Maryland: Statewide Paid Sick and Safe Leave Begins Feb 11, 2018


All Employers with MD Employees


February 11, 2018


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In 2017, Governor Larry Hogan vetoed an act that would require Maryland employers to provide paid sick and safe leave (“PSSL”). The Maryland legislature recently overrode this veto, meaning Maryland HB 1 (the “Act”) will go into effect on February 11, 2018.  Maryland employers should immediately review the details of the Act, summarized below.

  1. Eligibility:
    1. Employers: Any employer of 15 or more Maryland employees must provide PSSL. Employers of 14 or fewer must provide unpaid leave.  For the purpose of determining headcount, full-time, part-time, temporary, and seasonal employees all qualify.
    2. Employees: The bill provides a list of individuals who are not covered: (1) independent contractors, (2) real estate salespeople or associate real estate brokers, 3) minors, (4) agricultural employees, (5) individuals employed by a temporary service agency to providing staffing services, if the temporary service agency does not have supervision or day-to-day control of the individual’s work assignments while providing services, or (6) individuals directly employed by an employment agency to provide part-time/temporary services to another person.
  2. Usage: Employees can begin using PSSL after 106 calendar days of employment. Employers may require PSSL be taken in minimum increments of four hours or less.
  3. Leave Amounts:
    1. Rate: Employees accrue one hour of PSSL per 30 hours worked. Exempt employees accrue leave based on a 40-hour workweek or their normal workweek, whichever involves fewer hours.  PSSL does not accrue in some specific scenarios:
      1. During any two-week period the individual works fewer than 24 hours;
      2. During any one-week period the individual works fewer than a total of 24 hours when combined with the immediately preceding pay period; or
      3. During any pay period in which the individual is paid twice a month, regardless of the number of weeks in a pay period, and also worked fewer than 26 hours in the pay period.
    2. Cap: Employees may earn and use up to 40 hours per year.
    3. Carryover: Employees may carry over a maximum of 64 hours to the following year.
    4. Frontload: Employers are permitted to frontload the full amount of PSSL at the beginning of each year. No carryover is required in this scenario.
    5. Rehire: Employees rehired within 37 weeks must have their prior PSSL balance reinstated.
  1. Recordkeeping and Notice Requirements:
    1. Workplace Posting: Employers must provide employees with a notice describing their rights under the Act.  A poster and model notice that complies with this requirement is currently pending from the state labor department.
    2. Leave Balance: Employers must provide the employee’s current available PSSL balance in writing whenever wages are paid.  This requirement can be satisfied by tracking available PSSL on wage statements, or through online portals in which employees can access the PSSL balance.
    3. Recordkeeping: PSSL accrual and usage records must be retained for at least three years.
  2. Employee’s Notice: If the need to use leave is foreseeable, employees must provide advance notice within seven days of anticipated use of PSSL. Verification of usage of PSSL can be required after PSSL is used for two consecutive scheduled shifts, or if PSSL is taken between the first 107 and 120th calendar days of employment and the employee agreed to provide verification at time of hire.
    1. Employers may deny a PSSL request if required notice is not provided and the absence causes a disruption to the employer. Employers in specified industries providing care to developmentally disabled individuals may deny leave requests if the need for PSSL is foreseeable, the employer cannot locate a replacement, and the absence disrupts service to at least one client.
    2. An employee who fails to provide required verification may have a subsequent PSSL leave denied.

Currently, the Maryland Chamber of Commerce is attempting to obtain a 60 or 90-day extension on the February 11, 2018 effective date. For the time being, employers must be prepared to comply with the February 11, 2018 date.

Action Items

  1. Review the text of the Act here.
  2. Have a written paid sick leave policy prepared prior to the compliance date of February 11, 2018.
  3. Look for the workplace posting and model notice once available from the Maryland state labor department.
  4. Review payroll systems to ensure PSSL balances can be tracked and available for employee review, whether on printed or electronic paystubs.

Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser.

© 2018 ManagEase

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