Albuquerque Sick Leave Ordinance Ping Pong Around Decision Makers

Albuquerque Sick Leave Ordinance
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Albuquerque voters sign a petition to have Healthy Workforce Ordinance up for a vote.

Through a petition, the Albuquerque voters requested that a sick leave ordinance be placed on the ballot. Initially, the petition was turned in and advocates of the sick leave measure hoped that it would go to the booth in the November 2016 election.

After city officials verified that the petition had the required number of signatures, the city sent a request to the county to have the initiative included in the Bernalillo County elections. After the county denied the request, due to the late submission of the initiative to the county, advocates sent the initiative to the county asking for it to be added to the county ballot. After county officials denied the request to add the initiative to the ballots it was sent to the courts hoping to get a judge to force the admission of the initiative to the November ballots.

Sick Leave Ordinance Doesn’t make it on the November 2016 ballots

However, District Judge Alan Malott refused to order the initiative onto the county ballots, saying that “the county has discretion on what can go on the ballot.” In addition Malott ruled that the full text must be printed on the ballot and not simply a summary.

But ten months later, it is still being debated exactly how the sick leave initiative will be placed on the ballot. The Albuquerque ballot is two pages long. The initiative is seven pages long.

Back in April, the State Legislature tried and failed to pass the Uniform Employment Law Act, which would have preempted local cities and counties from enacting local employment law.

Logistical Issues in placing the ordinance on the ballot

When that failed, the Association of Commerce and Industry, NAIOP and the New Mexico Restaurant Association filed a lawsuit seeking to keep the initiative off the ballot due to logrolling. Logrolling is when multiple issues are combined into one bill and is illegal in New Mexico and many other states.

At court, the sick leave initiative was upheld, but the judge ruled that the Healthy Workforce Ordinance be included in its entirety. This has presented a logistical challenge as the city’s ballot is only 2 pages long. The city council decided to place the measure on the ballot with a summary of the initiative in regular font and the rest of the ordinance in 7.5 point font.

The Mayor vetoed the summary because of the wording. The city council is still working on new wording for the ballot. In addition the council is working on adding a second question to the ballot that will ask voter if the city council should work on and come up with a sick leave ordinance.

Albuquerque Voters may face two sick leave questions

That means that voters will likely have two choices, first to pass the Healthy Workforce Ordinance, and second to ask the city council to pass an ordinance. Businesses are adamantly against the Healthy Workforce Ordinance because of the stiff regulations, fines and other issues it creates for employers.

Then Healthy Workforce proponents filed suit asking a judge to prevent the city from printing the ordinance in small font on the ballots. It’s illegal for the ballots to use 7.5 point font because of its difficulty in reading.

The group wants the city to post the ordinance in voting booths and merely ask the question about the ordinance on the ballot. That option was struck down earlier by the city council who interpreted the judge’s orders as meaning the actual ordinance is to be printed on the ballots.

Albuquerque city council has another meeting scheduled for August  7th to work out another summary of the initiative and to continue working on a second ballot question.

Follow SwipeClock to keep up to date on the Albuquerque Health Workforce Ordinance updates.

Let SwipeClock Help

Businesses who have employees in Albuquerque are likely to face a sick leave law in the near future. With only one exception, every sick leave initiative that has hit the booths has been approved by voters in the last several years.

Additionally, these businesses have to also comply with Federal Overtime Laws, the Family Medical Leave Act and any other national or local laws that are enacted. SwipeClock provides a comprehensive array of workforce management and time tracking tools that can help businesses to more easily stay in compliance with local and national laws.

Records are effortlessly kept for years and accrual is automatically tracked and reported to employees according the state and city laws. Additionally, with geo-timekeeping clocks, businesses can effortlessly track time worked in specific cities to ensure compliance.

Written by Annemaria Duran. Last updated on August 5, 2017.

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