Section VI: Benefits

Table of Contents 

6.01 Educational Benefits

Revised: 11/11/14

The College offers educational benefits to support the growth of employees both academically and professionally. The College also provides additional educational benefits to dependents of eligible employees. Employees in positions not covered by a collective bargaining unit are eligible.

Applicable to All Educational Benefits

  1. A regular full-time employee may use tuition waiver and tuition reimbursement options for a maximum of 18 credit hours per calendar year.
  2. Waivers are not granted for costs or fees for courses offered as part of special CNM programs including, but not limited to, the Workforce Training Center.
  3. CNM will not pay for any class taken more than once.
  4. Should an employee hold more than one position at CNM, the primary position, as designated by Human Resources, will determine eligibility and level of educational benefits.
  5. Course fees not specified below must be paid by the student.

Central New Mexico Community College Release Time

  1. With supervisor approval, a regular full-time employee may use up to three hours per work week to take CNM courses.
  2. A request for CNM release time may be approved or denied based on department needs and the effect of the employee's absence on department operations.
  3. An employee with unsatisfactory performance may be denied release time.

Central New Mexico Community College Tuition & Fee Waivers


a. Employees are eligible for waivers of tuition, registration fees, technology fees, and distance learning fees for courses included in CNM's programs of study as detailed in the CNM Catalog.

b. A regular full-time employee enrolled in a degree or certificate program is eligible for waivers for up to 18 credit hours per calendar year. If not in a degree or certificate program, the employee is eligible for waivers for up to 9 credit hours per calendar year.

c. A regular part-time employee enrolled in a degree or certificate program is eligible for waivers for up to 9 credit hours per calendar year. If not in a degree or certificate program, the employee is eligible for waivers for up to 4 credit hours per calendar year.


Dependents must be registered in Human Resources in order to be covered for this benefit, including a spouse, domestic partner, and children. Dependent children include step-children, children of a domestic partner, and legal guardianship. They are eligible through the term in which they turn 24-years of age.

a. CNM will waive tuition, registration fees, and technology fees for CNM courses for dependents of a regular full-time employee for up to 18 credit hours per term if the dependent is enrolled in a degree or certificate program. If they are not in a degree or certificate program, the dependent is eligible for waivers for up to 9 credit hours per calendar year.

b. The dependents of a regular part-time employee are eligible for waivers for up to 9 credit hours per term if they are enrolled in a degree or certificate program.

Tuition Reimbursement

  1. With supervisor approval, a regular full-time employee is eligible for tuition reimbursement for institutions other than CNM for up to 18 credit hours per calendar year if they are enrolled in a degree or certificate program. Tuition costs are reimbursed at the actual cost or at the current University of New Mexico tuition rates, whichever is less. Other fees—such as registration, graduate student associations, books, labs, and supplies—are not reimbursable.
  2. Courses must be taken on the employee's own time and no release time is allowed; however, flex scheduling may be allowed at the supervisor's determination based on department needs and the effect of the employee's absence on department operations.

Taxability on Educational Benefits

Under IRS regulation, the value of tuition benefits may be considered taxable income to the employee. The value of the tuition benefit, if applicable, will be included as compensation on the employee's W-2 form filed with the IRS and subject to withholding. For more information, visit

6.02 Professional Development

The College supports continued development of employee competencies through the Professional Development Program (PDP). PDP guidelines are approved by the president with input from faculty and staff representatives.

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6.03 Payment for Travel

Revised: 5/10/16 
Revised: 8/8/23

This policy provides guidelines for direct payment by CNM and employee reimbursement of reasonable and allowable costs incurred by members of the Governing Board, employees, students and advisory board members traveling to and participating in conferences, meetings or academic programs that are considered official College business. It is incumbent upon all individuals using College funds for these purposes to make the most reasonable economical arrangements possible. Travel and conference/meeting attendance must be approved through CNM’s travel management system.

I. Methods of Reimbursement

A.  Actual Expenses

  1. CNM’s Governing Board delegates authority to the president or president’s designee to authorize reimbursement of actual travel expenses for salaried employees and non-salaried public officers of CNM in accordance with this policy. Appropriate documentation of each expense must be submitted. Actual expenses for lodging and meals may not exceed the following:
  • Lodging: Lodging may not exceed $350 per day, inclusive of taxes and other fees, for a single room. Extraordinary circumstances may exist because of the high cost of travel to some destinations, thus exceptions to the actual lodging reimbursement rate of $350 per day must be approved in advance by the president or designee. 
  • Meals: Actual expenses for meals while traveling outside the Albuquerque metro area may not exceed $59 (or the rate of pay established by the New Mexico Department of Finance (DFA) in- and per day. 
  1. Ground and Public Transportation including Uber, Lyft, taxis, buses, or the rail system shall be reimbursed for travel between hotels, conference centers, or airports. Travelers should use the most efficient, safe, and cost-effective means of transportation.  
  2. Vehicle Rental. Vehicles may be rented by employees and public officials for official CNM business subject to the following conditions: 
  • The need for vehicle rental shall be justified and documented on the Spend Authorization request. 
  • Rental of a vehicle for use within 150 miles of CNM Main Campus shall normally be prohibited. Exceptions must be justified in writing and approved by the appropriate executive team level authority. 
  • Normally, a vehicle in the mid-size price range should be used. Exceptions must be justified in writing and approved by the appropriate executive team level authority. 
  • CNM has adequate liability, collision, and comprehensive insurance coverage for vehicles rented on behalf of CNM. Renters should waive any optional coverage. 
  • Gasoline expenses incurred with car rentals are reimbursable with the submission of original receipts. 
  1. Incidental Expenses including tips other than in conjunction with meals, parking fees, and other reasonable actual costs may be reimbursed if adequate documentation is provided.
  2. Travel Advances: Employees are expected to pay reimbursable travel expenditures with personal credit cards or personal funds.
  • Travel advances may be granted under exceptional or unusual circumstances with appropriate justification and documentation and the approval of the President or designee. 

Travel advances shall not exceed 80% of estimated out-of-pocket expenses. 

The traveler is required to return all advances in excess of travel per diem or actual expense. 

B.  Per Diem

  1. Governing Board members, members of the CNM Labor Relations Board and other members of CNM's advisory boards as may be designated by the President (hereinafter referred to as "non-salaried public officers") shall receive either reimbursement in accordance with NMSA 1978, Section 10-8-4(a). or forty-five dollars ($45.00) if the officer physically attends the board or committee meeting for less than four hours or the officer attends a virtual meeting of any duration during a single calendar day; or ninety-five dollars ($95.00) if the officer physically attends the board or committee meeting for four hours or more during a single calendar day. 
  2. A CNM employee traveling within New Mexico away from his/her home and away from his/her designated post of duty on official CNM business shall receive either reimbursement pursuant to Section (A)(1) of this Policy or $85 per diem expenses per 24-hour period spent in discharge of official duties.  For special in-state municipalities (Cloudcroft, Santa Fe), this amount may be increased to $135 per 24-hour period. Reference NMAC 
  3. Non-salaried public officers and employees shall receive reimbursement pursuant to Section I (A)(1) of this policy or $115 per diem expense for each 24-hour period of out-of-state for travel on CNM business. The Governing Board authorizes a per diem allowance of up to $215 per 24-hour period if the per diem allowance of $115 is inadequate for out-of-state travel as determined by the president or designee.
  4. Per diem and mileage or per diem and the cost of tickets for common carriers paid to salaried public officers or employees is in lieu of actual expenses for transportation, lodging, and meals.
  5. Reimbursement for meals for a partial day following a twenty-four hour (24) hour period involving an overnight stay or same-day travel to a locality outside of the Albuquerque metro area shall be reimbursed up to $59.
  6. Travelers requesting per diem reimbursement must submit appropriate documentation of expenses.
  7. Travel by personal vehicle shall be reimbursed at the rate of $0.65 per mile. The number of miles to be reimbursed shall be determined by either (1) an official road map mileage chart; or (2) established distances between CNM campuses or sites. An Internet map or odometer reading may only be used to determine the number of miles to be reimbursed if an official road map mileage chart or established distances between CNM campuses or sites do not apply. The amount reimbursed shall not exceed the lowest cost for reasonable commercial airfare to the same destination.
  8. A portion of a traveler's per diem payment will be considered taxable income if (1) the per diem payment exceeds the standard federal rate approved by the Internal Revenue Service; or (2) the employee does not provide CNM with expense receipts to substantiate that the actual travel expenses matched or exceeded the per diem payment.

II. Prepaid Expenses

A. Air Fare

Air transportation is booked by a CNM travel coordinator. The travel coordinator may utilize CNM’s approved travel agency. In extraordinary circumstances, alternate booking methods may be used with approval from an executive team member or the President. CNM will pay the reasonable cost of commercial airline travel.  Reimbursement shall not be made when frequent flyer miles or reward points are used. 

B. Registration Fees

Registration fees for educational programs or conferences are typically paid in advance by CNM prior to the dates of travel. If registration fees include lodging or meals, per diem rates may be reduced or may not be approved. 

  1. Conference or Meeting Costs
  • The cost of all functions and events, including receptions and meals, that are part of an official conference agenda will be processed as part of the conference cost. These costs will be billed to the appropriate department account. 
  • Preconference workshops are considered part of the official conference agenda. 
  • Payment will not be allowed for activities not directly related to the conference agenda, e.g. sightseeing tours and guest activities. 

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III. International Travel

All international travelers who are U.S. citizens must register in the U.S. Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). International travel must be approved by the appropriate executive team member or designee. CNM reserves the right to modify, cancel, or postpone any college-sponsored travel. 

A. Insurance

Travelers must have health and accident insurance coverage during the period of international travel. For CNM employees required to travel internationally on official CNM business, the cost for such insurance coverage is an allowable expense.  Proof of the appropriate insurance coverage is required prior to travel.    

B. Travel Assessment Committee

A Travel Assessment Committee (“TAC”) will evaluate travel risks such as Centers for Disease Control Travel Health Warnings, U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory Levels, weather concerns, and any other conditions that could threaten the safety of faculty, staff, or students. 

The TAC will advise the appropriate executive team level authority of its concerns related to travel. Ultimately, the decision to cancel planned travel rests with the appropriate executive team level authority or with the president. This decision shall be based on factors such as: 

  • The level of travel advisory;
  • The ability to minimize risk; and
  • Whether the travel can be rescheduled for another time when travel advisory levels and restrictions have lessened.

If traveling to a country with a travel advisory, as determined by the U.S. State Department, travelers must complete and sign an Assumption of Risk and Waiver of Liability. 

C. Export Control

All travelers must comply with all export control laws and regulations. Many common items may be subject to export control laws.

  1. Travel to Sanctioned Countries

The U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control enforces economic sanctions. If you are traveling to a sanctioned country, carefully review the details of the relevant sanctions program available at the U.S. Department of the Treasury. 

  1. Carrying Cash

Any person carrying a large amount of cash out of or into the United States is required to declare any amount over $10,000 to U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers. 

D. Per Diem and Actual Costs – For Employees Only

The per diem rate is dependent on the source of travel funds. Travel using state funds will be reimbursed at the rates allowed by New Mexico’s Per Diem and Mileage Act. Travel using federal or private funds will be reimbursed at the foreign per diem rates established by the U.S. Department of State as approved by the funding agency or entity.  Actual costs will be reimbursed in accordance with state law upon completion of the travel reconciliation process. 

  1. Travel Using State Funds
  • Travelers may receive reimbursement of actual lodging costs with prior approval by the President or designee. Itemized lodging receipts must be retained. In lieu of actual lodging costs, travelers may be reimbursed at a per diem rate consistent with New Mexico’s Per Diem and Mileage Act. 
  • Meal reimbursement for up to $59 per full day is allowed (or the rate of pay established by the New Mexico Department of Finance (DFA).
  1. Travel Using Federal or Other Non-State Funds
  • The Governing Board authorizes travel using federal funds or other non-State funds to be reimbursed at a rate allowed by the funding source. 
  • Lodging and meals may be reimbursed at the international federal lodging, meal, and incidental expenses rates located at the US Department of State Foreign Per Diem Rates by Location. 
  • The traveler should provide a copy of the federal rates available at the above website. 
  • Airfare shall be booked as stated in Section II(A) of this policy; however, pursuant to the Fly America Act, U.S. flag carriers must be used when traveling internationally with federal funding.  An exception to this requirement is air transportation provided under a bilateral or multilateral air transport agreement between the United States and a foreign country.
  1. Conversion Rates
  • When requesting reimbursement, all amounts claimed should be in U.S. dollars. Each receipt should have the conversion to U.S. dollars noted next to the foreign charge. A conversion rate calculator is locatedhere and printouts from the website should be included as supporting documentation. Credit card fees and currency conversion fees may also be included as part of the reimbursement request. 

E. Immunizations, Visas, and Passports

  1. Immunizations

Travelers are responsible for paying for the cost of any immunizations required prior to foreign travel. CNM will reimburse the cost of the immunization not covered by the employee’s health insurance.  If the employee’s health insurance does not cover any portion of the immunization costs, CNM will reimburse the full cost.

  1. Visas

Where a visa is required for travel to a foreign country, CNM will pay for the cost to obtain a visa if such travel is for official CNM business.  

  1. Passports

Travelers are responsible for paying the costs associated with obtaining a passport. 

IV. Travel Reconciliation

Travel reconciliation involves settling approved expenditures with itemized receipts of personal funds paid by employees while traveling on CNM business. 

A. Itemized Receipts

  1. All travelers must keep itemized receipts for expenses paid on personal credit cards or personal funds. 
  2. The itemized receipts must be submitted to the appropriate travel coordinator within five (5) working days after returning from college-sponsored travel.

V. Other Regulations

A. Travel Time

Travel time shall normally include time required to reach an approved destination via commercial air transportation and attendance of the approved function. 

B. Canceled Travel

If travel is canceled, the employee will be required to repay any travel advances and nonrefundable conference fees.  The President may waive the repayment requirement of nonrefundable items under extraordinary circumstances such as, but not limited to, employee illness, death in the employee’s family, or canceled travel pursuant to Section III of this policy.  

C. Tax Status of Reimbursement

Payments made pursuant to this policy shall be considered as reimbursed expenses under a qualified, accountable reimbursement agreement for federal income tax purposes.  Employees shall provide CNM with travel expense receipts to substantiate that the travel expenses matched or exceeded the per diem payment.  If an employee fails to provide CNM with expense receipts, the portion of the per diem that is in excess of the standard rate will be included in the employee’s W-2 or 1099 form.   

D. Prohibited Expense

Reimbursement for alcoholic beverages or controlled substances are not allowed. 

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6.04 Insurance Benefits

Revision Date: 3/14/23

Eligible employees may purchase health, life, dental, vision, and disability insurance coverage through CNM's group insurance plan. A portion of the health insurance costs as provided by law and approved by the Governing Board is paid by the College; the remaining cost is paid by the employee. The College pays 100 percent of the basic life and disability insurance premiums. Also available is an Internal Revenue Service Section 125 Plan which allows employees to obtain certain benefits on a pretax basis.

  1. Eligibility
    1. Non-instructional and instructional support personnel who are on regular full- or part-time status and work 20 or more hours per week (as stated on the recommendation for employment form) are eligible for benefits. Employees who work at least 15 hours per week are eligible for basic life insurance.
    2. All regular full-time instructors, as defined in the applicable collective bargaining agreement, are eligible for insurance benefits.
    3. Regular part-time instructors, as defined in the applicable collective bargaining agreement, are eligible for insurance benefits in accordance with the requirements set forth in that collective bargaining agreement.
    4. Insurance benefits are not available to casual, substitute, or work-study employees, or temporary employees hired for six months or fewer.
  2. Enrollment
    1. To participate in any of the insurance plans, an employee must enroll within 30 days of becoming eligible. Coverage will begin on the first day of the following month.
    2. An employee wishing to apply for insurance after the 30 days have elapsed must qualify for the plan based on the insurance provider requirements.
  3. Premium
    1. Current rates and benefit schedules are available from the Human   Resources Department.
  4. Continued Coverage
    1. Persons who leave employment or lose eligibility may apply for continued private medical and life insurance coverage, paying the entire cost of the premiums. Details are available from the Human Resources Department.
    2. Retirees are eligible to apply for benefits under the New Mexico Retiree Health Care Authority. Details are available from the Human Resources Department.
    3. Employees on leave without pay, except those on leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, shall pay 100 percent of the insurance premium. (See also Section 8.16.)

6.05 Educational Retirement

  1. All employees except student workers enrolled at CNM, substitute instructors, and employees working less than one-quarter time are required to join the Educational Retirement Act (ERA) and retiree healthcare systems.
    1. Employees contribute a portion of their total earnings as provided by law. The amount is deducted from each paycheck. The College contributes a portion of total salaries to the fund. The rates are subject to change by legislative action.
    2. Employees may withdraw their ERA contributions when they terminate employment in New Mexico schools; retiree healthcare contributions may not be withdrawn. The amount contributed by the College remains in the retirement funds.
  2. Pamphlets published by the Educational Retirement Board are available in the Human Resources Department. Please consult these pamphlets for a full explanation of the benefits and the various retirement options available to the members.

6.06 Workers' Compensation

Revised: 04/09/2024

In compliance with the State of New Mexico’s Workers’ Compensation Act (WCA), § 52-1-1 et seq. NMSA 1978, Central New Mexico Community College is committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of all employees.  The College maintains a comprehensive worker’s compensation policy aimed at providing necessary benefits to employees who sustain work-related injuries or illnesses.   

Workers’ compensation issues are managed by the Human Resources Department. Pursuant to NMSA 1978, § 52-1-28.2, CNM shall not discharge, threaten to discharge, or retaliate against an employee simply because the employee sought workers’ compensation benefits. Detailed procedural steps related to this policy can be found in The Source.

A. Reporting Accidents 

All work-related accidents, illness or injuries must be reported immediately to the Security Department and employee’s supervisor. Even if an employee opts not to receive medical treatment, the employee must complete a Notice of Accident Form and submit it to Human Resources. This ensures the employee’s rights under the Worker’s Compensation Act are protected. The employee should complete the form as soon as possible, but no later than fifteen (15) days after the injury occurs. Failure to submit the report within fifteen days from the occurrence of the injury could result in the employee being deemed ineligible for coverage under the Worker’s Compensation Act.  

An injured employee will be paid for the remainder of the day the injury occurred without any impact to the employee’s annual, sick or personal leave.

B. Medical Treatment 

CNM directs any employee who suffers a work-related accident, injury or illness to seek treatment at CNM’s contracted medical facility. In an emergency situation, an employee should call 911 or obtain treatment at the nearest emergency facility. After the emergency has concluded, the injured employee must complete the notification process beginning with the Security Department and their immediate supervisor. Employees can contact Human Resources or refer to the Source for CNM’s contracted medical facility. 

C. Workers' Compensation Benefits

The Workers' Compensation Administration provides compensation benefits to employees for a portion of the time the employee is absent from the job due to an injury or illness covered by the applicable laws. Medical benefits include all medical, surgical, and drug expenses that are reasonable, necessary and related to the work injury. Lost wage benefits are payments to a worker who is disabled from work in the opinion of an authorized health care provider and cannot earn wages. Employees do not accrue sick, annual, or personal leave while receiving workers’ compensation benefits.

D. Sick Leave and Workers' Compensation 

  1. Waiting Period. Workers Compensation payments begin after the employee has been unable to work for seven calendar days following the incident. The initial seven days of an employee’s absence or lost work time due to a work-related injury or illness is considered a waiting period and the employee’s pay is applied from sick leave, annual leave, or in cases where the employee has insufficient leave, leave without pay is applied. The seven (7) day period can be consecutive or non-consecutive days.
  2. Beyond the Waiting Period if the employee’s disablement continues beyond the seven (7) day waiting period, the employee shall receive workers’ compensation benefits at an amount equal to 66 and two-thirds percent (66 2/3%) of the employee’s average weekly wage up to the limit set forth in the Workers’ Compensation Act. 

Should an employee’s disablement extend beyond twenty-eight (28) calendar days, the employee will be paid workers’ compensation benefits for the first seven (7) days of absence. If the College paid the employee sick and/or annual leave for the first seven (7) days of the disablement, an amount equal to this Workers' Compensation payment for the first seven (7) days will be deducted from the employee's next regular paycheck. Payroll will return the equivalent sick and/or annual leave to the employee's leave accounts. 

E. Maintaining Insurance Benefits

When an employee’s absence is due to a work-related injury or illness, the employee will not receive wages from CNM. In order to maintain insurance benefits during this time, the employee is responsible for paying the employee share of the insurance premiums directly to CNM in a timely manner.  

CNM will continue to pay the employer share of any insurance premiums until the employee returns to work from the qualifying disability, up to six months from the date of injury, or for as long as the employee share of the premiums continue to be paid - whichever occurs first. Failure to pay the employee portion of the applicable insurance premiums may result in loss of coverage.

F. Returning to Work

An injured or ill employee will be encouraged to return to work as soon as he or she is released by their health care provider. An employee returning to work after receiving workers’ compensation benefits must: 

  • Submit a written medical statement from the treating physician to the Human Resources Department stating that the employee is physically able to return to perform the essential job functions of the original position; and 
  • If physically unable to return to performance of the essential job functions of the original position, the employee shall submit a written medical statement from the treating physician for review by the supervisor, Human Resources and workers’ compensation administrator detailing what specific functions of the original position that they are physically able to perform and what they cannotSuch written medical statement shall specify the employee’s physical capacity in the terms outlined by NMSA 1978 § 52-1-26.4Within five (5) days of receiving this written notification, the employer shall advise the employee in writing of the availability of accommodating work and the start date on which the employee is expected to fill the accommodating position; and
  • If physically unable to perform even marginal job duties, employee will submit a written medical statement from the treating physician to the workers’ compensation administrator to that effect for review by Human Resources and workers’ compensation administrator, and
  • Present themselves for work within one (1) working day after being released to return to work by his or her treating physician, or being notified of accommodating work by CNM.
  • If an employee fails to report to work within three (3) work days after being released to return by treating physician, the employee may be subject to job abandonment and voluntary resignation in accordance with Employee Handbook Section 8.19.  

G. Family and Medical Leave Act

When an employee is eligible, Family and Medical Leave (“FML”) will run concurrently with an employee’s time off for a work-related injuryAn employee taking FML concurrently with workers’ compensation may not use any accrued sick, annual or personal leave while receiving workers’ compensation benefits. See CFR 825.207(e).

6.07 Employee Assistance Program

Effective: 8/11/15

Personal, family and work-related challenges can have an adverse effect on employee work performance. CNM is committed to helping its employees cope with these challenges by offering an Employee Assistance Program (“EAP”). The sole purpose of the EAP is to help CNM and its employees manage challenging situations by providing guidance and counseling. This service is provided by a third-party vendor with a network of trained professionals. All employees and their household members/dependents are eligible for EAP services at no cost.

Mediation, training, and Critical Incident Stress Management services are also available through the EAP. Use of these services is coordinated through the Human Resources Department. Refer to The Source for more details regarding the use of the EAP.

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