Maryland’s Paid Sick Leave Law: What Employers Need to Know

January 18, 2018
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Category: Compliance

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As of February 12, 2018, Maryland employers with 15 or more employees must begin offering paid sick and safe leave to their employees. Read on to find out how you can comply with Maryland’s paid sick leave law.

Background: On January 12, 2018, the Maryland General Assembly overrode Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto to pass the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act (“The Act”), becoming the ninth state in the country to require paid sick and safe leave, in addition to Arizona, Washington, and others.

Who Qualifies?

Employers

Maryland businesses with 15 or more employees during the preceding year, including part-time, full-time, temporary, and seasonal workers, must provide their workforce with paid sick and safe leave as of February 12, 2018.

Employers with 14 or fewer employees are also required, at the minimum, to provide employees with unpaid sick and safe leave.

Employees

The Act will not apply to employees who:

  • Regularly perform fewer than 12 hours of work for an employer;
  • Are under the age of 18;
  • Are employed by a temp services agency to provide staffing services;
  • Are employed by an employment agency to provide part-time or temp services to another individual;
  • Perform work on an as-needed basis in a health or human services industry; or
  • Are employed in the agricultural sector on an agricultural operation

The Act also may not apply to certain employers who are parties to collective bargaining agreements in the construction industry.

When do earned sick and safe leave apply?

Employees may request earned sick and safe leave in the following circumstances:

  • To care for their own mental or physical illness, injury, or condition, or that of a family member;
  • To obtain preventative medical care for themselves or a 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 family member

Accrual

Employees will accrue leave at the minimum rate of 1 hour of paid sick and safe leave, for every 30 hours worked, up to 40 hours of paid leave a year. Employers may also front-load the requirement, and award employees the entire 40 hours at the beginning of the year.

While employees may carry over up to 40 hours of paid sick and safe leave, employers may cap leave usage at 64 hours per year.

Timing

Earned sick and safe leave will begin to accrue for eligible employees on January 1, 2018, or, for employees hired after this date, upon commencement of their employment. The Act is set to go into effect on February 12, 2018, unless legislation is passed to delay its implementation.  

Employees will be able to use their accrued paid sick leave beginning on the 106th calendar day after the commencement of their employment. Employees for whom the sick and safe leave is foreseeable may be required to provide reasonable notice up to 7 days in advance.

How can employers comply?

Notices

Employers must provide notice to each employee of their entitlement to paid sick leave, and rate of accrual, by the effective date. The Maryland Commissioner of Labor and Industry will make model notices available on their website.

Employers must also provide each employee with a written statement that documents the amount of earned sick and safe leave available to them, per pay period.

Recordkeeping

Employers are required to retain records of all earned sick and safe leave accrued and used by each employee for at least 3 years.

Local Laws

Under the Act, local jurisdictions are preempted from enacting their own sick and safe leave laws on or after January 1, 2017. Montgomery County’s Earned Sick and Safe Leave Law, however, was passed in 2016, which means that employers there will be required to comply with both sets of regulations.

Enforcement/Penalties for Noncompliance

Employees may file complaints or a civil cause for action for any violations of the Act, such as retaliation by the employer.

Contact our HR Advisor team for further information on Maryland’s paid sick leave law and other regulations, and what you can do to further prepare your business.  

Resource: Gov. Hogan issued an Executive Order on January 15, creating the Office of Small Business Regulatory Assistance, to assist small businesses in complying with the law.

About

Anagha Krishnan is a Regulatory Analyst at Zenefits. She is focused on developments in the HR, Benefits, and Payroll space, and helping small businesses get in compliance with new regulations. A Berkeley Law grad, Anagha enjoys pop culture podcasts, trying out new tea blends, and getting to the beach when she can.

Category: Compliance


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