Sick Leave Rules Extended to Family

On April 3, 2019, Gov. Grisham signed SB 123 into law. The law is effective June 14, 2019. It applies to all sized employers who have at least one employee performing work in New Mexico. The new law requires employers who are already providing sick leave to permit NM-based employees to use that time for an absence related to the illness of a spouse, domestic partner, or a family member by blood, marriage, or legal adoption (a parent, grandparent, great-grandparent, child, foster child, grandchild, great-grandchild, brother, sister, niece, nephew, aunt or uncle of an eligible employee).

An employer is not required to create a new bank of accrued leave. The law simply applies to sick leave already provided by an employer. Sick leave is defined as accrued paid time off that an employee is provided for an absence related to their own injury or illness. Thus, an employer with a leave program which does not require the employee to give a reason for the leave would align with the new requirement. Employers should work with outside counsel to update their leave policies and handbook, as appropriate.

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