Every Tuesday from 6–7pm, Baltimore’s CBS Sports Radio airs AHA! Business Radio, a show produced by Allan Hirsh Advisors. Hosted by the eponymous Allan Hirsh, AHA! Business Radio offers expert advice to business leaders and features interviews with visionary regional executives, founders, entrepreneurs, innovators, and change makers. AHA! Business Radio’s February 13, 2018 broadcast featured a conversation with Russell Berger and Sarah Sawyer, Labor and Employment Attorneys at Offit Kurman. During the show, Russell and Sarah discussed the new paid sick leave law in Maryland. If you missed the episode or would like to read part of the transcript, we are pleased to present the interview below. This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Allan Hirsh: Good evening and welcome to tonight’s show. My guests in the studio are Russell Berger and Sarah Sawyer and they are attorneys at Offit Kurman, and we are going to be spending most of this evening talking about the new state paid sick leave bill, which as I understand took effect Sunday, or for most businesses just yesterday, Monday.
Russell Berger: Right. The Maryland Healthy Working Families Act is now a law effective as of February 11th. At its very base the law is relatively straight forward and what it requires is that all employers in Maryland provide what is called sick and safe leave to their employees. Now, if you have 15 or more employees….
Allan: I want to ask question here, I know what sick means, but what is the intent of the word safe, because people out there, they might not understand it.
Sarah: So safe leave is… included in the sick and safe leave is, what you can mention I think of sick, so if you, yourself or a family member has mental, physical illness injury, need to obtain medical care, go to a doctor, things of that nature, also maternity or paternity leave is also covered here, but safe leave covers absences from works due to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking where the leave is used to obtain related medical or mental treatment, services from victim service organizations or legal service.
Allan: So it’s a protective part of the act, it is not just sick, but it also affecting and we might talk about that a little bit tonight too with what’s going on in our nation with the rest, but it’s all those kinds of issues, you know, we have this situation in the White House with a accused wife beater, whatever you want to call it, and that might be to help them get the opportunity to protect themselves whether it’s a court order or whatever it is, that’s what you are talking about safe leave.
Sarah Sawyer: Yes. Things involving domestic violence and those issues, so it’s not just the conventional, I need to go to the doctor, my kids sick. It is also including protection for the employees, relocation services anything like that too, people moving because of domestic violence issues.
Allan: But it’s an opportunity to make sure that employees have an opportunity to take care of themselves. Not just for being sick, but things that might be impacting their both mental and physical health.
Russell: The simple rule is that you have to provide leave for these enumerated purposes that we are generally calling sick and safe leave and if there are 15 or more employees at the business the sick or safe leave has to be paid. If there are less than 15 employees in the business, even if there is only one employee, the employee still gets sick or safe leave it will just be unpaid.
To hear the rest of the radio interview, please play the audio clip above.
ABOUT RUSSELL BERGER
Russell Berger is the trusted legal counsel every business owner needs to feel confident in their decision-making and secure with their assets. He is a pragmatic problem-solver that works efficiently and tirelessly to present his clients the best possible solutions to their most complicated issues. As an accomplished, Principal attorney and Chair of the Labor and Employment Practice, Mr. Berger provides business counsel to employers on employee matters and is well-versed in litigating in both state and federal courts. He represents employers, businesses, and professionals in employment disputes across the nation.
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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