Maryland has joined the growing ranks of states across the country mandating employee sick leave. Last year, the General Assembly passed the Healthy Working Families Act, requiring employers to allow employees to earn time off from work. While Governor Larry Hogan vetoed the bill late last year, the General Assembly reconvened in January and overrode the veto. The Act takes effect on February 11, 2018, and employers should be prepared to implement changes quickly.
The Act applies to full-time, part-time, and temporary employees. However, it does not apply to any employee who works fewer than 12 hours per week, or employees under 18 years old. Additionally, the Act contains other exceptions for certain categories of workers, including agricultural workers, construction industry employees that are covered by a collective bargaining agreement, and “as needed” shift employees in the healthcare industry.
Whether sick leave is paid or unpaid depends on the size of the employer. Employers with 15 or more employees must provide up 40 hours of paid sick leave per year. Employers with 14 or fewer employees must provide employees the same amount of unpaid sick leave.
An employee begins accruing leave immediately upon starting work. Employers must allow employees to accrue one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked, and the accrual rate is the same whether leave is paid or unpaid. Additionally, employers must allow employees to carryover at least 40 hours of earned sick leave from one year to the next. However, employers