In June Albuquerque City Councilors tried again to vote on 3 new employment mandates, one of which stated that all businesses must provide paid sick leave for all employees, among other benefits. This proposal was nearly identical to one voted down by city residents in 2017. Additionally, due to the new COVID-19 rules for council meetings, the public and business owners were not able to attend and voice opposition or their concerns relating to the bills and how quickly they were being pushed through. Here’s a simplified look at the proposals the city council is attempting to pass on June 29th:
- Public emergency sick leave – 80 hours (available immediately) of sick paid time off for full time employees. For part-time workers, hours of paid sick leave equal to the number of hours that worker performs on a two week average.
- Public Health Emergency “Premium Pay” – for essential businesses with more than 50 employees, extra pay for all employees making $15/hr or less:
- $30 paid on top or regular wages for any employee working a shift less than 4 hours;
- $60 paid on top of regular wages for any employee working any shift from 4-8 hours (that’s $7.50 extra in addition to regular hourly wages);
- $75 paid on top of regular wages for any employee working any shift over 8 hours
- Regular earned paid sick leave – One hour of mandatory paid sick leave for each 30 hours worked up to 56 hours a year, and able to be carried over year after year. This mandate is a revival of the original sick leave bill that voters struck down.
In addition to these new regulations for businesses, the mandates include provisions stating any aggrieved employee may bring civil suit against an employer or business if they feel they are not receiving the full extent of these benefits. Whether the business is financially able to provide it or not.
NMBC has initiated a Call To Action as of June 17th to mobilize the Albuquerque community of customers, business leaders and employees input on the mandates and stop these job killing initiatives.
Post City Council meeting Update – June 29th
The Albuquerque City Council meeting ended with the members deciding to push the vote on employee paid sick leave and emergency paid sick leave mandates to the next meeting on Monday August 3rd. There is good news however; the “Premium Pay” mandate that was proposed by city Councilors Isaac Benton and Lan Sena was voted down in a 7-2 decision. NMBC applauds the City Council member’s decision to vote NO on the proposed “premium pay” ordinance. The tremendous input from members of the public was also a critical resource in this initially successful effort. over 400 members of the Albuquerque community joined in the call to protect our businesses from these onerous proposals by council members with a narrow understanding of how to run a business and provide for employees. Regulations like these hurt businesses, cost countless jobs, and scare off potential new businesses in the city. As businesses struggle to recover and adapt to new practices in a COVID-19 environment, the last thing city legislators should do is kick them while they’re down.
But the fight isn’t over yet. City councilors will meet on August 3rd, again without the public there to have a say on the matter, and vote on the remaining sick leave bills. NMBC has revamped and renewed our call to action and is ready to continue the push against these mandates that will harm our businesses and affect job opportunities for years to come. NMBC asks that you stand with usand join the effort to push for smart business legislation in Albuqueruqe!
The Albuquerque City Council has created a task force, sponsored by City Councilor Diane Gibson, to explore the options for implementing a standard for minimum sick leave requirements in Albuquerque. The six person Sick Leave Task Force will be comprised of three employee advocates or employee associations, and three business advocates and/or trade associations. The purpose of the task force is to explore options on minimum sick leave requirements for businesses, options for exemptions, and additional recommendations for City Council members.
The creation of this task force is the latest indication that the City Council isn’t letting up on it’s pursuit of more job killing legislation for Albuquerque. The Council members have been silent on the issue since the defeat of “premium pay” in June, but the sick leave issue is still on the minds of some council members and we expect the Council to try again once this task force has submitted its recommendations. NMBC will continue to monitor the issue, Council meetings, and task force findings to bring you updates. To read the task force resolution click HERE.