Now that flu season is upon us, employers can expect the usual uptick in employees calling out sick. And in Maryland, while most larger employers offer paid sick leave, many small businesses do not. According to the Institute of Women’s Policy Research, forty percent of Maryland’s private sector workers, or nearly 820,000 employees, do not receive time off with pay for being sick.
However, Maryland might soon require all employers to offer paid sick leave. Coalition organizers are hopeful that the Maryland General Assembly will consider a leave proposal during the upcoming 2013 legislative session. Details of the proposed legislation are not yet available, but it seems likely that something will be introduced when the next session opens in January.
Currently, only a handful of jurisdictions require employers to pay sick leave to employees: Connecticut, the District of Columbia, San Francisco, and Seattle. While the methods for calculating an employee’s leave entitlement vary from one jurisdiction to the next, many of the existing sick leave laws include provisions on civil and criminal penalties, complaint procedures, prohibitions on retaliation, and notice and posting requirements.
For Maryland employers who do not currently offer paid sick leave, any new legislation could present difficult challenges in properly administering human resources and payroll processes. Employers with paid sick leave benefits already in place will need to reevaluate their existing policies in light of any new laws.