ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – New Mexico just moved up the ranks in the realm of the work environment, according to a new analysis. The non-profit Oxfam America recently ranked the Land of Enchantment as the #12 best state to work in, in 2022.
A global humanitarian organization, Oxfam describes its work as “[fighting] inequality to end poverty and injustice.” Each year, the non-profit looks at wage laws, worker protection laws, and right-to-organize laws across the nation. They then rank states on those criteria to assess which states offer the greatest support for workers.
The new rankings show that New Mexico moved up the list slightly from last year. The full report from Oxfam notes that part of the reason is the state’s recently passed paid sick leave law.
That bill, called the “Healthy Workplaces Act” was approved by the state legislature in 2021 and went into effect on July 1, 2022. It requires all private businesses, regardless of size, to offer paid sick leave to employees.
According to Oxfam, the bill helps protect workers from illness-related job loss. They say it also helps guarantee financial support for workers should they fall ill.
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Oxfam’s latest rankings show that the best states to work tend to be in the northeast and southwest portions of the U.S. Data from Oxfam.
New Mexico also ranks relatively high in terms of the best states for working women, according to the report. New Mexico ranks at #17, in part because the state mandates equal pay across genders and provides accommodations for pregnant workers.
Overall, the lowest-ranked states include North Carolina, Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama, and Texas. “Of these bottom states, all have a minimum wage stuck at the federal level of $7.25, none mandates paid leave, and all have so-called ‘right to work’ laws on the books,” the Oxfam report notes.
These same states also rank low in the list of best states for working women. Part of the reason is a lack of paid leave and healthcare protection, according to Oxfam.
“It’s no surprise, but it is painful, that many of the worst states for working women are those that leapt at the chance to limit or deny women’s access to abortion once Roe was overturned,” Oxfam researcher Kaitlyn Henderson said in a press release. “The worst states for working women do not mandate any kind of paid leave (including maternity), allow below poverty wages, and do not mandate proper accommodations for pregnant or breastfeeding workers. Without access to these protections, workers who become pregnant will have to choose between their jobs and their health.”
Rounding out the top of the list is a west-coast triple threat: Oregon, Washington and California. Oxfam claims the state’s are the best to work in because they “have strong minimum wages, paid leave, and heat protections for outdoor workers.”