Maryland's Paid Sick Leave Law

Maryland’s paid sick leave law – Maryland Healthy Working Families Act - went into effect last February. All employers must conform unless they are subject to a Collective Bargaining Agreement that took effect before June 1, 2017.        

If a company has 14 or fewer employees, it must provide unpaid sick/safe leave. A company that has 15 or more employees must provide paid sick/safe leave. The employee head count includes full-time, part-time, temporary, and seasonal workers. The count is NOT based on full-time equivalents.

Like any law, there are a LOT of provisions. Here are the highlights that should hit the key points:

  • Employees can earn up to 40 hours per year of sick/safe time.
  • S/S time accrues at the rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked or can be given in a lump sum at the beginning of the year for existing employees.
  • Employees that work 12 or fewer hours per week do not have to accrue sick/safe time. Same for temp employees (the temp agency is the employer), and occasional workers that can refuse offered shifts. Minors under the age of 18 also do not accrue sick/safe time.
  • Employees may carry over up to 40 hours of earned leave per year, but the total number of hours in a year may be capped at 64.
  • If the leave is given as a lump sum at the beginning of the year, then the employer does not have to carry over the unused leave from the previous year.
  • If an employee separates from the company, earned sick/safe time does not have to be paid out. If the employee is rehired within 37 weeks, the unused time s/he had at separation must be reinstated.
  • New employees can accrue time from the outset of their employment but may have a waiting period of up to 106 days before being allowed to use the time.
  • If the leave is foreseeable, the employer may require 7 days notice of the leave.
  • The employer can ask for verification of the leave if the employee called off for more than 2 consecutive shifts (i.e., if the employee has missed 3+ consecutive shifts).
  • The Employer must post a notice. Here is the notice/poster that is provided by the DLI: Sick/Safe Leave Notice to Employees

The Dept. of Labor & Industry has sample policies for employers that can be found here.

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