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Private employers must allow employees ‘earned sick leave’ beginning July 1

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The Healthy Workplaces Act of 2021 is a law requiring all private employers in New Mexico to allow employees to accrue and use a benefit called earned sick leave. It takes effect July 1.

The act allows employees to earn and use paid sick leave, according to the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions (DWS).

Under the new law, employees may use this leave for various reasons listed in the act, like the employee’s or their qualifying family member's illness or injury, or to deal with certain legal and family issues, DWS said.

Employers who do not honor an employee’s rights to sick leave face potential civil liability. The act authorizes DWS’ Labor Relations Division to investigate violations of the act.

“Employers with paid-time-off policies that are more generous than the minimum accrual and usage limits specified in act are compliant with the act if employees may use the leave for the same purposes and under the same terms and conditions specified in the act,” DWS said.

“The earned sick leave required by the act is in addition to any paid time off provided by an employer pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement unless employees may use the paid time off for the same purposes and under the same terms and conditions specified in the act,” DWS said.

The act was passed by the New Mexico House of Representatives Feb. 28, by a vote of 36-33. Sponsors include state Rep. Angelica Rubio, D-Doña Ana. The act passed the New Mexico Senate March 19, by a vote of 25-16.

DWS will host informational webinars about the act at 9 a.m. Saturday, June 11; at 2 p.m. Friday, June 17 and Thursday, June 23; and at 4 p.m. Wednesday, June 29.

Visit www.dws.state.nm.us/NMPaidSickLeave for more information to register for webinars and for more information.