• YouTube Twitter Instagram Facebook
  • Office Locations Contact Us

About New Mexico Paid Sick Leave (Healthy Workplaces Act)

 

The Healthy Workplaces Act of 2021 is a law requiring all private employers in New Mexico to allow employees to accrue and use a benefit called earned sick leave. The law takes effect on July 1, 2022. The Act lets employees earn and use paid sick leave. Employees may use this leave for various reasons listed in the Act, like the employee’s or their qualifying family member's illness or injury, or to deal with certain legal and family issues. Employers who do not honor an employee’s rights to sick leave face potential civil liability. The Act authorizes the Labor Relations Division (LRD) of the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions (DWS) to investigate violations and enforce the Healthy Workplaces Act.

Employers with paid-time-off policies that are more generous than the minimum accrual and usage limits specified in Act are compliant with the Act if employees may use the leave for the same purposes and under the same terms and conditions specified in the Act.

The earned sick leave required by the Act is in addition to any paid time off provided by an employer pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement unless employees may use the paid time off for the same purposes and under the same terms and conditions specified in the Act.

Healthy Workplaces Act Final Rules 

Healthy Workplaces State Statute, NMSA Chapter 50, Article 17 - PDF

 

 

Frequently Asked Paid Sick Leave Questions

FAQs all-in-one - PDF

Our agency advises against a "borrowing sick leave" provision. This practice is administratively burdensome and complicated not only for the company but for the Labor Relations Division should we need to investigate a complaint. It is rife with opportunity for errors in calculations of time earned, used, and borrowed. Under Rules promulgated to enforce the provisions of the HWA, if the Division finds that an employer has not maintained accurate and complete records of paid sick leave accrual and usage, the Division may base its calculation of damages owed on other reasonable, credible evidence, including but not limited to the complainant’s estimates. (See 11.1.6.25 NMAC.)

Also, the "paying back" of sick leave could be an improper payroll deduction under New Mexico's Wage Payment Act. The frontloading structure of accrual, which is allowed for under the Act, could address a company's concerns regarding an employee not having accrued enough sick leave at the time the employee needs to use the hours. The Legislature did not address this in the statute but from an agency perspective, a "borrowing" policy brings unnecessary complication, confusion, and exposure to liability.

No. Any attempt to require an employee of any kind to sign a contract or other agreement that would limit or prevent an employee from asserting rights under the HWA is prohibited by the Act. An employer’s attempt to impose such a contract, agreement, or policy shall constitute an adverse action under the Act that is punishable by statutory damages of $250 for each occurrence.

No. Employers cannot require employees to use HWA leave. PSL may only be used upon the employee’s oral or written request. If the employee does not request use of PSL for a condition that may qualify for use under the Act, that is the employee’s choice, even if it results in no pay for the employee. This includes time that the employee may be off work due to FMLA or under another law such as the Promoting Financial Independence for Victims of Domestic Abuse Act.    

You should describe any leave accrued, used, carried over, or frontloaded in a manner that is sufficient to allow the Division to easily see whether you have complied with the Act or not. Failure to do so could be disadvantageous to employers if the Division investigates a complaint filed by an employee alleging violations of the Act. For this reason, it is recommended, but not required, that you clearly mark paid sick leave as such in records that you provide the Division.

HWA leave may be used if the employee is on unpaid leave, such as FMLA leave, provided the reason is permissible under the Act. On the other hand, the Act does not obligate an employer to allow an employee to take HWA leave concurrently with other paid leave, a double-dip situation. Remember, if an employer makes other paid leave available to employees beyond what is required by the Act (such as vacation or PTO), that employer may not require an employee to use that other paid leave before taking any available HWA leave.

No. The Act does not carve out any religious based exemptions from the Act. Churches, like all employers, are prohibited from discriminating against employees because of race, age, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, pregnancy, childbirth, or condition related to pregnancy or childbirth, physical or mental handicap or serious medical condition, or, if the employer has fifty or more employees, spousal affiliation.  

Under the Act employers are prohibited from counting an employee’s valid use of sick leave in a way that will lead to discipline, discharge, demotion, non-promotion, less favorable scheduling, reduction of hours, suspension, or any other adverse action.

The Act does not require employees to schedule use of sick leave in advance, except when the use of sick leave is foreseeable. In those cases, an employee is required to make a reasonable effort to provide oral or written notice of the need for such sick leave. And the employee must make a reasonable effort to schedule the use of sick leave in a manner that does not unduly disrupt the operations of the employer. When the use of sick leave is not foreseeable, the employee is only required to notify the employer orally or in writing “as soon as practicable.”   

123456

Contact Labor Relations Division

Albuquerque Map
Albuquerque
401 Broadway Blvd NE
Albuquerque, NM 87102
Phone: 505-841-4400
Fax: 505-841-4424
Las Cruces Map
Las Cruces
226 South Alameda Blvd
Las Cruces NM 88005
Phone: 575-524-6195
Fax: 575-524-6194

Resources, Guides, and Training

 
Paid Sick Leave Poster
 
Resources
 
Healthy Workplaces Act Complaint Form

This form is for complaints alleging violations of the accrued sick leave requirements under the New Mexico Healthy Workplaces Act

  • Do you want to become an

    Applications Developer?

    Develop, create, and modify general computer applications software or specialized utility programs. Analyze user needs and develop software solutions. Design software or customize software for client use with the aim of optimizing operational efficiency.

  • Do you want to become a

    Plumber?

    Assemble, install, alter, and repair pipelines or pipe systems that carry water, steam, air, or other liquids or gases. May install heating and cooling equipment and mechanical control systems.

  • Do you want to become an

    Ironworker?

    Raise, place, and unite iron or steel girders, columns, and other structural members to form completed structures or structural frameworks. May erect metal storage tanks and assemble prefabricated metal buildings.

  • Do you want to become an

    Electrician?

    Perform preliminary work with the material and tools of the trade; residential and commercial rough wiring and finish work including the installation of various kinds of wires, cables, and conduits per the National Electrical Code; industrial lighting and service installation; motors controls and installation including emergency generators, relays, and timing devices.

Can't find what you're looking for?

Contact us and we'll do our best to answer your questions.