Employee Wellness Act – Bernalillo County

Julianna SilvaBlog

paid time off

What You Need to Know about a New Ordinance that Many Companies are Already Implementing

Since the initiative launched in 2015, Family Friendly New Mexico has been asking businesses about their paid time off (PTO) practices. To date, 223 family friendly business awardees have offered 124,757 employees in New Mexico some form of paid time off (PTO). A new ordinance from the Bernalillo County Commission will require companies to offer PTO.

On October 1, 2020, The Employee Wellness Act (also known as the Paid Time Off ordinance) went into effect in the unincorporated areas of Bernalillo County. It is a legal requirement approved by the Bernalillo County Commission directing employers in the affected boundaries, with two or more employees, to offer paid time off to those employees.

It’s important to know if your business/organization is located in the boundary area. If you are a business that has multiple locations and one location is situated in the affected area, the employees that work from that location will be covered under the Act.

Here are a few highlights from the Act: (please visit the Bernalillo County website for detailed information)

  • All businesses within the unincorporated limits of Bernalillo County with 2 or more employees are required to comply with the Act. However, a newly registered business within the unincorporated limits of the County is exempt from the PTO ordinance for the first 12 months of the business’s operations. Ex: 365 days – no accrual, 366 day – accrual begins.
  • An employee can use the PTO for any reason or purpose.
  • An employee accrues one hour of paid time off for every 32 hours worked. An employee cannot accrue more than 28, 44, or 56 hours in a year, depending upon business size.
  • An employee cannot accrue more than 28, 44, or 56 hours in a year, depending upon business size. Employers with more than ten employees will have to provide increasing amounts of PTO in future years (see the Guide for details on company size requirements and the phased implementation of these limits).
  • An employer cannot require that the employee requesting time off to secure a replacement for their absence.
  • Employers will be required to accurately track and record the amount of PTO available to the employee. Hours do carry over from year to year but do not exceed the maximum allowed.
  • An employee may begin using their PTO on the 90th calendar day following either their date of employment or the effective date of the ordinance if they were already employed at the time the ordinance took effect. In this case, if the employee is already employed the effective date would be December 30, 2020.
  • If an employer’s policies offer more generous sick time, vacation time, or paid time off policies, then no separate tracking or additional paid time off will be required under this Act.

Click here to see the full text of the Ordinance (2019-32).

Julianna from Family Friendly NM

Julianna Silva, COO of Family Friendly NM, is a native New Mexican committed to helping New Mexicans realize economic vitality through her work to support both small business ownership and policies that enable families to thrive. A graduate of the UNM Anderson School of Management, she forged her path in entrepreneurship from her own consulting practice, co-ownership of a family business and by leading key initiatives at WESST. As Chief Operating Officer at Family Friendly New Mexico, Julianna collaborates with the CEO and staff to develop and implement operational infrastructure designed to achieve the FFNM mission to support businesses, their employees and families to thrive.