SANTA FE – Judicial employees can receive up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave and the state court system also is improving sick leave benefits, New Mexico Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael E. Vigil announced today.

The personnel policy changes become effective March 1, 2021, and apply to about 1,900 classified and at-will employees working for the judicial branch of government. This is the first parental leave offered by the Judiciary beyond what is available under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

“These enhanced benefits demonstrate that New Mexico’s Judiciary is a family friendly workplace,” Chief Justice Vigil said. “These are much needed benefits for our employees during this difficult time. They will help improve recruitment and retention of workers and make the Judiciary more competitive with private and other governmental employers.”

The paid parental leave will be available for use within six months following the birth or adoption of a child, and it will run concurrently with leave allowed under the FMLA, as applicable. Judicial employees in classified positions will be eligible for paid parental leave if they have completed their 12-month probationary period and at-will employees who have worked 12 consecutive months will qualify for the benefit.

The rate of sick leave accrual will increase from 3.69 to 4.00 hours each pay period. The improvement will mean on average about eight hours of additional sick leave a year for employees.

“It is important to reward our employees – from court clerks to bailiffs and technology specialists – because their hard work enables the state court system to deliver critical services to the public,” said Chief Justice Vigil. “Our courts can offer these much needed benefits with no change in the pending judicial budget request to the Legislature.”

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