employers understand this complex area of owning a business, including information concerning unemployment insurance, Medicare, and what to include on paystubs.

Your new hires should fill out IRS Form W-4, Employee Withholding Certificate. This contains important information that you’ll use when calculating income tax withholdings.

You can also learn more about New Mexico’s filing requirements from the Taxation & Revenue Department.

Between new hire reporting, payroll taxes, and company culture, there is a lot to know when it comes to hiring employees in New Mexico. We hope this 2023 guide proves helpful as you navigate the hiring process, either as a first-time employer or a seasoned business owner continuing to grow your team.

Gusto has the tools and resources you need to run a business with confidence and ease. Whether it’s a full-service payroll platform, programs for time and attendance tracking, or one of our several other comprehensive products and services, we’ve got your New Mexico business covered.

Ready to simplify HR tasks and boost productivity? Check out our guide for the best HR software options designed specifically for small businesses

Barbara C. Neff has been writing about a variety of legal and other topics since 2001. She has a law degree and a master's degree in journalism.
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