Doctors back paid sick leave bill in state legislature

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- A bill that would require paid sick leave for all New Mexicans is awaiting a hearing in the Senate.

If House Bill 20 becomes law, workers would earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked– up to 64 hours a year.

The Healthy Workplaces Act passed the House Sunday by a vote of 36 to 33, and is now waiting to be heard in the first of two senate committees.

"By allowing New Mexico workers to take time off when they’re sick without losing their paychecks or their jobs we can help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and significantly reign in the pandemic," said Dr. Robert Ferraro.

During a virtual news conference, hosted by the Committee to Protect Medicare, Ferraro and retired Dr. Kathleen Gresh, spoke out in support of the bill– urging the Senate and governor to support it.

"We don’t want people with COVID-19 who may be asymptomatic going to work," said Dr. Gresh. "We don’t want them to transmit the virus to their coworkers and the community beyond.”

However, the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce and others in the business community have raised concerns about the bill, and others like it.

They say it could hurt businesses that are already struggling to stay open during the pandemic.

The debate will continue if and when the bill gets a hearing in the Senate.