Maryland Sick and Safe Leave Guidance

Feb 11, 2018

The Maryland Healthy Working Families Act was passed last month by the Maryland House of Delegates and Senate. The Act is scheduled to go into effect on February 11, 2018 and requires employers with 15 or more employees to provide up to five (5) days of paid sick leave. Businesses with fewer than 15 employees have to provide five (5) unpaid sick days.

Emergency legislation to delay implementation of this law until July 1, 2018 is currently moving through Maryland Senate and House of Delegates.  If this legislation should pass before February 11th, the Department of Labor will notify employers.  However, in the event that implementation is not delayed, employers should be prepared to begin tracking sick and safe leave accrual next week.

In anticipation of the February 11th effective date, see below for important information relevant to Maryland employers.  Please note that some of this may be subject to change based on stakeholder input and any amendments to the law.

  • Employers with 15 or more employees that do not currently offer at least one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours that an employee works must establish a method to provide employees with sick and safe leave that is consistent with the law.
    ○ Accrual will commence on February 11, 2018, when the bill becomes effective.
  • Employers that have an existing PTO policy that provides leave in an amount equal to or greater than the amount that is provided for under the law do not have to provide additional leave.
    ○ The department strongly encourages employers to review their existing policies to make sure that the amount of leave they provide for, as well as the terms of leave usage, are equal to or greater than the leave provided for under the law.
    ○ Additionally, the department strongly encourages such employers to advise
    employees that sick and safe leave is covered by the existing PTO the employer provides and that any additional sick and safe leave will not be provided.
  • Employers with fewer than 15 employees must allow unpaid sick and safe leave.
    ○ In determining whether an employer has 15 or more employees, the department will consider those employees employed in the state of Maryland.
    ○ All employees employed in the state of Maryland will count towards this
    determination, regardless of hours worked or status within the business.
  • Both paid and unpaid leave will accrue at the rate of one hour of leave for every 30 hours worked.
    ○ If an employee works primarily in another state but performs work in Maryland that is incidental to his or her work performed elsewhere, the employee would not be entitled to accrue sick and safe leave for those incidental hours or work performed in Maryland.
    ○ If an employee performs the majority of his or her work in Maryland, the
    employee is entitled to accrue sick and safe leave for all time worked including
    any incidental work that is performed in another state.
  • Employers must provide for the accrual of leave beginning on February 11, 2018.
    ○ Employees employed for at least 106 days may use leave as it is accrued.  Employees employed less than 106 days on February 11, 2018, and new employees hired after February 11, 2018, must wait 106 days from their date of hire to begin using leave.
  • An employer may elect to “front load” the leave at the beginning of the year. The leave would then be available for immediate use by employees, but employees would not be permitted to carry over any unused leave. Employers are permitted to determine their own year for purposes of leave calculation. The maximum amount of leave that an employee can accrue in one year is 40 hours.

Additional information can be found at www.dllr.maryland.gov/paidleave.