MarylandWith the passage of the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act (House Bill 1) on January 12, 2018, Maryland has joined the ranks of states requiring paid sick and parental leave. California, Rhode Island, Washington, New Jersey, New York and the District of Columbia already have paid leave laws in effect.

The Act becomes effective on 2/11/18. The new law will require employers with 15 or more employees to offer 40 hours of paid “sick and safe” leave per year. Employers with 14 or fewer employees are required to offer the same 40 hours of “sick and safe” leave. However, this leave would be unpaid.

Certain categories of employees may be exempt from the requirement including but not limited to: temporary agency employees on assignment, “as needed” (PRN) employees working in the health or human service sector and agricultural employees. Other exemptions exist for employees under the age of 18, employees regularly working less than 12 hours per week, and some segments of the construction industry.

All full-time, part-time, temporary and season employees would be counted in determining employee census. The Act requires that employees accrue one hour of leave for every 30 hours worked – not to exceed 40 hours per year. The accrual requirements assume that exempt employees work 40 hours per week. Employers can restrict or prohibit the use of leave for new hires during their first 106 calendar days of employment. Employers also have the option of awarding the 40 hours per week at the beginning of the year, or at the time of hire. This approach does simplify tracking of the benefit, particularly for smaller employers with limited resources.

This leave is not available to just anyone who has the time available. There must also be a “qualifying event” that triggers the eligibility for the leave. Some of these events include (1) maternity or paternity leave (2) to care for their own illness, injury or condition, or that of a family member (3) to get preventative medical care for themselves or a family member (4) when necessary due to sexual assault, domestic violence or stalking against the employee or a family member.

Mandatory Notice to each employee must be provided by February 11, 2018.

Maryland’s Department of Labor and Industry has indicated that they will issue a suggested copy of the notice and copy of the policies on the State website. There is also a possibility that implementation of the Act may be delayed so that the State can get regulations in order, and this will also allow employers more time to comply with the new payroll and mandatory notice requirements.

If you have any questions regarding the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act (House Bill 1), please contact small.business@maryland.gov.



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