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Friday, January 12, 2018, the General Assembly overturned Governor Hogan’s veto of the paid sick leave legislation that had passed both houses of the legislature last year (known as the Healthy Working Families Act). While the law contains some nuance and a regulatory scheme has not yet been adopted, the main impact of the law is that businesses with fifteen or more employees in Maryland will need to provide at least 40 hours of paid sick or safe leave per year to qualifying employees. Employers with fourteen or fewer employees will be required to provide the same leave, but there is no requirement that the leave is paid. Many existing leave policies may satisfy the requirements of this new law. However, adjustments may be necessary or optimal given certain details of the paid sick leave law, specifically as it pertains to the accrual of paid sick leave, carry over from year to year of paid sick leave, and employee eligibility (which all could differ from existing paid time off policies). Obviously, any employer with fifteen or more employees that do not have a paid leave plan will, at a minimum, need to adopt a paid sick leave plan.
Even after a compliant policy is in place, employers will still need to address the practical effects of paid sick leave. For example, employers will need to have an understanding as to what qualifies as sick or safe leave since the definitions in the law are broader than just employee illness or injury and include preventative care, care for family members, maternity/paternity leave, and even absences due to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. Likewise, employers will need to ensure that notice of paid sick leave balances is provided to employees with each pay statement. We will address these details in the coming days as we endeavor to provide specific content regarding the nuances of compliance with the Healthy Working Families Act.
It may be necessary for employers to move very quickly to address paid sick leave requirements. Typically, when the General Assembly overrides a veto the law becomes effective thirty days later. While there are efforts being mounted to delay the effective date of paid sick leave so that employers have an opportunity to learn the law, the fact remains that employers will be bound by this law and need to implement compliant policies. Given the potential short fuse, it is critical for employers to move quickly to prepare themselves for paid sick leave.
If you have any questions regarding Maryland’s Paid Sick Leave Act or would like to receive updates on this change, please contact Russell Berger firstname.lastname@example.org or Sarah Sawyer at email@example.com.
ABOUT RUSSELL BERGER
Russell Berger is an accomplished labor and employment attorney who is well-versed in litigating in both state and federal courts, as well as providing counsel to employers on employee matters. He represents employers, businesses and professional clients in employment disputes throughout the country. Mr. Berger primarily focuses on litigating and counseling clients regarding matters of minimum wage and overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act and state laws, wrongful termination, non-compete agreements, and employment and severance agreements. Mr. Berger’s practice also includes handling claims and providing counsel regarding retaliation, discrimination and harassment (under Title VII and state anti-discrimination laws), as well as under other federal statutes, such as the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), and American with Disabilities Act (ADA). He also provides general counsel to businesses, including with respect to commercial, contracting, and insurance matters.
ABOUT SARAH SAWYER
Sarah Sawyer is a labor and employment attorney with a focus on commercial, business, and employment litigation. Sarah allows business owners to focus on growing their business by anticipating, identifying, and avoiding legal landmines. As an experienced business advisor, she works with her clients to come up with solutions to their greatest legal questions and concerns. She counsels her clients to implement better policies and practices upfront to ensure they will not face expensive and prolonged legal battles. Sarah also advises her clients on how to comply with federal regulations, such as wage and discrimination laws, and withstand litigation when it does arise.
ABOUT OFFIT KURMAN
Offit Kurman is one of the fastest-growing, full-service law firms in the Mid-Atlantic region. With over 140 attorneys offering a comprehensive range of services in virtually every legal category, the firm is well positioned to meet the needs of dynamic businesses and the people who own and operate them. Our eleven offices serve individual and corporate clients in the Virginia, Washington, DC, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York City regions. At Offit Kurman, we are our clients’ most trusted legal advisors, professionals who help maximize and protect business value and personal wealth. In every interaction, we consistently maintain our clients’ confidence by remaining focused on furthering their objectives and achieving their goals in an efficient manner. Trust, knowledge, confidence—in a partner, that’s perfect.
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