New MD Sick and Safe Leave Law- 30 Days to Implement a Compliant Policy!

On Friday January 12 the Maryland Senate followed the House of Delegates by voting to override Governor Hogan’s veto of a bill requiring most employers to provide paid sick leave to their employees. As a result, this legislation will become effective on February 11, 2018, giving employers only 30 days to take the necessary steps to ensure that their leave policies comply with this law. 

The new law will require employers with 15 or more employees to allow staff to earn up to five days of paid sick leave per year, which will accrue at a rate of at least one hour for every 30 hours worked. Employers with less than 15 employees will be required to provide unpaid leave under this legislation.

In addition, the law imposes several obligations on employers. They must provide notice to employees regarding how their leave is accrued, how and under what circumstances it may be used, and how much leave each employee has available.

Maryland employers should review any existing sick leave or PTO policies to ensure that they comply with the technical requirements of this new law. If an employer is not currently providing any paid leave, they should develop the appropriate sick leave policies and procedures in advance of the law’s effective date – which is rapidly approaching. Unfortunately, because employers only have 30 days’ notice, those who recently adopted new handbooks may need to make changes to their policies once again.  Even if a previously-implemented paid leave policy provides sufficient leave, there is a good chance that it does not meet the administrative requirements of the new law.

Notably for Montgomery County employers, having a policy in place which complies with the Montgomery County Earned Sick and Safe Leave Act does not ensure compliance with the new state law. There are differences between the state and local laws regarding the purposes for using leave, family members covered, and verification procedures, among other things. Furthermore, the language of the new law requires Montgomery County employers to comply with the requirements of both laws.

Contact info: Meredith S. Campbell Chair, Employment and Labor Group, Shulman Rogers [email protected] | T 301.255.0550 | F 301.230.2891