This article rounds up recent updates to state paid sick leave programs in New Mexico, Bloomington, Minnesota, and West Hollywood, California. Employers with employees in these states should be aware of the below changes and review/update any sick policies, as necessary.

New Mexico: Healthy Workplaces Act of 2021

The Healthy Workplaces Act of 2021 (“Act”) requires all private employers with employees working in New Mexico (including remote employees) to provide covered employees with earned paid sick leave. The law took effect on July 1, 2022.

The Details:

  • Covered Employers: All private employers (regardless of size) with employees working in New Mexico, including out-of-state employers.
  • Covered Employees: All full-time, part-time, seasonal, temporary, and remote employees working in New Mexico.
  • Accrual: Employees are entitled to accrue one hour earned sick leave for every 30 hours worked. There is no limit for how many hours of paid sick employees can earn, however employers may cap usage at 64 hours within a 12-month period.
    • Frontloading: Employers may choose to provide 64 hours of paid sick leave at the beginning of each calendar year (for employees hired mid-year, a pro-rated amount for the remainder of the year) instead of implementing an accrual policy; however, employers who choose to frontload paid sick leave should ensure they provide additional hours to employees who work more than 1,920 hours (employees who work more than 1,920 hours in a year will be entitled to more than 64 hours of paid sick leave under the Act).
    • Waiting Period: There is no waiting period for employees to accrue and use paid sick leave.
    • Carryover: Accrued but unused hours must be carried over to the next year, up to a maximum of 64 hours.
  • Paid Sick Leave Uses: Examples of permitted uses of paid sick leave include reasons for the employee’s or qualifying family member’s mental or physical illness, injury, medical diagnosis, health condition or to deal with certain legal and family issues such as domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking. For a complete list of qualifying uses of leave, see the Act.
  • Recordkeeping: Employers must retain documents of the hours worked by employees and earned sick leave taken for at least 4 years. Paid sick leave accrual and usage must be reported to employees at least once every calendar quarter. Further, the state recommends (but does not require) accrued paid sick leave balances to be tracked on employee paystubs.
  • Payment of Leave Upon Separation of Employment: Employers are not required to provide financial or other reimbursement for unused accrued paid sick leave at the time of termination.
  • Notice Requirements: Employers must provide a written or electronic notice at the time of hire and display this notice in a “conspicuous and accessible place” at workplaces. For fully remote businesses, the poster can be distributed via a website, email, or other form of electronic communication. Employers can use the model poster to satisfy this requirement.

Equivalent Employer Policy: To comply, employers can also develop a policy that is more generous than the minimum requirements of the Act; however, it is important to note that employers must offer these policies to their full time, part-time, seasonal, and temporary employees to be compliant. In situations of unlimited time off policies, employers should still track time off used for eligible sick reasons.

West Hollywood – Guaranteed Leave Provision

As part of the city’s Minimum Wage Ordinance (“Ordinance”), employers with employees working in West Hollywood must now provide at least 96 compensated hours and 80 uncompensated hours of leave to employees for sick leave, vacation, or personal necessity (collectively “guaranteed leave”). The guaranteed leave provisions are in effect as of July 1, 2022.

How it works:

  • Covered Employers: Employers with employees working in West Hollywood (regardless of size).
  • Covered Employees: Employees working at least 2 hours in West Hollywood, including part-time, seasonal, and temporary employees.
  • Accrual: Employees are entitled to accrue no less than 0.039 hours of uncompensated leave for each hour worked (up to 80 hours per year) and no less than 0.047 hours of compensated leave for each hour worked (up to 96 hours per year).
    • Part-time employees are eligible to accrue leave in increments proportional to that accrued by someone who works 40 hours in a week. For example: a part-time employee working 12 hours in a pay period within West Hollywood should accrue 0.564 (0.047 multiplied by 12 hours) compensated leave hours and accrue 0.468 (0.038 multiplied by 12 hours) uncompensated leave for that pay period.
    • Frontloading: Employers may choose to frontload uncompensated and compensated leave each year, instead of implementing an accrual policy.
    • Waiting Period: Employees may use accrued leave after the 120th day of employment; however, compensated leave designated as sick leave must be available no later than the 90th day of employment.
    • Carryover: Accrued but unused hours must be carried over to the next year, up to a maximum of 192 hours for compensated leave and up to a maximum of 80 hours for uncompensated leave.
  • Paid Sick Leave Uses:
    • Compensated Leave: sick, vacation, or personal necessity.
    • Uncompensated Leave: unpaid time off for sick leave for the illness of the employee or a member of their immediate family, once compensated leave is fully exhausted.
  • Payment of Leave Upon Separation of Employment: If compensated leave is classified as vacation or personal leave, employers must pay an employee any remaining accrued time at their regular wage rate upon termination. If compensated leave is classified as sick leave, employers are not required to pay any remaining accrued leave upon termination.
  • Equivalent Employer Policy: Employers can comply with the Ordinance by offering a PTO and/or sick leave policy that provides the same or better entitlement to leave.

Important Note: The West Hollywood Ordinance is meant to provide leave benefits above and beyond the state requirements under the California Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act. Employers may be subject to both California and West Hollywood’s leave provision laws. If a leave law conflicts, employers must follow the law that is more beneficial to the employee.

Bloomington, MN: Earned Sick and Safe Leave

The City of Bloomington has passed an Earned Sick and Safe Leave Ordinance (“Ordinance”) that requires employers to provide earned sick and safe leave to individuals working in the city of Bloomington, Minnesota. The ordinance will go into effect on July 1, 2023.

How it works:

  • Covered Employers: Employers with employees in Bloomington, Minnesota. For employers with 6 or more employees, the time must be paid. For employers with 5 or less employees, the time may be unpaid. Employer size is based on the average number of all employees (part-time, full-time, temporary) per week in the previous calendar year.
  • Covered Employees: The ordinance applies to part-time and full-time employees that work at least 80 hours in a year in Bloomington (including employees working remotely from Bloomington).
  • Accrual: Employees must be provided a minimum of 1 hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked in Bloomington, up to a maximum of 48 hours in a calendar year.
    • Frontloading: Employers may comply by frontloading at least 48 hours of sick and safe time following the initial 90 days of employment for use during an employee’s first calendar year and by frontloading at least 80 hours of sick and safe time beginning each subsequent calendar year.
    • Carryover: Accrued but unused hours may be carried over to the next year, up to a maximum of 80 hours.
    • Waiting Period: Accrual begins at the commencement of employment and employees are entitled to use accrued time 90 days following date of hire.
  • Uses of Leave: Employees can use sick and safe leave for their own or a family member’s treatment, diagnosis, or care for a mental or physical illness/injury, absences related to the employee or their family member’s domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking, and for the closure of the employee’s business “by order of a public official” due to public health or safety, and to accommodate school or daycare closures due to health emergencies, weather, or public utility outages.
  • Notice/Recordkeeping: Employers must post in a conspicuous place earned sick and safe leave workplace posters and, if an employer provides an employee handbook, must provide leave information in the handbook. Employers must also maintain records of not less than three (3) years in addition to the current calendar year of sick leave accrual and usage and, for non-exempt employees, hours worked. Employers must provide this information to an employee upon their request (employers can also provide this information via paystubs or an online system). The City will provide sample notices prior to the July 2023 effective date.

Equivalent Employer Policy: Employers can comply with the Ordinance by providing employees sick and safe time under a PTO or other paid leave policy that provides the same or better benefits than provided under the Ordinance.

Employer Action Items

  • Review employee work locations to determine whether these new paid sick laws apply
  • If necessary, amend existing leave policies to comply with new paid sick leave provisions
  • Ensure you have a tracking mechanism in place for accrued leave entitlements
  • Comply with any notice/poster requirements

Additional Resources

Allison McCullick — Allison McCullick is a Human Resource Business Partner for Sequoia One where she acts as a strategic advisor to her clients. In her free time, Allison enjoys listening to country music, spending time outdoors with her family, and doing home improvements.