Chamber opposes ballot initiative which mandates sick leave pay
An effort in Albuquerque is underway that promises to hurt businesses, particularly small businesses, if approved. Supporters of the Healthy Workforce Act are circulating a petition which would require that employers allow workers to accrue sick leave at a rate of one hour of leave per 30 hours worked. Employees would be allowed to use the leave for their own or a family member’s illness, injury or medical care, or for absences related to domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking. The Chamber is opposing the ballot initiative as it would cause yet another unnecessary burden and expense for businesses to shoulder. In an economy that continues in its struggle to recover, the Chamber says the ordinance would hurt the people it's designed to help. Businesses would be faced with the decision of whether to reduce employee hours or entire jobs to compensate for the increase in expenses.
“Under this proposal, if I have an employee who calls in sick, I not only have to pay that employee, but also the person who covers their shift for the day and that's a big expense,” said Chamber member Ed Henderson, Owner of Smallcakes. “As business owners, we should be allowed to decide how we operate our companies without constant external interference and mandates.”
So far, ballot supporters have submitted about 3,000 signatures to the city clerk’s office. At least 14,218 signatures from city registered voters by July 11 for the petition to be considered for the general election ballot in November. If sufficient signatures are gathered and verified, the initiative would still have to be approved by the Bernalillo County Commission before it could be included on the ballot.
To read the ordinance language, as proposed, click HERE.