New Mexico Overtime and Meal & Rest Break Laws for Nurses

Under New Mexico Statute Annotated section 50-4-22(c), employers must provide mandatory overtime pay for workers who work in excess of 40 hours in one workweek. Overtime pay is calculated by adding the worker’s typically hourly pay plus one-half of that hourly pay- also known as time and one-half. Federal and state laws define the “workweek” as seven consecutive days typically beginning on a Monday. Employers may alter their definition of the work week but they may not constantly change the definition of the workweek to avoid paying overtime.

New Mexico laws do not specifically address rest and meal breaks for employees. In any situation in which a state code does not provide adequate guidelines for employees and employers, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act steps in to serve as a gap-filler. Unfortunately, the FLSA does not require an employer to provide meal or rest breaks regardless of the length of the shift or the nature of the work. Employers are within their rights to require an employee to eat while on duty if the nature of the work so requires. If an employer opts to provide an employee with a short rest break, typically less than 20 minutes, the break must be compensable.
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