New Mexico Bill Reducing Workers’ Comp Benefits for Intoxicated Workers Signed into Law

March 4, 2016

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez signed legislation that reduces workers’
compensation benefits for employees who injure themselves on the job while drunk or high.

“If an employee is drunk or high on the job, they shouldn’t be rewarded with full workers’
compensation benefits when they injure themselves,” Gov. Martinez said. “It’s a matter of commonsense, and that’s why I’m signing this legislation.”

The bill allows for reducing workers’ compensation benefits for those who cause an injury while intoxicated on the job. Senate Bill 214, sponsored by Senator Jacob Candelaria (D-Albuquerque) and introduced in January 2016, reduces workers’ compensation benefits in proportion to the contribution of the worker’s intoxication to his or her death or injury. Benefits may be reduced by a minimum amount of 10 percent up to 90 percent.

The bill also specifies that employers cannot file a claim if they were aware of the impairment and did not take action. An employer is also barred from making a claim if they fail to declare a drug and alcohol free worksite policy in writing prior to the injury.

“New Mexico continues to make great strides in becoming more business friendly. The bills I’m signing today will help us continue this momentum, showing businesses and workers alike that job training and safety are priorities in New Mexico,” added Gov. Martinez.

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