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NM reps open-armed on Obama family leave plan

President Barack Obama’s call to reform the nation’s family leave laws is getting a warm reception from New Mexico’s congressional delegation, including Republican Rep. Steve Pearce.

Obama last week signed a presidential memorandum allowing federal employees at least six weeks of paid leave when a child is born or adopted, plus the right to six additional weeks of leave without pay. The measure would also apply to those caring for sick family members. Currently, federal employees and workers at companies with 50 employees or more are eligible for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave.

Obama also asked Congress to pass a law giving American workers a chance to earn up to seven days of paid sick leave each year.

Some Republicans have balked at the proposals, but Pearce “recognizes the importance of flexibility in employment and leave practices,” his spokesman told the

Journal .

“The federal government, like any employer, needs to remain competitive and in step with the continual growth of two-income households,” said Pearce’s spokesman, Tom Intorcio. “While Mr. Pearce will need to carefully review the president’s announcement before evaluating its merits, he acknowledges the issue as one that is both timely and of keen interest to many New Mexicans.”

Delegation Democrats, all of whom support the president’s proposals, said a revision of federal maternity leave policy is long overdue.

“The fact that we are the only developed country in the world that does not offer paid maternity leave is unacceptable,” Sen. Martin Heinrich said.

Michael Coleman: