Bernalillo County Commissioners cast their votes in a contentious 3-2 decision in favor of implementing the new Employee Wellness Act. Commissioners Michael Quezada, Maggie Hart Stebbins and Debbie O’Malley voted in favor of the bill with Charlene Pyskoty and Lonnie Talbert voting in opposition. The act requires businesses with at least two employees to provide workers with at least one hour of paid time off for every 32 hours worked. Businesses in the unincorporated areas of Bernalillo County will now have to begin the process of adapting their operations to fall in line with the new legislation.
There were some last minute concessions made to the mandate, including a gradual implementation phase and a limit on the damages employers would pay for an offense that requires a county administrative process before any lawsuit can be filed. The Law goes into effect on July 1st 2020 and will be rolled out over three years, allowing the businesses effected to adjust to the new rules. The law limits the amount of time accrued in the first year of implementation to 24 hours of earned time off, and then increases to 40 hours in the second year and 56 hours in the third year and beyond. The policy does allow companies offering more generous benefits to keep them without change as long as they meet the minimum standards of the Employee Wellness Act. Find additional details on the Employee Wellness Act HERE.