Paid Sick Leave Law Goes into Effect in Maryland
- Maryland's Healthy Working Families Act took effect on Feb. 11, 2018, requiring covered employers with 15 or more employees to offer at least one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked to eligible employees.
- Covered employers with 14 or fewer employees must allow comparable unpaid sick and safe leave to eligible employees.
- Maryland's Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR) is working to develop implementing regulations to help employers comply with the paid sick leave legislation.
- Covered Maryland employers should review their leave policies to ensure full compliance with this new law and guidance released by the DLLR.
Maryland's Healthy Working Families Act took effect Feb. 11, 2018, requiring covered employers with 15 or more employees to offer eligible employees at least one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Leave can be used for qualifying reasons including:
- To care for the employee’s own mental or physical illness, injury, or condition, or that of a family member;
- To obtain preventative medical care for the employee or a covered family member;
- For maternity or paternity leave; or
- Where a work absence is necessary due to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking committed against the employee or their covered family member, under certain circumstances.
At a minimum, covered employers with 14 or fewer employees must provide eligible employees with comparable unpaid sick and safe leave.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan created an Office of Small Business Regulatory Assistance within the state Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR) to help small firms comply with the paid leave law.
Maryland's state Senate passed an amendment to delay the act's effective date to July 1, but the vote stalled in the Maryland House of Delegates and has yet to be considered in the House. On Feb. 5, the DLLR released a bulletin advising employers to prepare to track sick and safe leave accrual starting Feb. 11.
DLLR developing sample policies to assist employers
The DLLR is striving to help businesses adjust to the new law by:
- Offering a draft sample employee notice poster, including a Spanish version; and
- Releasing Frequently Asked Questions based on questions received by the Office of Small Business Regulatory Assistance that have been published on the department's paid leave website.
Implementing regulations and sample policies will soon be available on the department's website; and while the law preempts local sick-leave ordinances enacted in the state on or after January 1, 2017, it leaves in place the Montgomery County Earned Sick and Safe Leave Law ordinance passed in 2016. Employers with employees working in Montgomery County need to revise their paid leave policies and practices to comply with both state and county leave requirements.
Maryland employers: Ensure compliance with the paid sick leave law
Covered Maryland employers should immediately review their leave policies to ensure they comply with the new sick and safe leave law and begin complying with the new law. They must notify their workers in writing of their right to paid sick leave and the rate of sick-leave accrual. Employers must also provide employees with a written statement regarding the amount of sick and safe leave available to use by the employee whenever wages are paid. And, covered employers must also maintain records for three years of sick leave hours accrued and used by each employee.
Employers are encouraged to monitor the DLLR website for the release of sample policies, implementing regulations, and information related to enforcement.