When new leave legislation goes into effect, insurance carriers need agile absence management solutions in order to adapt quickly. In this blog, you’ll learn key details on the recently passed New Mexico Healthy Workplaces Act and how FINEOS is helping carriers remain in compliance.
On April 8, Governor Grisham of New Mexico signed the House Bill 20, the Healthy Workplaces Act, bringing paid sick leave to the state. New Mexico joins 15 states and more than 20 localities in enacting paid sick leave legislation as trends toward new leave laws continue to grow, a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The law goes into effect July 1, 2022 and contains the following provisions:
Eligible Employees: All employees are eligible, including those employed on a part-time, seasonal or temporary basis.
Covered Employer: All employers in the state are covered.
Family Members: Covered family members include an employee’s spouse or domestic partner, or the employee’s, employee’s spouse or domestic partner’ child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, spouse or domestic partner of a family member, or any individual whose close association with the employee or the employee’s spouse or domestic partner is the equivalent of a family relationship.
Accrual and Frontloading: Employees accrue a minimum of one hour of earned sick leave for every 30 hours worked. An employer can choose to frontload 64 hours of earned sick leave each year instead of using an accrual method. Employers can limit employees to a total of 64 hours of earned sick leave per 12-month period.
Carry Over: Accrued unused earned sick leave carries over from year to year, but an employer is not required to permit an employee to use more than 64 hours in a 12-month period.
Leave Reasons: An employee may use earned sick leave for:
- their own or a family member’s:
- mental or physical illness, injury or health condition
- medical diagnosis, care or treatment of a mental or physical illness, injury or health condition
- preventive medical care
- meetings at their child’s school or place of care related to the child’s health or disability
- absence necessary due to domestic abuse, sexual assault or stalking suffered by the employee or a family member, to:
- obtain medical or psychological treatment or other counseling
- prepare for or participate in legal proceedings
- obtain services or assist a family member of the employee.
Notice Requirements: When the use of earned sick leave is foreseeable, the employee must make a reasonable effort to provide advance notice of the need for such sick leave to the employer and must make a reasonable effort to schedule the use of earned sick leave in a manner that does not unduly disrupt the operations of the employer. When the use of earned sick leave is not foreseeable, the employee must notify the employer as soon as practicable. Employers have written notice and posting requirements.
Coordination with Other Leaves and Policies: An employer cannot require an employee to use other paid leave before the employee uses sick leave pursuant to the Healthy Workplaces Act. An employer with a paid time off policy that provides an amount of earned sick leave sufficient to meet the accrual requirements of the Healthy Workplaces Act and that can be used for the same purposes and under the same terms and conditions is considered in compliance. There are certain requirements for paid time off pursuant to the collective bargaining agreement.
Certification: Documentation may only be required if sick leave has been used for two or more consecutive workdays. Acceptable forms of documentation vary by leave reason.
What is FINEOS doing to prepare for the new law?
FINEOS Absence will be prepared to support the job protection leave requirements of the New Mexico Paid Sick Leave by the July 1, 2022 effective date. By investing in modern, agile absence management systems like the cloud-based FINEOS Platform, insurance carriers will be able to respond quickly to changes in legislation and remain in compliance.