New Mexico Senate approves Paid Family and Medical Leave Act

Senate floor debates Paid Family and Medical Leave Act

On the Senate floor, there was a lengthy debate on the Paid Family and Medical Leave Act Friday evening.

SANTA FE, N.M. — After hours of debate, the Paid Family and Medical Leave Act passed the Senate late Friday evening. A similar effort failed last year, but sponsors made tweaks this time around that they believe will get it to the governor’s desk.

The vote was 25-15. The bill now moves to the House with only six days left in the session.

The basis of the bill is the same. If passed, it will require employees and employers to pay into a state fund that would allow workers to take paid time off when a child is born, for a family emergency, or another kind of medical crisis.

The changes discussed Friday center around the length of time off workers could take.

For maternity and paternity leave, employees can take up to 12 weeks off, but a floor amendment shortened the leave period for medical reasons down to nine weeks. The amendment also changes the leave from calendar year to application year to ensure that employees can’t take more than 12 weeks off in a year.

Another change on the Senate floor Friday was adding a required 20-day notice when possible.

They are also expanding the time employees have to pay into this fund before they can apply for paid time off. The original bill only required 90 days but that has been expanded to six months – a move that was popular with small business owners.

Other small business owners argue this bill would be a financial burden on employers and limit the ability of business owners to help out their employees on their own terms.