The far-left Democrats’ Paid Family and Medical Leave Act (S.B. 3) finally died on the House floor. The legislation, which proposed to provide New Mexico workers with paid leave for critical life events, faced its decisive moment on the House floor with a 34-36 defeat.
The bill’s advocates claimed it was to address a gap in worker benefits by ensuring paid time off for New Mexico’s workforce, irrespective of their current employment benefits. The proposed measure was comprehensive, offering up to 12 weeks of paid leave for employees to bond with a new child or mourn the loss of a child. Additionally, it included provisions for up to nine weeks of leave for employees or their family members facing serious health conditions.
The legislation also recognized the supposed need of individuals recovering from domestic violence, categorizing this under “safe leave” by having their employer cover it.
To support this ambitious program, the bill outlined a funding mechanism that involved contributions from both employees and employers with more than five workers. Specifically, the funding model proposed a contribution of $5 from workers and $4 from employers for every $1,000 earned in wages. This approach aimed to create a state fund dedicated to compensating workers during their leave periods via the dollars of hard-working taxpayers.
Despite the bill’s intentions claiming to support workers during pivotal moments in their lives, opposition emerged, highlighting concerns from the business community. Critics argued that the provision for 12 weeks of leave was extreme and would pose significant operational challenges for many businesses. Furthermore, they contended that the bill’s criteria for qualifying circumstances were excessively expansive, potentially complicating its implementation.
The defeat of Senate Bill 3 on the House floor marks a pivotal moment in the ongoing debate over worker benefits in New Mexico. Proponents of the bill viewed it as a crucial step toward supporting workers and their families during times of need, while opponents raised concerns about its feasibility, impact on businesses, and the sky-high costs of goods and services that would undoubtedly result from its enactment.