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New Mexico Holiday Pay Law

Posted by Tamara

A New Mexico employer asks, “If I schedule employees to work on a holiday, am I required to pay them overtime or holiday pay?”

The answer is no.

New Mexico employers are not required by state or federal law to pay employees extra pay for working on a holiday. In fact, employers in New Mexico aren’t required to provide paid holidays at all.

There are “federal holidays” in the United States, but this term simply defines days when the federal agencies, including the post office are closed. Some countries have laws requiring nearly all employers to be closed, such as Christmas Day in England, but there is no such law in the United States.

This means that New Mexico employers are within their legal rights to demand employees work any day during the year. Staying open 365 days a year violates no New Mexico or federal laws, because there are no laws requiring them to close on holidays or in any way observe them. If an employer closes for a holiday, such as Memorial Day or Christmas, it does not have to pay employees for that day off, either.

So, why do some workers receive paid holidays and/or premium pay for working holidays? Employers do so as an incentive or benefit for the workers.

Consider police departments, hospitals, hotels, and other industries that provide services to the public. These entities must be open every day, so it is common for employees in these industries to work on holidays. Employers in other industries, such as restaurant and retail stores, simply choose to remain open year-round to conduct business. (Note that some states have enacted “blue laws” which require stores to close on Sunday, though this is less common than in the past).

Whether an employee is in an industry required to remain open or one that chooses to do so, they are not entitled by law to be paid extra for working holidays. Many of them do receive premium holiday pay, but the law doesn’t require it.

All the law requires is that each employee be paid for every hour worked.


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