Albuquerque City Councilors vote down pandemic hazard pay, withdrew paid sick leave

Coronavirus New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Albuquerque City Councilors voted down an ordinance that would have given people working during the pandemic a hazard pay increase. It comes as a relief to struggling business owners who were left wondering where they’d find that extra money.

“Wouldn’t we rather keep people employed, albeit small, or try to force business owners who are trying to make money, to pay those employees more,” said City Councilor Trudy Jones. “It’s a simple decision, they’re gonna let people go and going to close their business, they’re going to leave Albuquerque.”

If the hazard pay did pass, it would’ve given essential workers, who make up to $12 dollars an hour, hazard pay. Those workers would have pocketed up to an extra $25 dollars a day for an eight-hour shift. That is much more than the proposed $75 dollars they were going to give them.

After a lengthy debate, it was voted down 2-7. Councilors then began debating a proposed pandemic sick pay ordinance.

“Paid sick leave is important, especially during a pandemic,” said City Councilor Lan Sena. “In fact, the American Medical Association even noted how important it would be especially during a pandemic to have access to paid sick leave so that the workforce can recover.”

This ordinance would require businesses that are within Albuquerque’s city limits to give full-time employees 80 hours of sick pay until the end of the year. This proposal was supposed to be voted on tonight, but the sponsors withdrew the bill. There’s a possibility they could revisit it later on.

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