Maryland’s Healthy Working Families Act went into effect on February 11, 2018. The Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing, & Regulation has not yet issued final guidance on the Act, so it is important for both employees and employers to understand its effects.
Qualifying workers are now entitled to accrue paid sick leave of at least 1 hour per 30 hours worked. Employees can use this leave for several purposes, including caring for their own medical needs or those of certain family members, obtaining preventative medical care, as well as maternity and paternity leave. Importantly, the Act also allows employees to use take leave in situations involving sexual assault, domestic violence, or stalking.
For these benefits to go into effect, both the employer and employee must be covered by the Act.
The Act created two standards based on the size of the employer. Employers with at least 15 employees must provide paid sick leave to qualifying employees, while those below that threshold are need only provide unpaid sick leave. Different standards may apply to employers in certain industries as well.
The Act does not apply to part-time employees working less than 12 hours per week, or certain employees in the construction, agriculture, or health and human services industries. In certain circumstances, union employees may also have their rights modified under the Act by their collective bargaining agreement.
The Act also prohibits retaliation against employees who assert their right to use accrued leave. Employees’ protected activity includes both utilizing leave provided under the Act and raising or participating in claims alleging violations under the Act.
Covered employers are required to provide notices to and develop policies for their employees, describing the extent of their benefits under the Act. Covered employers are also subject to new recordkeeping and inspection standards.
Employees can file complaints regarding violations of the Act by contacting the Maryland Commissioner of Labor and Industry. More information on the Act and its effects can be by contacting the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing, & Regulation (DLLR) and through guidance on DLLR’s website.
The Healthy Working Families Act contains several particular standards regarding who is covered and the extent of the benefits afforded to a given employee. The Act is further complicated by similar local and federal laws, including the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
Employees and businesses looking to determine their particular rights and obligations under the Act should consult an attorney. To discuss these possibilities under the Act, you can contact Kator, Parks, Weiser & Harris, PLLC.