This story was originally published at EatABQ, the city's food, restaurant and drinks guide. EatABQ is a publication of The Paper, ABQ's new alternative, independent weekly.
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New Mexico’s lowest-wage workers will get a raise this weekend. Effective January 1st, the minimum wage in New Mexico will rise from $9.00 per hour to $10.50 per hour for most workers and up to $2.55 per hour for tipped workers not working in cities with higher local wage standards.
In 2019, the legislature passed and Governor Lujan Grisham signed a multi-year plan to bring New Mexico’s minimum wage up to $12.00 per hour by 2023. “No New Mexican who works 40 hours a week should live in poverty — period,” the governor said at the time. “Costs rise every year, but our minimum wage hadn’t moved in a decade. I’m thrilled to put stagnation behind us. This session, the Legislature sent a clear signal: We will not tolerate poverty wages in New Mexico.”
Tipped wages will also increase to $2.55 per hour under the upgrade.
Albuquerque’s higher wage now matches state’s
For years, Albuquerque employers paid a higher minimum wage after voters improved a higher local minimum wage in 2012. The local law sets the new 2021 wage to $10.50 per hour — the same as the state. But tipped workers in Albuquerque still work under the city’s higher tipped wage of $6.30 per hour, $4 per hour more than the state minimum.
Bernalillo County and Las Cruces both have local wage laws on the books but the state’s 2021 rates are now higher. The City of Santa Fe and Santa Fe County require $12.10 per hour under their local ordinances.
“Governor Lujan Grisham, and the rest of this administration, believe strongly that a fair day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay,” said Bill McCamley, NMDWS Cabinet Secretary. “If COVID has shown us anything, it’s that our low wage workers like grocery store employees, janitors, bus drivers, and health care heroes keeping our communities going deserve a raise now more than ever. They are going to get one.”
A 2018 study published by NM Voices for Children found that one in five New Mexicans — including 1 in three children — lives in poverty, and the median income in New Mexico is 17 percent lower than the national average. 31 percent of hourly workers (pre-pandemic) are earned a wage at or near the state’s 2018 minimum wage of $7.50 an hour. This represents 245,894 hard-working New Mexicans. Add to that 100,596 children who have at least one parent earning low wages.