Taking effect on February 11, 2018, the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act requires that certain employers in the state must offer paid sick leave to their employees.
Under the law, Maryland businesses with 15 or more employees are required to provide up to five days of paid sick leave per year, while businesses with fewer than 15 employees must give unpaid leave. As highlighted in the law, one hour of leave is earned for every 30 hours worked.
According to the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR), the state of Maryland has received more than 2,000 emails from employers and employees with specific questions about complying with the law.
To provide more clarity around how to comply with this new legislation, following are key points for Maryland employers from the DLLR:
- 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 commenced on February 11, 2018.
- 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.
- Eligible employees are those that regularly work more than 12 hours a week.
- For more information on exemptions, please refer to the Committee on Paid Leave Final Report.
- The maximum amount of leave that an employee can accrue in one year is 40 hours.
- 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.
- If leave is accrued when earned instead of front loaded, unused leave may be carried forward to allow a maximum of 64 hours of accrued leave per employee.
- Employers are permitted to determine their own year for purposes of leave calculation.
If you have any questions about how to comply with the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act, please contact our small business professionals today.