SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Thousands of employees of state agencies overseen by the governor will be eligible for paid maternity and paternity leave for the first time, under an executive order announced on Tuesday by Democratic New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.
Taking effect Jan. 1, the order calls for 12 weeks of paid leave for the parents of newborn and adopted children. Lujan Grisham spokeswoman Nora Sackett said the annual cost to taxpayers is estimated at roughly $5 million.
Lujan Grisham has been rapidly expanding the ranks of state government workers amid a surge in government income.
In commissioning paid paternity leave, Lujan Grisham cited the potential to improve worker morale, productivity, and physical and mental health.
“Providing paid parental leave can reduce the likelihood that working parents apply for government assistance within their new child's first year or leave their jobs in state government," the order states. “Our state must support working families by making it easier for them to fulfill their caregiving responsibilities without risking financial insecurity.”
Employees are eligible for paternal leave after completing a one-year probational period. Leave must be taken within six months of adoption or birth. Vacation and sick leave continue to accrue while employees are on parental leave.
The governor encouraged state agencies outside her authority to adopt the same leave provisions.