On Tuesday, State Senator Thomas Middleton introduced an emergency bill, SB 304, that would delay the implementation date of the state’s newly passed paid sick leave law, the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act (“Act”), to April (i.e., enforcement under the Act would be prohibited for 60 days). A hearing for the bill was held yesterday before the Maryland Senate Finance Committee. The passage of this bill would provide employers greater time to either amend existing paid leave policies or create entire new policies.ERIC sent a letter to State Senators urging them to pass SB 304, and to give employers more time to become compliant with the Act. Should the bill pass and move to the House, we will send a similar letter urging legislators to pass the bill. We encourage you to take the letter and use it in your advocacy efforts on this issue as well.
As previously mentioned, the Act provides for an exemption from certain aspects of the law if you already provide a policy that permits an employee to accrue and use leave under terms and conditions that are at least equivalent to the earned sick and safe leave provided for under the law. I inquired with the legislator who was the lead sponsor of the legislation as to how encompassing the exemption would be, and was met with the following response: ‘Existing PTOs must still comply with the anti-retaliation, recordkeeping and enforcement provisions of the Act. The employer would still have to be able to demonstrate that the existing PTO complies with the Act’s requirements for accrual and usage of time for sick and safe leave.’ Based off of this information, if an employer has an existing paid leave policy that provides for at least equivalent accrual and use as outlined below, then it should have to make no modifications to its policy, keep adequate records, and not retaliate against employees for use of leave.
Click here for a chart explaining Maryland’s paid sick leave law.
Article by Bryan Hum, Retirement and Compensation Policy Associate