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Labor Law in New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma


Labor law is one of the main guarantees of safe working conditions and fair treatment of employees in any country. Labor conditions in the United States can vary from state to state, as, along with federal laws, each state’s government adopts local laws. For this reason, although the fundamental rights of workers in Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico are nearly the same, New Mexico is a more workers-friendly state.

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Each employee must have safe, equal, and healthy working conditions, which ensured federal and state laws. The main issues considered in the statutes are the prohibition of discrimination, the working conditions of children and students, the minimum wage, working hours, and overtime, as well as benefits and compensation. Although federal laws provide most of these rights, some codes can vary from state to state. For example, Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico prohibit discrimination in hiring, training, and working due to age, gender, race, color, religion, disability, and national origin (“Labor Code,” 2015; “Employment law,” 2020). Sexual harassment is also a crime that is prohibited in all states. A worker who has been discriminated against or sexually harassed can sue and be compensated, and he or she cannot be fired because of a reported violation in all three states.

In all three states, there is a law against the use of child labor and the conditions for hiring and working for people who have reached the age of 14 or 15. The payment of a minimum wage of $ 7.25 per hour for categories of workers who are not included in the exclusion group is also mandatory (“State minimum wages,” 2020). Thus, regardless of states’ policies, workers have fundamental rights that provide decent working conditions.

It is also worth noting that the definition of an employee is also similar. For example, Texas labor law defines:”

‘Employee’ means an individual employed by an employer, including an individual subject to the civil service laws of this state or a political subdivision of this state, except that the term does not include an individual elected to public office in this state or a political subdivision of this state” (“Labor Code,” 2015). The definitions in Oklahoma and New Mexico are similar, although the wording is slightly different. However, all of these definitions show the difference between employees and independent contractors, to which the employer has other responsibilities.

However, there is a significant difference in compensation policies, working hours, and minimum wages. For example, according to the laws of Oklahoma, only companies that have ten full-time employees are required to pay a minimum wage, and in Texas, such a company must have 50 employees. In addition, the minimum salary in Oklahoma and Texas for 2020 is $ 7.25 per hour, while a worker in New Mexico earns at least $ 9 per hour (“State minimum wages,” 2020). At the same time, in some cities in New Mexico, the minimum fee reaches $ 11 (“Employment law,” 2020). A common feature is that overtime hours, or more than 40 working hours per week, are paid at least time and a half more than the standard wage. However, the maximum number of hours also varies, since, in New Mexico, there is a law restricting the workweek to 60 hours, while Oklahoma does not have such laws (“Employment law,” 2020). Thus, workers in New Mexico are protected from fatigue and stress due to overwork, but at the same, they can receive higher salaries.

Another important feature of labor law in three states is the payment of compensation to employees. Oklahoma and New Mexico have laws that require companies to provide workers with insurance that covers the payments of workers’ compensation (“Uninsured employers’ fund,” n.d.). There is no such law in Texas, but the company must cover the costs associated with work-related injuries (“Workers’ Compensation,” n.d.). Consequently, for Texas workers, getting compensation can be a more difficult process.

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In general, all three states have similar rules or the Workers’ Compensation Code, according to which the company or insurance agent should cover the costs of treating employees and also pay them benefits depending on the injury. Such benefits are divided into Temporary Total Disability, Temporary Partial Disability, Permanent Partial Disability, and compensation in case of death (“Indemnity Benefits,” n.d.; “Employee’s FAQ,” n.d; “Workers’ compensation income,” n..d.). However, the size of these payments is also different, since in Texas and New Mexico payments cannot exceed two-thirds of the weekly wage, and in Oklahoma 70% (“Employee’s FAQ,” n.d). Temporary payments in all states end when the employee reaches the Maximum Medical Improvement, and Permanent Partial Disability is calculated based on the percentage and severity of the injury. However, since the minimum wage in New Mexico is higher, the weekly salary is higher, as well as compensation. Consequently, New Mexico has more beneficial labor laws for workers.

In addition, in case of violation of laws by the employer or in disputes, employees can sue the company and win compensation. There are also organizations in all states that help workers find a lawyer, file lawsuits and claims, and defend their rights. Such situations apply to cases of discrimination and poor working conditions, as well as claims for compensation, and most often are free.


In conclusion, the state of New Mexico is the most friendly for employees and is suitable for expanding the activities of the company. Formally fixing hours of work, overtime compensations, and a higher minimum wage is useful for workers and protects their rights. In addition, the compensation policy in case of injuries is also more flexible, which contributes to the health and financial safety of workers.


Employee’s FAQ. (n.d.). 2020, Web.

Employment law. (2020). Web.

Indemnity Benefits. (n.d.). 2020, Web.

Labor Code. (2015). Web.

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State Minimum Wages | 2020 Minimum Wage by State. Web.

Uninsured Employers’ Fund. (n.d.). 2020, Web.

Workers’ compensation income and medical benefits (n.d.). 2020, Web.

Workers’ compensation. (n.d.). 2020, Web.

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