Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Local group advocates paid family and sick leave

ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – A nonprofit advocating women’s and girls ‘access to economic resources is trying to get lawmakers’ attention. The Southwest Women’s Law Center in New Mexico has been promoting paid family and sick leave for years. The group has a goal for next month’s legislature.

Says Tracy McDaniel, of the Southwest Women’s Law Center, “We would love to see the governor reaffirm her commitment to working families by putting the Paid Family and Sick Leave Act on her agenda to be fully addressed during the 2022 legislature could.”

In 2019, Albuquerque SWLC submitted the Paid Family and Sick Leave Act to legislature for review. Now with the pandemic, political advocates are saying our workforce is more needed for economic stability.

The group invites the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions to help with this effort. “To come around a table and work out some of the technical issues that need somehow to be resolved in the first year of planning and give us a head start so we are ready for the 2023 legislature,” said McDaniel

The Paid Family and Sick Leave Act would establish a trust fund through employee and employer contributions. The remuneration would be managed through Workforce Solutions. “Once a person had been paying into this fund for at least six months and had a qualifying event, they could apply to the department,” says McDaniel.

Qualifying events include taking in a new child, caring for a seriously ill family member, or managing your own health. A recent survey commissioned by Change Research shows that a large majority of New Mexicans support a government-administered paid family and sick leave program. Says McDaniel, “78 percent of total New Mexicans supported paid family and sick leave. When we explained the low cost of $ 2 to $ 6 a week for the worker, it rose to 81%. “

Policy advocates hope that New Mexico will become the tenth state to offer paid family and sick leave programs. The 30-day legislative period begins on January 18th.

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