Maryland General Assembly Passes Veto-Proof Sick Leave Legislation

The Maryland General Assembly this week passed the Healthy Working Families Act, which all but guarantees that come 2018, employees in Maryland will be entitled to sick leave.

The bill was passed with veto-proof margins in both the Senate (29-18) and the House of Delegates (87-53), which means the General Assembly can override Governor Hogan’s anticipated veto when it reconvenes next year.  Below is a summary of the bill which would take effect January 1, 2018:

  • Employees eligible for leave must:
    • Regularly work 12 hours per week
  • Employees can use sick leave to:
    • Care for the health condition of the employee or family member
    • Obtain preventative medical care for the employee or family member
    • Take maternity or paternity leave
    • Address domestic violence related to the employee or family member
  • Businesses must:
    • Permit employees to earn 5 paid sick days if the business has 15 or more employees
    • Permit employees to earn at least 5 unpaid sick days if the business has less than 15 employees
    • Permit employees to accrue sick leave at a rate of 1 hour for every 30 hours worked
    • Permit carryover of leave unless full amount of leave is awarded at the beginning of each year
  • Businesses are permitted to:
    • Cap sick leave use at 64 hours per year
    • Cap sick leave accrual at 64 hours at any time
    • Cap carryover of leave from one year to the next at 40 hours
    • Require notice of forseeable leave
    • Adopt and enforce policies related to abuse of leave
  • Businesses can prohibit:
    • Use of sick leave during first 106 days of employment
    • Accrual of sick leave under certain conditions where an employee works limited hours during a set timeframe
  • The law would not require businesses to:
    • Pay out unused sick leave when an employee separates from employment
    • Modify an existing sick leave plan that allows employees to accrue and use leave under the same or better terms
    • Affect any other law that provides more generous leave benefits
  • The bill contains notice posting and record keeping requirements as well as a prohibition on retaliation.
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