Earlier this year, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed a new law, the Healthy Workplaces Act, that will guarantee paid sick leave to employees starting July 1, 2022. In enacting the law, Governor Lujan Grisham said, “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.”
Let’s take a closer look at what this new law requires of New Mexico employers.
How Employees Accrue and Use Paid Sick Leave Under New Mexico Law
The law provides that employees will accrue a minimum of one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours they work, but employers may choose to offer paid sick leave at a greater rate. Alternatively, employers can award employees the full 64 hours at the beginning of every year; employees who start work later than January 1 are entitled to a prorated amount.
Employees can use up to 64 hours of paid sick leave per year. Employers can define the year for using leave as a calendar year, fiscal year, or a rolling 12-month period from a request for sick leave. Employees are entitled to carry over any accrued, unused leave. Rehired employees are also entitled to the reinstatement of any accrued leave.
New Mexico employees may use the leave to cover absences for an illness, injury, or health condition or for preventive medical care for themselves or their family members. The leave also can be used to meet with a child’s school or place of care, if that meeting relates to the child’s health or disability. Finally, the law includes paid sick leave for treatment for domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking.
To the extent possible, employees must notify their employer of their intent to use the paid sick leave to avoid disruption. If the need for leave is sudden and unforeseeable, employees must notify their employer orally or in writing as soon as practicable. Employers can require employees to provide documentation showing the reason for the leave if the absence is two days or longer.
Employer Labor Law Posting Requirements
The new law requires employers to notify employees of their right to paid sick leave by displaying a labor law poster. They must also provide the notice to employees when they are hired. We’ll be adding this poster to our New Mexico labor law poster bundle. Employers must offer this poster in any language spoken by at least 10% of their workforce.
The notice must tell employees about their right to earn sick leave, including how they accrue and use it. It must also inform employees that they can’t be retaliated against for using sick leave and that they have the right to file a complaint if their employer doesn’t follow the law or retaliates against them.
Next Steps for New Mexico Employers
Employers can start preparing for the requirements of the Healthy Workplaces Act by reviewing their policies covering sick leave, paid time off, and any other relevant procedures. If your paid time off policy offers at least 64 hours, it complies with the law.
We’ll continue monitoring New Mexico law for further developments. Stay tuned for future updates and the release of our New Mexico poster that includes the required notice under the Healthy Workplaces Act.