AARP Eye Center
Supporters of the Paid Family and Medical Leave Act are already getting ready for the next Legislative Session, bringing attention back to the issue with a series of town halls over the next couple of months.
The town hall listening sessions, being conducted by the Southwest Women’s Law Center, in partnership with the PFML Coalition, will hit every quarter of the state from now to early November.
At the end of the last Session, the Paid Family Medical Leave Act, Senate Bill 11, was tabled by the House Commerce and Economic Development Committee and ended it’s chances of passing this year – despite being passed by the Senate.
Still supporters vowed they would not give up and would bring the bill back for the next Session, hoping to get the legislation on the Governor’s Call.
“This is an important issue for New Mexicans, especially our family caregivers,” said Othiamba Umi, AARP New Mexico Associate State Director for Advocacy. “New Mexico has 270,00 caregivers across the state who help their parents, spouses or tother loved ones live independently at home – most while also juggling a full or part-time job.”
“This legislation would allow family caregivers and others the ability to take time off to care for themselves or a loved one without fear of losing their pay,” Umi said.
He said getting PFML passed during the 2024 Legislative Session would be a top priority for AARP New Mexico.
The proposed legislation would require both businesses and employees to pay into a state fund. The employer would pay .4 percent and the employee .5 percent of every $1,000 earned. The fund would then cover up to 67 percent of the employee’s salary while they are on leave – in part as an incentive for the individual to return to work as soon as possible.
The bill, however, was controversial at the time, drawing concerns from the business community and others about its impact on businesses, with opponents saying businesses were still recovering from the pandemic and dealing with the previous year’s passage of mandatory paid sick leave.
“That is why supporters are getting an early start to hear from people across the state and be able to show why paid family medical leave is so important and needed,” Umi said.
The town halls are set in the following communities, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Visit https://nmpfml.org/ for more information and to register.
· October 3 – Taos, Bataan Hall.
· October 4 – Española, Northern New Mexico Community College.
· October 17 – Las Cruces, Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico.
· October 18 – Ruidoso, TBD (registration will open soon.)
· November 2 – Grants, New Mexico State University, Grants.
· November 6 – Las Vegas, New Mexico Highlands University.
(Note: Events have already taken place in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Farmington, Gallup and Silver City.)