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New Mexico Issues Regulations for Paid Sick Leave

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The New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions has published regulations implementing the Healthy Workplaces Act, which goes into effect July 1. The regulations take effect on the same date. Under the new law, all private employers in New Mexico are required to provide up to 64 hours of earned paid leave annually for reasons specified in the act. In addition to the regulations, the department has published FAQs and a guide about the law, as well as a poster for employers to use to meet their notice requirement.

New Mexico Paid Sick Leave

Effective July 1, 2022, most New Mexico employers are required to provide up to 64 hours of paid leave annually for specific reasons relating to the health or safety of employees or their family members. The requirement is contained in the state’s Healthy Workplaces Act, passed April 8, 2021.

Covered Employers and Employees

The only employer exception provided in the law is for government employers. All employees are eligible for leave, including part-time, seasonal and temporary employees.

Paid Leave Accrual and Use

Employees must accrue at least one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours worked, or employers may frontload 64 hours of paid leave on Jan. 1 each year. Leave carries over from year to year, but employee use of leave may be capped at 64 hours annually. To determine the 12-month period in which leave may be used, employers may choose the calendar year, any fixed 12-month leave year (such as a fiscal year, a year required by other law or a year starting on an employee’s anniversary date), the 12-month period measured forward from the employee’s first use of sick leave, or a rolling 12-month period measured backward from the date an employee uses sick leave.

Leave begins accruing and may be used at the start of employment or July 1, 2022, whichever is later. Employees must be provided with leave upon an oral or written request by them or an individual acting on their behalf. Payout on separation of employment is not required.
Employers with policies providing leave benefits equivalent to those required by the law will be deemed in compliance.

Reasons for Leave

An employee may use paid sick leave for the following reasons:

  • For the employee’s 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; or preventive medical care;
  • For meetings at the employee’s child’s school or place of care related to the child’s health or disability; or
  • For absence necessary due to domestic abuse, sexual assault or stalking suffered by the employee or a family member of the employee; provided that the leave is for the employee to:
    • obtain medical or psychological treatment or other counseling;
    • relocate;
    • prepare for or participate in legal proceedings; or
    • obtain services or assist a family member with any of the above activities.

“Family member” means an employee’s spouse or domestic partner or a person related to an employee or an employee’s spouse or domestic partner as:

  • A biological, adopted or foster child, a stepchild or legal ward, or a child to whom the employee stands in loco parentis;
  • A biological, foster, step or adoptive parent or legal guardian, or a person who stood in loco parentis when the employee was a minor child;
  • A grandparent, grandchild or biological, foster, step or adopted sibling;
  • A spouse or domestic partner of a family member; or  
  • An individual whose close association with the employee or the employee’s spouse or domestic partner is the equivalent of a family relationship.

Employee Notice Requirements

When leave is foreseeable, employees must make a reasonable effort to provide advance oral or written notice of the need for leave to their employer. Similarly, employees must make a reasonable effort to schedule foreseeable leave so as to not unduly disrupt the employer’s operations. When leave is not foreseeable, the employee must notify the employer orally or in writing as soon as practicable.

Employer Notice Requirements

Employers must notify employees of their rights under the new law at the start of employment and in a poster displayed in the workplace. The state’s Department of Workforce Solutions is charged with providing a model notice for this purpose.


Penalties for employer violations of the paid leave law include damages, back pay, reinstatement and attorneys fees, among others.

Please Note: The state laws summaries featured on this site are for general informational purposes only. In addition to state law, certain municipalities may enact legislation that imposes different requirements. State and local laws change frequently and, as such, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information featured in the State Laws section. For more detailed information regarding state or local laws, please contact your state labor department or the appropriate local government agency.

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