Maryland Sick Leave Law Comes into Effect

Maryland Sick Leave Law Comes into Effect

A new Maryland law requiring most employers in the state to provide paid sick leave for their employees came into effect this week after the state House rejected a Senate effort to delay it until July, CBS Baltimore reported on Wednesday:

While most Maryland employers provide paid sick leave, analysts estimated about 700,000 people didn’t have the benefit which this law will now change. …

It applies to businesses with at least 15 employees, providing one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, and businesses with fewer than 15 get unpaid job protective leave, which also applies to part-time workers. … This law requires businesses to provide five days of sick leave for full-time employees. Backers of the policy see it as an overall benefit for both companies and their staff.

Like sick-leave laws passed recently in other jurisdictions like New York City, Maryland’s law also allows employees to use their sick leave entitlement to address matters of domestic violence, such as going to court to obtain protective orders against abusers or dealing with the aftermath of sexual assault.

Advocates of paid sick leave had been trying to pass a mandate in Maryland for six years. Democratic lawmakers in both houses of the state legislature passed versions of this bill last year, but Republican Governor Larry Hogan vetoed them, pushing for a different bill that would require businesses with 50 or more employees to provide five paid sick days a year and offer tax incentives to smaller businesses that agree to do so.

Both houses overrode Hogan’s veto in January, setting up the law to go into effect 30 days from the vote. Some members of the legislature had complained that this was not enough time for businesses to prepare themselves for the new law and proposed delaying implementation until July 1 to give employers and state regulators more time to get ready. That proposal passed the Senate last week but failed in the House, paving the way for the law to become effective.