In an end run around the Albuquerque voters who clearly voted against a mandated sick leave in 2017 the Bernalillo County Commission voted 3-2 to pass a mandatory paid time off ordinance, after deferring the vote for one month. Commissioners Maggie Hart Stebbins, Debbie O’Malley, and Michael Quezada supported the bill and Commissioners Charlene Pyskoty and Lonnie Talbert voted against the measure. While NMRA actively opposed the legislation throughout, our position being that we don’t agree with unfunded mandates on businesses and the additional argument that the county is not the right place to make employment law.

There were 14 amendments included in the final bill. This open letter to the county commission signed by a coalition of 30 business groups, led by NMRA, points out the sloppy drafting and anti-business stance of this ordinance.

Here are 8 of the amendments included in the final bill:

  1. Require administrative enforcement to be exhausted prior to access to civil court;
  2. Require the county to notify an employer when an administrative complaint has been filed;
  3. Provide a 45-day time period where the employer will be notified of a complaint and be able to comply with the county for records or work to resolve the issue prior to the beginning of the administrative enforcement process;
  4. Eliminate the two times liquidated damages in civil court;
  5. Provide a three-year phase in of the requirement:
    • 24 hours PTO year one,
    • 40 hours year two,
    • 56 hours year three;
    • ongoing at 56 hours thereafter;
  6. Allow for exemption of existing collective bargaining agreements;
  7. Move the implementation date to July 1, 2020; and,
  8. Allows for more generous PTO earned sick time.

What did not change:

  1. This law applies to full-time, part-time, seasonal and temporary employees.
  2. A minimum of 1hour of earned paid time off for every 32 hours worked.
  3. Unused accrued earned paid time off shall be carried over to the following year, but employees shall not carryover more than the total annual amount available to accrue, unless the employer’s policy provides otherwise.
  4. An employer shall provide earned paid time off upon request of an employee or a family member, caretaker, or medical professional acting on the employee’s behalf. (This provision does not allow an employer to refuse PTO for any reason including work load or previously scheduled vacations)
  5. Upon an employee’s request, an employer shall inform an employee of the amount of earned paid time off accrued and used by the employee.
  6. The employer is required to notify employees of the provisions in this ordinance.
  7. Each employer subject to the provisions of Section 3 shall, at the time of hiring employment, provide notice to each employee:

(1) of the entitlement to earned paid time off for employees, the amount of paid time off  provided to employees and the terms under which earned paid time off may be used;

(2) ways in which an employee may submit a request for, or notify, an employer of the use of paid time off, whether orally, in writing or electronically, and to whom;

(3) that retaliation by the employer against the employee for requesting or using paid time off for which the employee is eligible is prohibited; and,

(4) that the employee has a right to file a complaint with the county for any violation of this Ordinance.

(B) Employers may comply with the provisions of this section by displaying a poster in a conspicuous place, accessible to employees, at the employer’s place of business that contains the information required by this section in both English and Spanish.

(C) The County may adopt regulations to establish additional requirements concerning the 36 means by which employers shall provide such notice.

(D)On or before the effective date of this Ordinance, the County shall make available on its  website a summary notice to employees in English and Spanish of each provision of this Ordinance.

According to the ordinance the County will develop guidelines for businesses in the unincorporated district of Bernalillo County. This law will go into effect on July 1, 2020. We will disseminate those guidelines to our members as soon as they are posted.

Albuquerque City councilors wasted no time introducing their own paid time off ordinance. According to the Albuquerque Journal, City Councilors Pat Davis and Isaac Benton said Friday that they have ordered an economic analysis of the paid leave legislation the Bernalillo County Commission approved this week to see how it would work in Albuquerque. Read more here…

Here is a copy of the op-ed written by Carol Wight, CEO of NMRA.

Here is the Final Ordinance passed by the Bernalillo County Commission.