New Mexico passes paid sick leave law

On April 8, 2021, Governor Lujan Grisham signed into law the Healthy Workplaces Act (HB 20) which requires private employers to provide paid sick leave to their workforces. Effective July 1, 2022, private employers in the state of New Mexico who employ at least one employee at any time, must provide all their employees with one (1) hour of paid sick leave for every thirty (30) hours worked, up to a maximum of sixty-four (64) hours of paid sick leave per year. For purposes of meeting the “one employee” requirement, employees include those who are  full-time, part-time, seasonal, and temporary.

An employer has the discretion to define what constitutes a “year” (calendar, fiscal, employee’s anniversary, or twelve months from the employee’s first request for leave) in calculating an employee’s maximum accrual. Employers also have the discretion to provide the full sixty-four (64) hours of paid sick leave for the upcoming year on January 1 of each year or, for employees whose employment begins after January 1 of a given year, a pro rata portion of the sixty-four hours for use in the remainder of that year. Employers may provide greater than the sixty-four (64) hour maximum sick leave to its employees as provided by statute, but are not required to do so.

Accrued, but unused paid sick leave may carry over from year to year, but an employer is not required to provide greater than sixty-four (64) hours of paid sick leave during a  twelve-month period. Notably, the statute explicitly does not require that accrued, but unused sick leave be paid out upon an employee’s termination, resignation, or retirement.  However, an employee who is rehired within twelve months from the date of separation is entitled to the accrued, but unused sick leave then existing at the time of the employee’s separation.

Employees may use paid sick leave for any of the following reasons:

  • For the employee’s:
    • mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition;
    • medical diagnosis, care or treatment of a mental or physical illness, injury or health condition; or
    • preventive medical care.
  • For care of family members of the employee for:
    • mental or physical illness, injury or health condition;
    • medical diagnosis, care or treatment of a mental or physical illness, injury or health condition; or
    • preventive medical care.
  • For meetings at the employee's child's school or place of care related to the child's health or disability.
  • For absence necessary due to domestic abuse, sexual assault or stalking suffered by the employee or a family member of the employee; provided that the leave is

for the employee to:

  • Obtain medical or psychological treatment or other counseling;
  • Relocate;
  • Prepare for or participate in legal proceedings; or
  • Obtain services or assist a family member of the employee with any of the activities set forth above.

Employers must provide notice to their employees of their rights and benefits under the new law at the time of hiring, and must display a poster summarizing employee rights under the law in a conspicuous place at each establishment where employees report.

The law also provides for anti-retaliation provisions to prevent employers from discouraging or otherwise taking adverse action against employees who exercise or attempt to exercise their rights under the law. Employers are also required to retain all documentation of hours worked and paid sick leave taken by their employees for a period of four years.

 

Disclaimer: The information contained herein is not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. Employers should closely monitor the rules and regulations specific to their jurisdiction(s) and should seek advice from counsel relative to their rights and responsibilities.

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