As written, NM sick-leave invoice hurts enterprise restoration » Albuquerque Journal

As workers advocates point out, the pandemic has highlighted the need for sick pay to protect our workforce and the public. And as business leaders note, mandatory sick leave increases operating costs, even in the best of times.

As our state and our businesses work to recover, New Mexico finds a compromise that both sides can work with. Unfortunately, the bill sponsors still have to look for something in the legislature that resembles the middle ground.

House Bill 20 would require NM employers regardless of size to take paid sick leave with no phase-ins effective July 1. Workers would receive at least one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked and could take up to 64 hours of paid leave over a 12 month period unless the employer offered a higher sick leave limit. It can be used for “any kind of illness or health condition of persons or family members or for medical care, curative or preventive; for school assemblies related to a child’s disability; for incapacity for work due to a public health emergency – either because the workplace has been closed or because the condition of the worker could pose a threat to the health of others, absenteeism due to domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking of the worker or a family member ” it in the report on the tax implications of the law.

And it includes a gavel fined $ 1,000 or three times the wages they should have paid, whichever is greater, “plus actual damage, reimbursement and benefits, reinstatement, waiver of disciplinary action, litigation and legal fees” .

Bill sponsors, including state officials Christine Chandler, D-Los Alamos, and Angelica Rubio, D-Las Cruces, say the Healthy Workplaces Act would limit the likelihood of disease spreading in a workplace. Workers and stakeholders said the pandemic underscores the need to make sure employees can afford to stay home for health reasons.

You’re right. During a three-hour hearing on February 4, various business owners and corporate groups sought reasonable compromises – and none of their common sense proposals were included in the amended bill that passed the House’s Labor, Veterans and Military Committee for only democratic support.

Business leaders tried unsuccessfully to incorporate several fair changes – exemption of very small businesses, tax credit for any other small business affected, recognition of existing vacation policies that a business may have as an adequate substitute, delayed / staggered implementation to allow businesses of different sizes ample opportunity in preparation, a fair vacation dispute resolution process, and a nationwide exemption from local paid vacation legislation to avoid a patchwork of disparate local ordinances.

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But the Democrats had no interest in addressing their concerns and instead sent the bill to the House Judiciary Committee by a 5- to 3-party vote, possibly its last stop before reaching the full chamber.

The Department of Workforce Solutions, charged with maintaining, reporting, and investigating allegations of non-compliance by employers, raised 10 “key issues” in billing analysis, saying eight new jobs and $ 98,000 in technology Tools or support would be required from employees. Human Resources notes that the requirement to allow paid sick leave under this bill would increase employer costs, but does not estimate how much those costs would be. It is likely that other state government agencies will see higher costs in a similar manner. ” You think?

A coalition of business groups that have opposed the law says it could be devastating to several hard-hit sectors, from restaurants and bars to small manufacturers struggling to stay open or reopen. There’s plenty of room here for a paid vacation bill that protects the workforce and the public without affecting our business. If the mandatory paid vacation were restricted to everyone while the pandemic continues, it would ensure fewer jobs return and confirm the claim that New Mexico will reopen but not be open for business.

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it reflects the opinion of the newspaper rather than the authors.

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