Upcoming Seminar: Maryland's New Healthy Working Families Act

As we reported previously, the Maryland General Assembly voted on January 12, 2018 to override Governor Hogan’s veto of the “Maryland Healthy Working Families Act,” a bill that requires Maryland employers to provide “Earned Sick and Safe Leave” (ESS) to employees.

To the consternation of all Maryland employers, the new law went into effect on February 11, 2018, with virtually no guidance from the State as to how to comply with the new law.

The new paid sick leave law applies to all employers in the State of Maryland (including a unit of State or local government), regardless of size. Employers with 15 or more employees are now required to provide employees with paid leave for specified reasons, and employers with fewer than 15 employees are now required to provide unpaid leave for those same reasons. Special rules govern how the number of employees is determined.

Employers must allow employees to earn ESS at a rate of at least one hour for every 30 hours worked, up to 40 hours a year. Employees may carry over ESS from year-to-year, although the carryover amount may be capped at 40 hours. The total amount of ESS that an employee may actually use in a year also may be capped at 64 hours.

As is the case with comparable laws in jurisdictions such as Montgomery County and the District of Columbia, employers may use Paid Time Off plans to meet their Maryland ESS obligations.

Maryland employers also are required to provide written notice to employees regarding their right to use ESS and must post a poster provided by the Maryland DLLR. Employers also are subject to specified record-keeping obligations.

Unfortunately, adherence to this often confusing new Maryland law is only the start of full compliance with applicable federal and State laws that govern leave-related events. Maryland employers must also comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Maryland Pregnancy Accommodation Act, the Maryland Flexible Leave Act and, depending on the size of the workplace, the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Maryland Parental Leave Act.

We will be offering a seminar focused exclusively on these issues, including the intersection of existing leave-related laws with the new Maryland law. The seminar will be held on Tuesday March 20, and Wednesday March 28, 2018 from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m., at Abilities Network, 8503 LaSalle Road, Towson, MD 21286. As always, there is no charge for the seminar. Please contact Alison Christian at achristian@smithdowney.com or (410) 321-9000 to register. (Light refreshments will be served.)