Maryland to Require Paid Sick Leave

Maryland's House of Delegates and Senate voted to override the governor's veto of the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act. The law, which requires Maryland employers with 15 or more employees to provide paid sick leave, effective February 11, 2018.

January 17, 2018

Maryland’s House of Delegates and Senate voted to override the governor’s veto of the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act. The law, which requires Maryland employers with 15 or more employees to provide paid sick leave, is slated to become effective February 11, 2018. We summarize below the details that will be most relevant to large employers.

Paid Sick Leave

The law requires, among other things, the following:

  • Effective date: Unless Maryland’s General Assembly delays the effective date, the law becomes effective February 11, 2018. For employees employed on January 1, 2018, sick leave accruals begin on that date.
  • Leave accruals: Employers with 15 or more employees must provide 1 hour of sick or safe leave for every 30 hours an employee works. Employers must allow employees to carry over unused sick leave from year to year but can limit the carryover to 40 hours.
  • Eligible employees: Employers must make sick leave available to Maryland employees who work 12 or more hours per week. There are limited exceptions for certain construction industry and health and human services industry employees.
  • Types of leave: Employers must allow employees to use sick and safe leave for a mental or physical illness, injury, or condition; to care for a family member with a mental or physical illness, injury, or condition; preventive medical care for the employee or a family member; maternity or paternity leave; or care/services related to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking of an employee or family member.
  • Family members: For purposes of this law, family members include spouses, children, parents, grandparents, grandchildren, and siblings—whether biological or through legal guardianship, foster care, or adoption.
  • Accommodation for current leave policies: Employers do not have to modify leave policies if they already provide vacation days, sick days, short-term disability, floating holidays, parental leave, or other paid time off that can be used for sick and safe leave under terms and conditions at least as generous as those under the Maryland law.
  • Preemption of local laws: This law preempts local laws after January 1, 2017 that require or regulate sick or safe leave. The law also allows (but does not require) Montgomery County to amend its paid sick leave law to conform with the Maryland law.

More details are available in the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act. We expect that Maryland’s Commissioner of Labor and Industry will begin a rulemaking process and issue implementing guidance in the coming weeks.

Next Steps

We recommend that employers with employees in Maryland:

  • Review current leave policies determine whether changes to leave accruals, record keeping procedures, or other benefit policies are necessary;
  • Work with HR, payroll, and any third-party vendors to determine what steps, if any, are needed to comply; and
  • Stay up to date on implementing regulations and guidance from Maryland’s Commissioner of Labor and Industry. We will update our members on new developments.

More Information

Links to Maryland and Business Group resources:

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