State lawmakers get behind paid leave - Albuquerque Journal

State lawmakers get behind paid leave

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

With a new proposal pending before the Albuquerque City Council that would guarantee paid time off to nearly every Albuquerque worker by 2022, some New Mexico legislators say they are ready once again to push for a similar policy statewide.

This time, according to one lawmaker, it might actually pass.

While such legislation has always dead-ended somewhere in the Capitol building, Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino, D-Albuquerque, said recent shake-ups in the Legislature could change that.

Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino

“I think it’s going to be a much more receptive (New Mexico) Senate,” Ortiz y Pino said this week during a “virtual rally” that community organizers hosted to show support for Albuquerque’s new proposal.

The Albuquerque bill, formally introduced this month by City Councilors Pat Davis and Lan Sena, would mean workers must start earning paid leave starting Jan. 1 at companies with at least 10 employees. Those with three to nine employees would have to implement the benefit by 2022.

The proposal guarantees that workers earn at least 1 hour of paid time off for every 32 hours worked, up to 56 earned hours annually.

The bill follows a series of failed attempts – including councilor-sponsored legislation and a citywide ballot question – to implement such a mandate in New Mexico’s largest city.

Business associations have lodged fierce battles against such proposals, contending they would add costs and hurt industry. Advocates, meanwhile, argue that all workers deserve the opportunity to stay home when they are ill, an argument they say COVID-19 has only strengthened.

In the virtual rally for the proposal, several state lawmakers signaled their support for paid leave.

Sen. Antoinette Sedillo Lopez, D-Albuquerque, said paid leave is vital for those fleeing domestic violence, because they often need time to find new living accommodations or handle matters in the legal system.

Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero, D-Albuquerque, said she was “lucky” when she was diagnosed with cancer as a young woman because she had paid time off to tend to her health. She said everyone deserves what she called that “basic human right” and wants to see it guaranteed to workers statewide.

“We have to stand up and pass a law that will be acknowledged across the board,” she said.

While previous attempts at a statewide paid leave policy have fizzled, Ortiz y Pino said the tides may have changed. Voters ousted several powerful moderate Democratic senators this year, but the party’s majority in the chamber actually increased.

“We have a different Senate makeup now; I think some of the obstacles put up in committees in the past have simply been swept away by this election,” Ortiz y Pino said.

Republican Sen. Greg Baca of Belen was not part of the rally but told the Journal he thinks paid leave may stand a better chance at passage than before. But he said he would need to see a specific proposal before taking any position of his own.

“Topics come across my desk and I think, ‘I would never vote for this,’ but it ends up being a really good bill and something I could support,” he said. “I can’t rule it out unilaterally just on the basis of the concept. I would definitely need to see a bill.”


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

Nativo Sponsored Content

Ad Tango

taboola desktop

MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS

1
New Mexico credit union ceases overdraft fees
ABQnews Seeker
New Mexico's oldest credit union will ... New Mexico's oldest credit union will no longer charge overdraft fees to members.
2
Visit Albuquerque leader: Business travel recovery could take years
ABQnews Seeker
Albuquerque saw its fair share of ... Albuquerque saw its fair share of leisure travelers over the summer, but business travel to the city ...
3
Regents, city council give approval for south campus TIDD
ABQnews Seeker
The University of New Mexico moved ... The University of New Mexico moved a step closer to launching a massive development project on its south campus, which school officials envision will ...
4
Pecos River faces water shortages
ABQnews Seeker
Farmers growing alfalfa, corn and cotton ... Farmers growing alfalfa, corn and cotton in the arid Pecos River Basin of eastern New Mexico do so in a region known for extreme ...
5
NM preparing to roll out COVID-19 vaccine for younger ...
ABQnews Seeker
New Mexico is preparing to start ... New Mexico is preparing to start giving COVID-19 vaccine shots to children between ages 5 to 11, with the state set to receive 24,600 ...
6
In Pictures: Scenic Views, Vintage Train
ABQnews Seeker
Tourists from all over the country ... Tourists from all over the country come to the small towns of Chama, New Mexico, and Antonito, Colorado, to ride the 140-year-old narrow gauge ...
7
ABQ stadium bond question is botched
ABQnews Seeker
Ballot correctly describes gross receipts tax ... Ballot correctly describes gross receipts tax issue, then mislabels it as GO bond
8
UNM regents give up power over purchasing
ABQnews Seeker
Administration given the power to make ... Administration given the power to make decisions
9
Televised mayoral debate gets personal
ABQnews Seeker
Gonzales accuses Keller of 'serious misconduct,' ... Gonzales accuses Keller of 'serious misconduct,' mayor denies allegations