Press Release

NM Community, Worker Groups Support Paid Sick Days Ordinance to Improve City’s Health and Economic Competitiveness


ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico – Citing research showing paid sick day policies make good business sense for communities, a broad coalition of working families, social justice organizations and city leaders joined Working America members in supporting new worker protection legislation introduced by the City Council on Monday.  

Introduced by Councilors Klarissa Peña and Isaac Benton, the proposal, called the Albuquerque Fair Workweek Act, would codify a number of important protections for workers, including allowing employees to earn up to seven paid sick days per year and providing hourly workers with advance notice of schedules and shift changes.

“Too many Albuquerque families are teetering on the edge of financial disaster,” said Council President Rey Garduño. “This ordinance will provide much-needed economic stability for struggling working families and will improve the overall health and well-being of our city.”

The ordinance includes several basic provisions including:

  • Allowing employees to accrue paid time off that can be used when they or a loved one is sick, commonly referred to as paid sick days;
  • Providing 21 days’ advance notice of employees’ schedules, and compensating employees for any schedule changes made within 24 hours of a schedule shift;
  • Mandating an 11-hour rest period for employees between scheduled shifts. 

“I have a demanding job that provides me little notice of when I’m expected to work, making it hard for me to schedule doctor’s appointments or recover when I get sick. I have even been reprimanded for having to take time off when I had food poisoning,” said Alyssa R., a member of Working America. “Workers need the Fair Workweek ordinance so we won’t be forced to choose between our health and our jobs.”

Paid sick days promote community health and make good financial sense for workers, employers and taxpayers. The National Partnership for Women and Families says 2 in 5 private sector workers don’t have access to paid sick time, which can have a damaging effect on community health and the local economy. Studies show that parents without paid sick days are more than twice as likely to send an ill child to school or day care as parents with paid sick days, and that just 3.5 days without pay is equal to the price of an entire month of groceries. In Albuquerque, it is estimated that nearly 100,000 workers lack access to earned sick days, including many women, people of color, and low-income workers who are significantly less likely to have access to earned sick days than other workers.

“Our members serve the public, working in food preparation and service-related occupations—our health is an important component of our work,” said Greg Frazier, President of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1564. “Workers face a tough dilemma: go to work sick to pay the bills, or stay home to recover and lose a day’s wages. It’s not a choice workers should have to make. Albuquerque can do better.”

More than 700 Albuquerque Working America members have been engaged in efforts to bring public awareness to these and other challenges they face at work, according to Jared Ames, New Mexico State Director of Working America, the 3-million member community affiliate of the AFL-CIO.

“Our members are fired up and busy having conversations with their neighbors, friends and co-workers to educate them about the Fair Workweek Ordinance,” said Ames. “Being able to take a sick day to care for your child or being able to predict and plan your schedule—these are basic issues that touch a lot of families in Albuquerque.”

The ordinance is supported by OLÉ, the Communications Workers of America, The Center for Law and Poverty, El Centro de Igualdad y Derechos, the United Food and Commercial Workers, SouthWest Organizing Project, The Center for Civic Policy, Progress Now!, the American Federation of Teachers and the New Mexico Federation of Labor.



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