Updated: June 24, 2020 05:14 PM
Created: June 24, 2020 04:18 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- Two Albuquerque city councilors want employers to be required to offer pandemic hazard pay and paid sick leave.
A federal law requires small businesses give their employees paid time off if they're unable to work because of COVID-19, but the law expires at the end of the year.
City councilors Isaac Benton and Lan Sena believe the law should be permanent in Albuquerque.
"We're in the midst of an emergency, declared public health emergency," Benton said. "The COVID-19 pandemic highlights the societal threat posed by the lack of paid sick leave."
Benton and Sena are also proposing premium pay for essential workers.
If approved, business owners would have to pay their employees up to $75 more per shift.
Some business owners say they can't afford the additional expense.
The Albuquerque Coalition for a Health Economy are against the ordinance.
"It is painfully clear to us that councilor Benton and councilor Sena are unclear about their goals or the implementation for these ordinances, and they clearly have no concern for business or the impact of COVID-19 on employers or their employees," the group said in a statement.
Benton disagrees with the group's sentiment.
"With regard to the hazard pay, there is pushback and opposition as there is for the other bill, but we're still open for discussion with that," Benton said. "Councilor Sena and I are meeting with the business community this week. We're open for discussing on that to make sure that fits with Albuquerque."
While they say they're open to talk about hazard pay, they don't plan on negotiating paid sick leave.
City council will meet on Monday to address the proposed ordinance.
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