New Mexico News & Analysis

  • What to do when an employee on FMLA leave resigns

    Q If an employee on Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave submits a letter signaling her intent to resign at the end of her leave, do we have to wait until her leave is over, or can we terminate her employment now?

  • Prepare for telecommuting to be part of your reopening plans

    Q Several employees forced to work from home during the pandemic say they prefer it to working in the office and actually feel more productive. Should we be preparing to extend and expand our telecommuting options even after the coronavirus subsides?

  • Can you modify salaries for reduced telecommuting as an accommodation?

    Q Were planning to allow employees with underlying health conditions to telecommute as a temporary reasonable accommodation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on our assessment, however, they could perform only 50 percent of their essential functions from home. Can we modify their pay rate accordingly?

  • Use this time to develop stronger employees

    Roughly a month after Idaho Governor Brad Little's initial statewide stay-at-home order as part of the emergency response to COVID-19, it may be a great time to consider ways we can capitalize on the disruptive period as a chance to improve our workplaces. As an added benefit, it may be an opportunity to keep employees engaged if your small business applied for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan to keep paying employees for an eight-week period and is looking to take advantage of the debt forgiveness provisions.

  • Colorado unemployment rates soar a mile high

    For several years leading up to the COVID-19 crisis, Colorado ranked among the states with the nation's lowest unemployment rates. In February, the state rate was approximately two percentage points below the national average. During the early weeks of the pandemic, however, Colorado's unemployment rates took flight, rising 2.5 percentage points in March alone, according to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE). As a result of the sharp incline (to its highest point since August 2014), the state is now slightly above the national average, which is the first time that has happened since June 2005.

  • Idaho gym trainer can't use 'apparent agency' sword to avoid negligence liability

    Imagine you are attending a circuit training class at your local gym and are injured by what you view as the negligence of the personal trainer leading the class. When you joined the gym, as part of your membership agreement, you agreed to a hold-harmless clause for the gym and its agents. Can you sue anyone for your injury? Alternatively, what about the personal trainer—can she rely on the gym's hold-harmless clause in the membership agreement? The Idaho Supreme Court recently weighed in.

  • Tips to help CO employers keep tabs on paid sick leave during pandemic

    While many employers have been primarily focused on the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) in assessing their COVID-19-related sick leave obligations during the pandemic, Colorado employers must additionally be aware of new, amended state paid sick leave rules that go beyond the FFCRA in important respects. Employers in the state employing more than 500 workers that aren't required to provide paid sick leave under the FFCRA may still have paid sick leave obligations under the Colorado Health Emergency Leave with Pay (HELP) rules.

  • Does workers' comp cover injuries while working from home?

    "Do I have to pay workers' compensation benefits to an employee who trips on her dog and injures her knee while working from home?" This may not be the first question on employers' minds as they adjust to the new norm of working from home. It's something you should start thinking about, however, as the new work-from-home operations get up and running during the COVID-19 outbreak. The answer, though—as is the case with many legal questions—is it depends. The situation is highly fact-intensive, and the law doesn't yet provide any clear guidance. But there are steps you can take to protect your business from liability and employees from injuries. Read on for guidance on where the law stands and what you should do.

  • Ability to work remotely a critical consideration for FFCRA sick leave

    Q If we send employees home for 14 days because they worked closely with one of our employees who tests positive for COVID-19, do they qualify for the paid sick leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), or do they have to use available personal and vacation days. Would it be wiser to lay them off so they could collect unemployment?

  • 500-day journey to the new normal at work

    I hope all of you are safe and secure, wherever you are working or sheltering. With our persistent joint efforts and with all the help we can get, we will get through the coronavirus crisis. When will America's workplaces return to normal? My short answer is, we will never return to the normal we remember, but with a lot of effort, we should reach a new stasis in 2022. One thing is certain: The workplace in 2022 will look far different than it did two months ago.