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News Brief

Annual enforcement initiative finds wage violations at 49 New Mexico and West Texas child care centers

Site: New Mexico and West Texas

Type of Action: Ongoing multi-year enforcement initiative.

Initiative findings: The Wage and Hour Division's Albuquerque District Office, which also covers part of West Texas, conducted an enforcement initiative targeting the child care industry in New Mexico and West Texas. The investigation resulted in Fair Labor Standards Act wage violations in 84 percent of the investigated cases totaling $30,814 in back wages paid to 111 low wage vulnerable workers. This mirrors the national violation rate in the past two fiscal years, where the division conducted 2269 investigations of child care providers nationwide and found violations in 85 percent of the investigated employers and recovered $4,057,114 in back wages for 11,452 employees. Over 40 percent of those back wages were earned by workers in the division's Southwest region, headquartered in Dallas, Texas. Typical violations include making illegal deductions from employees' wages that resulted in earnings falling below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Firms also failed to pay overtime after 40 working hours in a week and in some cases incorrectly classified employees as exempt from overtime.

Initiative results: $30,803

Quotes: "The back wages we recovered for these employees can put food on their tables or help pay the rent. These workers provide a valuable service for families and deserve to be paid the wages they rightfully earn," said Cynthia Watson, regional administrator for the division in the Southwest. "Our initiative includes outreach and education for providers as well as enforcement. Our goal is to ensure all child care workers are paid in compliance with the law."

Information: For more information about federal wage laws, call the Wage and Hour Division's toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) or its Dallas District Office at 817-861-2150. Information also is available at


Wage and Hour Division
February 12, 2015
Release Number