Wednesday, January 13, 2016 marked the opening day of the Maryland General Assembly’s 90 day legislative session. Maryland employers should be on the lookout for developments and new legislation mandating paid leave, particularly following the passage of legislation in Montgomery County mandating paid leave for employees working in that county. During the 2015 session, members of the Maryland House of Delegates and Senate proposed bills that would have required employers with 10 or more employees in the state to provide at least one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours worked; however, the bills died in committee. Members of the House of Delegates and Senate have indicated that they again intend to introduce new versions of the previous bills, with clarification provided as to how the laws would apply to employers who already provide paid sick leave to their employees. While mandatory paid leave is expanding, it is mostly spreading at the local level, as it has in Washington, D.C., New York City, and Montgomery County. At present, only four other states mandate paid sick leave: Oregon, California, Massachusetts and Connecticut. In addition, Governor Hogan has promulgated a 2016 legislative agenda which has emphasized making Maryland more business-friendly. To counter this argument, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research recently conducted a study that found that mandatory sick leave would provide a net financial benefit to employers by decreasing employee turnover and preventing the spread of the flu. It is widely expected, though, that any legislation would not come up for a floor vote unless the General Assembly can attain veto-proof majority support for any legislation. In the coming months, we will continue to monitor the status of this and other legislation impacting the rights and responsibilities of employers in Maryland and across the country. Updates on any significant legislation affecting employers will be provided on this blog.
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