Wage Claim Procedures
This office will assist workers in the private sector in collecting their unpaid wages. It will investigate an employer's records to verify a Wage Claim and demand payment if wages are owed. Services are free.
Who May File A Claim
Any employee who cannot afford an attorney, and has not been paid his/her earned wages may file a Wage Claim. Before a Wage Claim can be accepted, however, you must have made a demand for payment of wages from your employer. If the employer denies payment of wages, you may then file a Wage Claim. Wage Claims for workers under a bargaining agreement may be accepted if the union has exhausted all grievance procedures and we receive a letter from the union requesting our assistance.
How To File A Claim
The Wage Claim Form must be completed and submitted to the Wage and Hour Bureau of the Labor Relations Division. A claim should include any information regarding hours worked and rate of pay. Incomplete information will delay the processing of the Wage Claim. Wage Claims can only be submitted for time worked and wages not paid and overtime. Wage Claims cannot be submitted for vacation time (PTO), bonuses, differential pay, mileage, or promised pay rates. All Wage Claims must be signed by the claimant (employee) and notarized by a Notary Public. If you are under 18 years of age, your parents or legal guardian should also sign the Wage Claim.
Status of Your Claim
If you have been paid, be sure to let us know. It is your responsibility to keep us informed of your address and telephone number. If we cannot locate you, we will close your Wage Claim.
If we feel an Administrative Hearing will help settle your claim, we will schedule one. You will be required to appear on the date and time set. You may contact us the day before the hearing for confirmation. Evidence from both sides will be examined, compared, and evaluated in terms of the law. If you fail to appear for the Administrative Hearing, your case will be closed.
It may be necessary to take legal action against an employer who refuses to pay your earned wages. In that event, your case may be filed in the Magistrate or Metropolitan Courts or sent to the District Attorney's office. You will then be notified of the court date. You will be asked to testify on your behalf. As an alternative to the above procedure, you may file a Civil Complaint on your own with Magistrate or Metropolitan Court.
What Happens After Legal Action
If the court decides in your favor, a judgement will be entered against the employer. If the employer refuses to pay and is still in business or has assets, we will use every means available under the law to try to collect your wages.
How Long Will It Take
Most cases are settled in 6-8 weeks, sometimes longer. In the end, the willingness and the cooperation of the employer to pay the owed back wages is what really determines, "How long it will take."
If you feel you need to speak to someone regarding your claim, call the office in the area where your claim is being handled:
Albuquerque - 505-841-4400
Las Cruces- 505-524-6195
Santa Fe- 505-827-6838