The Albuquerque City Council is expected to vote on the controversial paid sick leave bill on Monday June 29th, at the next council meeting. Councilors Benton and Sena have adjusted their approach to passing the bill by separating the issues into two separate bills to be voted on at the upcoming meeting. The first bill that would impact businesses and employers is the implementation of “public health emergency paid leave”. This bill has two components; it would mandate that employers provide an immediately available 80 hours of paid sick time through Dec. 31st to help employees who may become ill due to coronavirus or need to remain home to care for a family member struggling with the disease. The other half of this bill is a revival of the paid sick leave mandate that was turned down by voters in 2017. The bill would mandate that all Albuquerque employers provide a permanent earned paid sick leave benefit starting Jan. 1. Read more here.
The permanent earned paid sick leave is nearly identical to a bill that Albuquerque voters said no to three years ago last time councilors proposed it, and similar to the paid leave bill that was rammed through by Bernalillo County last year in spite of strong opposition.
A separate bill, again being proposed Monday Councilors Benton and Sena, is pushing to mandate that employers of more than 50 people pay an additional “premium pay” related to the current public health emergency. In some cases this bill could mandate that businesses pay employees over $22 per hour. This push to demand more of employers when most businesses are struggling to keep the doors open and retain staff amid falling demand is simply kicking businesses when they’re already down. City Councilors with little or no business experience miss the mark in mandating wages and this effort is no exception. The result will be less job availability for those who need it the most during the struggle to return to normal.
Normally NMBC would encourage citizens to attend the meeting on Monday and voice your concerns, but with the restrictions on gatherings of people still in effect, the Council chamber will be empty. City Councilors will decide the result of these bills without the impact of in person public input. While there is no way around this ban on gatherings, there is still something you can do to help stop these bills: call or email your city councilor and tell them this mandate will hurt struggling employers and drive more businesses out of NM. You can take 30 seconds to fill out the contact form on the right side of this page and easily email all of the Albuquerque Councilors. Feel free to edit the message and include your own voice and thoughts to relay that now is not the time to push and further harm struggling businesses.