Family & Medical
New Mexicans deserve Paid Family & Medical Leave now!
New Mexicans cannot continue to wait for this vital safety net program that most of the world’s workers have had in place for years.
About Paid Family & Medical Leave
Too many New Mexico families are living paycheck-to-paycheck and struggling to make ends meet. Many are also living in intergenerational or single-parent households. One medical condition, injury, or family crisis can create serious economic disruption that can upend a family’s ability to pay rent, utilities, or provide food for their families. We know that we can and must do more to ensure that no New Mexican must choose between paying their bills and caring for their health or the health of a family member. That is why we need to create the Paid Family & Medical Leave Act (PFMLA) during the 2024 legislative session.
The ‘Paid Family & Medical Leave Act’ (PFMLA)
WHAT IS IT, HOW MUCH DOES IT COST, AND HOW DOES IT BENEFIT OUR SMALL BUSINESSES, OUR WORKERS, AND THE ECONOMY:
At some point in our working years, most New Mexicans will need to take time away from work when we welcome a new child, face a serious health issue, or the illness of a close family member. We can each do a little to make a big difference, protecting ourselves and one another from economic disruption.
The Paid Family & Medical Leave Act (PFMLA) would create a program, administered by the state of New Mexico, to provide up to 12 weeks of paid leave for employees to care for a new child, a family member with a serious health concern, or their own medical condition.
The Paid Family & Medical Leave Act will:
Establish a Fund
The PFMLA would establish the Paid Family & Medical Leave Fund, administered by the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions (NMDWS). Individuals who need to take a longer period of time away from work to manage certain kinds of medical and family issues would apply to NMDWS to receive a percentage of their salary. It will ensure economic security for our hardworking families.
The Fund would be paid for through employee and employer contributions. For every $1000 earned, a worker will pay $5 into the PFML Fund. For a full-time minimum wage employee, that will be about $2.30 per week. Employers with more than five employees would add $4 to the Fund. Employers with fewer than five employees will not be required to pay into the PFML fund.
Support Workers & Businesses
PFML will be available for workers who need to take up to 12 weeks away from work due to specific life events. It also helps employers! While away on leave, a worker will receive funds from NMDWS, so the employer can use the savings to pay overtime, hire a temps, or reinvest in their business. Keeping our small businesses competitive year-round.
The Benefits of Paid Family & Medical Leave
EXPANDS ECONOMIC RESILIENCY & GROWTH
- Increases businesses competitive edge to hire & retain top talent.
- Increases workforce participation for unpaid family caregivers, mothers, and individuals with chronic health conditions.
- Address NM’s ongoing labor shortages by bringing individuals off the sidelines and back into the workplace.
- Has been proven to improve employee performance, engagement and reduces turnover costs for employers.
SUPPORTS OUR HARDWORKING FAMILIES
- Ensures families don’t have to choose between their job and caring for a new baby, a sick family member, or their own serious health condition.
- Helps to reduce infant mortality, child abuse injuries, & nursing home usage.
- Provides job stability (People who take leave to address a serious health condition early in the disease are less likely to leave the workforce permanently due to disability).
SUPPORTS NEW MEXICANS IN RURAL AREAS
- PFMLA will support healthier pregnancies and better birth outcomes for rural New Mexicans.
- Allows more rural New Mexicans to participate in the workforce while addressing health concerns and/or providing unpaid caregiving to family members.
- Increases access to family support for hospitalized children, whose parents may otherwise be unable to care for them due to long travel distances between work and pediatric hospitals.
Paid Family & Medical Leave Act (PFMLA) FAQ: Comprehensive Guide
Welcome to our PFMLA FAQ section, where we aim to provide you with clear and concise answers to the most common questions surrounding the Paid Family & Medical Leave Act. We understand that navigating the complexities of PFML can be daunting, and that’s why we’re here to help. Whether you’re an employee seeking information on your rights, an employer looking to understand your obligations, or simply curious about the impact of this essential policy, our FAQ is your go-to resource. Explore the questions below to gain a better understanding of how PFML can benefit you, your family, and your community.
1. What is the Paid Family & Medical Leave Act (PFMLA)?
The PFMLA is a program administered by the state of New Mexico that provides up to 12 weeks of paid leave for eligible employees to care for a new child, a family member with a serious health concern, or their own medical condition.
2. Why is PFMLA important for New Mexico?
- Support for Small Businesses: PFMLA can take the burden off small business owners by creating a safety net for them and their employees.
- Recruitment and Retention: It helps businesses, especially small ones, compete with larger corporations that offer paid leave programs.
- Economic Security: It ensures economic security for employees, supporting healthier pregnancies, better birth outcomes, and quicker recoveries for those facing health issues or caregiving responsibilities.
3. Who benefits from PFMLA?
- Employees: PFMLA allows employees to take paid leave when they welcome a new child, face a serious health issue, or need to care for a family member.
- Employers: Employers benefit from wage savings during an employee’s leave, allowing them to invest in other areas or hire temporary replacements.
- Families: PFMLA supports healthier pregnancies, better birth outcomes, and provides crucial family support during medical crises.
- Rural New Mexicans: PFMLA is especially beneficial for rural residents who often face long distances to access medical care.
4. How does PFMLA work?
- The Department of Workforce Solutions administers the PFML Fund, supported through employee and employer contributions.
- Employers with fewer than five employees are exempt from paying the employer contribution, but their employees can still contribute and access the program.
- After contributing for at least six months, eligible employees receive a percentage of their average weekly wages for up to 12 weeks.
- Self-employed individuals can opt into the program.
- Payments come directly from the PFML Fund, benefiting both employees and employers.
5. How does PFMLA benefit rural New Mexicans?
- Healthier Pregnancies: PFMLA supports healthier pregnancies and better birth outcomes.
- Flexibility for Specialty Care: Intermittent leave allows for flexibility in accessing specialty care while maintaining employment.
- Increased Workforce Participation: It enables rural New Mexicans to participate in the workforce while addressing health concerns or providing caregiving.
- Access to Pediatric Care: PFMLA increases access to family support for hospitalized children, addressing long travel distances.
- Faster Recovery for Elders: For older adults, PFMLA is associated with reduced emergency room and nursing home care.
6. What's the difference between PFMLA and private paid leave programs?
PFMLA is a state-administered program that ensures access to paid leave for employees across various businesses, including smaller ones. Private paid leave programs are offered by some large corporations but may not be accessible to all employees.
7. Are other states implementing PFML programs?
Yes, other states have implemented PFML programs with positive outcomes, including reduced infant mortality, improved employee performance, and greater family support during health crises.
8. How does PFMLA address concerns about its cost to employers?
- Employers with fewer than five employees are exempt from paying the employer contribution.
- Payments into the fund are structured so that the cost for employers is about $4 for every $1,000 of wages, while employees contribute $5 for every $1,000 of wages.
9. When is PFMLA expected to start if passed?
If the bill passes, the program would not start until 2027 to allow employers time to prepare and understand the law and the IT system.
10. How can I get involved or learn more about PFMLA?
For more information or to get involved, please contact the Southwest Women’s Law Center at 505.244.0502 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.