Guarantees hard-working New Mexicans the right to sick time off and a healthy workplace

Santa Fe, N.M. – Legislation guaranteeing earned sick leave for New Mexican workers cleared its first hurdle in the Senate today, passing the Senate Health and Public Affairs Committee. 

House Bill 20: The Healthy Workplaces Act is sponsored by Rep. Christine Chandler (D-Los Alamos), Rep. Angelica Rubio (D-Las Cruces), Senate President Pro Tempore Mimi Stewart (D-Albuquerque), Rep. Daymon Ely (D-Corrales), Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero (D-Albuquerque), and Rep. Linda Serrato (D - Santa Fe). 

“Earned sick leave is smart public health policy, sound economic policy, and necessary moral policy. This basic workplace protection is a long time coming, but I’m pleased that it is advancing now during our state’s time of greatest need,” said Rep. Chandler. 

“We’ve tragically lost over 3,800 New Mexicans to COVID-19. Our frontline workers’ health is at risk every day, yet half of our state’s workforce can’t afford to take time off when they’re sick or infected.”

“Many workers in the state already have access to earned sick time, but they are predominantly those in higher-paying positions, many of whom have also been able to work safely and remotely through this pandemic,” said Rep. Rubio. “With the Senate committee vote today, we are one step closer to extending this vital benefit to thousands of additional, vulnerable workers in our state.”

“The simple fact is that workers are more likely to go to work when sick if they do not have earned leave, because many of them can’t afford to take a day off unpaid,” said Rep. Ely. “This increases health and safety risks to their co-workers and the public, especially when we are in the midst of the worst pandemic our country has seen in more than a century.” 

“A strong New Mexico begins when every worker has access to resources to care for the health and wellbeing of themselves and their families,” said Rep. Roybal Caballero. “New Mexicans shouldn’t have to choose between going to work sick and paying their rent or keeping the lights on, and HB 20 ensures they don’t have to.”

“A strong economy is built upon policies that value the workers who keep it running,” said Rep. Serrato. “It’s time we join every single other developed nation in the world by passing HB 20 and recognizing the immense value that hardworking New Mexicans provide to our state.”

The bill requires that all employees in New Mexico accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 64 hours of leave accrued annually. 

HB20 passed the Senate Health and Public Affairs Committee with a 5-3 vote, and will be heard next in the Senate Tax, Business and Transportation Committee. 

Members of the public can track legislation on the New Mexico Legislature website, access committee meetings and House floor sessions via the Webcasts tab, or participate by Zoom to provide public comment on committee hearings. During the 2021 Legislative Session, the House of Representatives is focused on passing critical legislation while protecting the health and safety of the public, the staff, and the legislators.

 - NMDP

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