New Mexico: What’s New in New Mexico? A Lot of Employment Laws

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June 14, 2019 (Unless otherwise noted)

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New Mexico employers, brace yourselves: new employment laws are coming.  The state legislature has enacted a flurry of new laws that affect employment practices, covering a variety of areas like gender-neutral bathrooms, unions, health benefits, medical marijuana, and leave time.  Below is a summary of key provisions in these legislative updates.  Unless otherwise noted, all provisions will take effect on June 14, 2019.

HB388 | Gender-Neutral Single Restrooms: Effective July 1, 2019, any single-user toilet facility in a place of public accommodation (defined as any establishment that provides or offers services, facilities, accommodations or goods to the public and not by its nature distinctly private) must be designated for use to any person, regardless of gender identity or sex, and must be labeled with gender-neutral signage.  This bill does not affect establishments that do not have single-user toilet facilities.

SB 96 | Ban-the-Box Restrictions: Private employers are prohibited from inquiring about an applicant’s arrest or conviction history on any initial employment applications.  Employers may inquire into prior convictions after having a “discussion” of employment with an applicant.  However, employers are still permitted to notify potential applicants that internal policies or the law could disqualify applicants from employment who have certain criminal histories.

SB 123 | Caregiver Leave:  New Mexico employers are not required to provide sick leave, but those that do must now permit employees to utilize sick leave to care for family members without fear of retaliation.  “Family members” are defined as an employee’s spouse, domestic partner, parent, grandparent, great-grandparent, child (including foster, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren), sibling, niece, nephew, aunt, or uncle.

SB 406 | Medical Marijuana Protections: Effective April 4, 2019, the definition of “debilitating medical condition” individuals may treat with marijuana has been expanded to include conditions such as Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s, PTSD, severe chronic pain, and seizure disorders, among others.  Employers may not take adverse employment action against applicants or employees based on marijuana use that is permitted under the Compassionate Use Act.  Employers can only take adverse action if the failure to do so would result in loss of a monetary or licensing-related benefit under federal regulations, or if the applicant or employee works in a safety-sensitive position.  Further, employers are not obligated to permit marijuana use in the workplace or during working hours.

SB 437 | Minimum Wage Rates:  Effective January 1, 2020, the statewide minimum wage increases to $9.00 an hour.  This bill implements annual increases on January of each year, capping at $12.00 per hour on January 1, 2023.  Similarly, the minimum wage rate for tipped employees increases to $2.35 on January 1, 2020 and caps at $3.00 in 2023.  Lastly, tip pooling is permitted among wait staff specifically, rather than “employees” generally.

HB 256 | E-Cigarette Ban: This bill amends the Dee Johnson Clean Indoor Air Act to include e-cigarettes in any existing smoking ban.  As such, any type of inhalant is now banned at indoor workplaces for all employers with just one or more employees.

HB 436 and SB 354 | Health Insurance Changes: HB 436 aligns state medical insurance policies more closely with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – for example, insurance carriers may not use gender as a factor to limit coverage or deny insurance based on pre-existing conditions.  SB 354 amends health insurance coverage for telemedicine services.

HB 85 | “Right-to-Work” Provisions Preemption: This bill preempts any “right-to-work” provisions imposed by local counties, meaning labor organizations and employers may require employees to participate in a union or collective bargaining agreement.

Action Items

  1. Update signage on single-use restrooms where applicable.
  2. Have employment applications updated to remove criminal history inquiries, and have hiring managers trained on the new requirements.
  3. Have employee handbooks and applicable policies updated.
  4. Plan for updated for minimum wage increases and schedule updates to payroll processes.
  5. Subscribers can call our HR On-Call Hotline at (888) 378-2456 for further assistance.

Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser.

© 2019 ManagEase

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