Maryland Sick Leave Act to Become Law

On January 12, 2018, the Maryland Senate voted to override Governor Hogan’s veto of the General Assembly’s paid leave bill from last year’s legislative session. As such, the paid leave bill (formally known as the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act) will be become law in Maryland in 30 days. The law requires employers with over 14 employees to provide paid sick and safe leave. In order to get ready for implementation of this legislation employers should act immediately to avoid costly compliance issues. The Maryland Healthy Working Families Act requires an employer with more than 14 employees to have a sick and safe leave policy under which an employee earns at least 1 hour of paid sick and safe leave for every 30 hours an employee works. An employer with 14 or fewer employees, based on the average monthly number of employees during the preceding year, would be required to have a sick and safe leave policy that provides an employee with at least 1 hour of unpaid sick and safe leave for every 30 hours an employee works. An employer would not be required to allow an employee to earn more than 40 hours of earned sick and safe leave in a year, use more than 64 hours of earned leave in a year, accrue more than 64 hours at any time, or use earned sick and safe leave during the first 106 calendar days worked. The bill defines the term “employer” to include the State or local governments and a person who acts directly or indirectly in the interest of another employer with an employee. The bill also excludes certain specific classes of employees from eligibility. Earned sick and safe leave would begin to accrue the later of January 1, 2018, or the date that an employee begins employment with the employer. An employer would have to allow an employee to use earned sick and safe leave:
  • to care for or treat the employee’s mental or physical illness, injury, or condition;
  • to obtain preventive medical care for the employee or employee’s family member;
  • to care for a family member with a mental or physical illness, injury, or condition;
  • for maternity or paternity leave; and
  • for specified circumstances due to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking committed against the employee or the employee’s family member.
The bill includes processes and conditions, including notice and verification requirements, under which an employee may accrue and use earned leave. An employer needs to notify its employees that they are entitled to earned sick and safe leave by providing a specified notice to employees. The Commissioner of Labor and Industry (the “Commissioner”) will need to create and make available a poster and a model notice that may be used by employers, which would include specified information on earned sick and safe leave and the rights of employees.
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