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Sick (Leave) Day: Maryland Revamps Paid Sick Leave Law

Following a Maryland Senate and House of Delegates vote on January 12, 2018, Maryland became the latest state to mandate paid sick leave for employers with 15 or more employees.

According to Maryland’s Healthy Working Families Act (“the Act”), which will go into effect on February 11, 2018, applicable employers are required to provide one hour of paid (at the employee’s regular wage rate) sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Notably, employers with 14 or fewer employees are required to offer one hour of unpaid sick and safe leave for every 30 hours worked. Employees may begin accruing leave on January 1, 2018 and earn up to 40 hours of sick leave annually.

Permissible uses for earned sick and safe leave include:
•    Caring for or treating an employee’s mental or physical illness, injury, or condition
•    Obtaining preventive medical care for the employee or employee’s family member
•    Caring for a family member with a mental or physical illness, injury, or condition
•    Taking time away from work due to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking of employee or employee’s family member
•    Taking maternity or paternity leave

Employers that offer self-funded health plans should take note of the Act’s requirements and review their current policies, including continuation of health coverage, to determine if they are in compliance with this new law.

To be eligible for this leave, employees must regularly work more than 12 hours per week, be at least 18 years of age, and not serve as independent contractors or as-needed employees. Notice is also a significant element of the Act, as employees must notify the employer at least seven days prior to being out of work when requesting a foreseeable leave. Additionally, employers must maintain records of paid sick time accrual and usage.

The Act will preempt any Maryland sick and safe leave laws enacted after to January 1, 2017, but any laws enacted prior will remain intact. Arizona, California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia have also enacted legislation requiring paid employee sick leave.

See the full Act here.