SANTA FE – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Wednesday signed into law a measure guaranteeing paid sick leave to New Mexico workers, the importance of which has been magnified during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sponsored by Senate Pro Tem Mimi Stewart, Rep. Christine Chandler, Rep. Angelica Rubio, Rep. Daymon Ely and Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero, House Bill 20 requires that employees shall accrue at least one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, though employers may elect to provide more. The measure provides employers some flexibility as to components of the implementation of their leave policy.

The effective date of the Healthy Workplaces Act is July 1, 2022.

“This is, point blank, a humane policy for workers,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. “No one should ever be compelled to come to work when they are sick. And no worker should ever feel they must choose between their health and their livelihood.”

“Basic workplace protections like paid sick leave protect everyone – employees, their families, and the communities we live and work in,” said Senate Pro Tem Mimi Stewart. “Many of the frontline, low-wage earners we’ve depended on so much this last year are the least likely to have earned sick days available to them, and yet their health has been at great risk every day. By ensuring that employees have the ability to deal with personal and family health needs early on we’re also promoting preventative care and should ultimately see a reduction in high costs often incurred when health issues can’t be addressed early on.”

“No one should have to go to work sick and risk public health because they can’t afford to lose a day’s pay. Yet more than half of our state’s workforce, many of whom are in essential positions, have been denied the right to earned time off to care for themselves or a loved one when they fall ill,” said lead sponsor Rep. Christine Chandler. “It’s been a hard fought battle, but I’m so proud that New Mexico will now guarantee this fundamental right to all the workers who keep our economy running every day.” 

“Much of our work in the 2021 legislature has rightly focused on helping our businesses survive the pandemic, and this is the top bill truly focused on workers’ rights, which I’m incredibly proud to have sponsored,” said Rep. Angelica Rubio. “Today’s signature into law is a victory for the hardworking New Mexicans of every background who made their voices heard and demanded respect and basic rights for the workers who keep our state’s economy running every day.”

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