URGENT: Do We Care About Working Families? If so, Time to Show Up for Paid Family Leave. TODAY!

Senate Bill 11 would establish a 12-week Paid Family Medical Leave (PFML) benefit for nearly all workers in the state. There is amounting chamber of commerce effort to kill this bill and bill sponsor, Rep. Linda Serrato called us to encourage all of you to begin writing to members of the House Commerce & Economic Development Committee today and to attend the hearing tomorrow to raise your voice either in person or by zoom. This is why we do this work, now is the time to show up. Read On, then ACT!!!!!

 SB11-Paid Family & Medical Leave is a well-crafted piece of legislation that would provide NM workers with the security of knowing that should they or a family member become critically ill, they will be able to step away from work to address those issues without the added worry of losing their income or their job. The bill would require monthly employee contributions of one half of one percent of wages and employer contributions of just 4 tenths of one percent of wages into the newly established PFML fund. This critical social safety net imposes very little burden on employers, with 4 tenths of one percent of wages estimated at but $10/month per employee. 

Please use the contact information below and our speaking points to BOTH call and email all the legislators on this committee. The vote is going to be razor close, and this vote is the only thing keeping this bill from getting to the house floor and then on to the Guv. If time is limited, focus on Dems and especially the Dem. Chair.

We provide our own brief commentary, speaking points and contact info. But our action on this is crucial, as this bill would deliver targeted relief to NM workers when facing a major personal or family medical crisis. That is enough to worry about without having to worry about your income or your job.

Speaking points

Please use the speaking points below, taken from an excellent policy brief from the Center for American Progress, to make calls, send emails & make public comment. This is so important.

  • Far from being a burden on small business, studies show paid family and medical leave policies benefit small businesses by improving employee retention, reducing turnover costs, and increasing employee productivity and loyalty.
  • An ABQ Journal editorial argues SB 11 would result in a “significant deficit of $516 million by the 2028 budget year” just two years after implementation. However, they rely on a Legislative Finance Committee report that over-projects the program’s usage rate. Using up-to-date state data, UNMBBER’s estimates 35,126 yearly claims. Meanwhile LFC projects 87,125 yearly claims.
  • While Congress addressed this need amid the pandemic by providing temporary emergency paid sick leave and emergency paid child care leave to some workers, the United States still lacks a permanent and comprehensive paid family and medical leave policy. This makes the United States the only industrialized nation in the world to not guarantee any paid leave for workers. We can do better than that.
  • The system will support itself. SB 11 proposes a self-sustaining funding model in which both employers and employees make small bi-weekly contributions averaging less than the cost of a cup of coffee to a state-managed fund that will cover the employee’s time off when and if approved by DWS.
  • This is an innovative insurance policy that safeguards the bottom line of businesses and allows workers to care for their health or that of their loved ones without losing their entire pay.

Why We Need It

  • Only 20 percent of private sector workers had access to paid family leave in 2020 to care for a new child or a family member.
  • Only 42 percent of private sector workers had access to short-term disability insurance in 2020 to recover from an illness or injury.
  • Low-wage workers are less likely to have access to different forms of paid leave. For example, just 8 percent of workers in the bottom wage quartile—who on average earn less than $14 an hour—had access to paid family leave in 2020.

What are the Benefits of Paid Family & Medical Leave?

  • Paid family and medical leave offers wide-ranging benefits for individual and public health outcomes. For example,
  • Paid medical leave allows workers to pursue necessary medical treatment earlier and to manage ongoing treatment.
  • study of cancer patients and survivors found that those who had access to paid family and medical leave were better able to complete their treatment and manage symptoms and side effects. 
  • Paid Family & Medical leave policies have proven to increase rates and duration of breastfeeding; improve on-time vaccination rates; reduce infant hospital admissions; and improve health outcomes of elementary school children.
  • For birthing parents, taking paid maternity leave leads to lower rates of postpartum depression and improved physical health. Paid parental leave is also critical to help eliminate maternal health disparities, which are particularly devastating for Black women. 
  • Workers and their families lose $22.5 billion in wages each year due to a lack of paid family and medical leave, according to original CAP analysis.
  • Two-thirds of workers who received partial or no pay while on leave reported financial difficulty in making ends meet.
  • Working adults aged 21 to 64 lose an estimated $9,578 in wages after taking 12 weeks of unpaid leave. This equates to families losing 58 percent of their quarterly income. For Black, Asian, and Hispanic families, the percent of household income lost due to unpaid leave is far greater.
  • study of California’s paid family leave program found that the vast majority of California employers reported a positive or neutral effect on employee productivity (89 percent) as well as profitability and performance (91 percent). Similarly, 87 percent of employers reported no added costs due to the paid family leave program, and 9 percent of employers reported cost savings.
  • In New Jersey, the majority of small, medium, and large businesses say they have had no difficulty adjusting to the paid family leave law.
  • An analysis of employers in California found no evidence of higher wage costs or increased employee turnover when employees took paid family leave.

A Personal Story

I ran a small consulting business in Oakland before moving to New Mexico and I learned that you don’t need paid family medical leave until you do. And then you need it desperately. I know this from personal experience as when in my early 30s I was a single parent, when my 7-year old son Josh was diagnosed with leukemia and he immediately entered treatment. At the same time I was on deadline for a major federal grant with my largest client, the city of Oakland. I vividly remember sitting by my son’s bed in the hospital with my laptop in my lap furiously trying to finish a federal grant ( and not doing very well), when the nurse told me I had a phone call. The Mayor of Oakland was on the line, telling me that he was pulling their application and that I needed to pay attention to my son not this grant.   His action was a form of paid medical leave because the mayor also said they would pay my contract, including the work that we were not able to complete. To be clear, while I was a single parent with a small but developing research firm that at the time only eked out a salary for me, compared to most, I was well resourced. Most New Mexicans are not.

No parent should have to devote time to paid work when their child or spouse is in desperate need of support. A healthy, compassionate community pulls together and provides mutual support. With SB11 we are afforded a clear choice: Do we want to live governed by profit or by compassion?  We can choose to continue to live in a Darwinian world in which the strongest survive and thrive and the weak get trampled. Or by passing SB11, New Mexico will create a self-sustaining easily affordable safety net for New Mexico’s working families. This legislation will not prevent family or medical crises but it will ensure that a family that is suffering from one can afford to devote their time and energy to that crisis and the person in need. What is government for if not to provide that kind of support?

So pick up the phone call each of the committee members and then email them, urgently imploring them to pass SB 11.

Contact Info: Please call and email now!

Bulk mail: “Janelle Anyanonu” <Janelle.Anyanonu@nmlegis.gov>, “Mark Duncan” <Mark.Duncan@nmlegis.gov>, “Doreen Y. Gallegos” <doreen.gallegos@nmlegis.gov>, “Joshua N. Hernandez” <joshua.hernandez@nmlegis.gov>, “Derrick J. Lente” <derrick.lente@nmlegis.gov>, “Charlotte Little” <Charlotte.Little@nmlegis.gov>, “Patricia A. Lundstrom” <patricia.lundstrom@nmlegis.gov>, “Alan T. Martinez” <Alan.Martinez@nmlegis.gov>, “Jimmy G. Mason” <Jimmy.Mason@nmlegis.gov>, “Marian Matthews” <marian.matthews@nmlegis.gov>, “Linda Serrato” <linda.serrato@nmlegis.gov>

In solidarity and hope,

Paul & Roxanne

Categories: Economic justice

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2 replies

  1. Calls made and emails sent. Thank you for this alert.

  2. AAUW-NM has been working with the coalition long before the session started. AAUW and the League are pushing as hard as we can to get this across the line and to the Governor.

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