What Is The Living Wage?

The term Living Wage refers to the minimum hourly wage necessary for a person to achieve a higher standard of living.

Santa Fe's Living Wage

Santa Fe County's Living Wage Ordinance was adopted to establish minimum hourly wages.

Beginning March 1, 2015, and each year thereafter, the living wage shall be adjusted upward by an amount corresponding to the previous year's increase, if any, in the Consumer Price Index for the Western Region for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers. Santa Fe County shall post the living wage established by this Ordinance on the Santa Fe County website after this Ordinance becomes effective and prior to each adjustment of the living wage.

In 2024, the Consumer Price Index for the Western Region for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers has been reported by U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2023 as 4.0%. Therefore, the Santa Fe County 2024 Living Wage has been calculated as $14.60 for regular workers, effective March 1, 2024

Effective Date:   Saturday, April 26, 2014

Affected Area:   For businesses located throughout Santa Fe County, outside of the incorporated boundaries of the City of Santa Fe, City of Española and the Town of Edgewood.

Affected Businesses and Other Employers:

  • Businesses required by Santa Fe County to have a business license.
  • Santa Fe County government
  • Contractors that enter into a contract after April 26, 2014, with Santa Fe County government for services, including construction services.
  • Businesses who undertake an economic development project and execute a project participation agreement with Santa Fe County.

Applies to: All employees of these affected businesses whether employed on a full-time, part-time or temporary basis, including contingent or contracted workers and those working through a temporary service or an employment agency.

The County Living Wage will increase to $14.60 on March 1, 2024, based on last year’s increase of CPI for western region Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers.  – subject to a Consumer Price Index-based inflationary adjustment on March 1 of each year.

Base Wage for Tipped Employees:   $4.38 per hour as of March 1, 2024.

Previous Years' Living Wage Amounts 

Year Wage Tipped
2024 $14.60 $4.38
2023 $14.03 $4.21
2022 $12.95 $3.88
2021 $12.32 $3.69
2020 $12.10 $3.62
2019  $11.80 $3.53
2018 $11.40 $3.41
2017 $11.09 $3.32
2016 $10.91 $3.27
2015 $10.84 $3.25
2014 $10.66 $3.20

Certain Employers and Types of Employees Are Exempt from the Living Wage. See list below.

Noticing Requirement

Employers are required to post, in a prominent location next to its business license, a notice of compliance with Living Wage Ordinance in both English and Spanish.

The County living wage posting notice will not be updated annually. The most current Living Wage information will be posted on this webpage. 

File A Complaint 

If you believe you are not being paid the minimum wage required by this Ordinance or that your employer is in violation of this Ordinance, please use one these three ways to file an official complaint:

  1. Contact Rick Lovato supervisor, Code Enforcement rlovato@santafecountynm.gov or 505-986-6242; or Joseph Martinez, Team Leader Code Enforcement jamartinez@santafecountynm.gov
  2. Download a complaint form and email it to rlovato@santafecountynm.gov or deliver it to the Growth Management Department, located at 100 Catron St., Santa Fe, NM 87501; 
  3. Complete the online complaint form

Living Wage Ordinance Additional Information

Prohibits Retaliation Against an Employee

It shall be unlawful for any employer or employer’s agent or representative to discharge, demote, deny promotion to or in any way discriminate against an employee in the terms or conditions of employment in retaliation for the person asserting a claim or right pursuant to this Ordinance or assisting another person to do so.

Violations, Penalties and Enforcement

A person violating the Living Wage Ordinance shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, may be punished in accordance with NMSA 1978, Section 4-37-3 (1975), as amended. This Ordinance may be enforced by a duly authorized code enforcement officer. Violations of this Ordinance shall be investigated and prosecuted consistent with the process established in the Sustainable Land Development Code.  A complaint form for use in reporting violations of this Ordinance is available on the County’s webpage.

Employers and Types of Employees Exempt from the Living Wage

  • Employees of the United States, State of New Mexico or any political subdivision of the state (e.g. local government) other than Santa Fe County.
  • An individual engaged in the activities of an educational, charitable, religious or nonprofit organization, where the employer-employee relationship does not, in fact, exist, including where the services are rendered on a voluntary basis.
  • Apprentices in a registered apprentice program recognized by the New Mexico Apprenticeship and Training Committee or the Federal Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training, as well as any apprentice participating in an apprenticeship program providing significant instructional and practical experience and offered by a 501C (3) non-profit organization.
  • G.I. bill trainees during training.
  • Temporary employees of an educational, charitable or religious youth camp or retreat where room and board is provided to the employee or if a day camp, where board only is provided (requires a valid seasonal employee exemption certificate from the NM Dept. of Workforce Solutions.)
  • Any employee that is the parent, spouse, child or other member of the employer’s immediate family.
  • Interns working for a business for academic credit from an accredited educational institution.
  • Persons working for a business in connection with a court-ordered community service program.

Note: With respect to the exemptions to the County’s Living Wage Ordinance listed above, the federal minimum wage requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act remain applicable.