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Mandatory Paid Sick Leave Takes Effect in Maryland

The Maryland Healthy Working Families Act also requires that businesses that employ 14 or fewer employees provide unpaid sick and safe leave for certain employees. (William Brawley/Flickr)
The Maryland Healthy Working Families Act also requires that businesses that employ 14 or fewer employees provide unpaid sick and safe leave for certain employees. (William Brawley/Flickr)
February 12, 2018

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — A new law requiring many Maryland employers to provide paid sick leave has officially gone into effect, despite Gov. Larry Hogan's attempt to kill the bill last year.

With business groups on his side, Hogan's veto was seen as a big victory for business until the General Assembly issued an override last month. That meant the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act took effect Sunday, despite attempts to delay it.

Some businesses complained they aren't prepared to deal with the new law. But James Eaton, principal at the financial accounting firm KatzAbosch, offered some advice.

"In summary, the biggest piece of advice is don't cover your eyes,” Eaton said. “Don't do the old ostrich-in-the-sand thing, but go ahead and take just a few minutes to try to establish whether or not this applies to me by counting the number of employees and determine whether or not I've already been doing this."

The law requires businesses with 15 or more employees to provide up to five days of earned paid sick leave, as well as safe leave for those at risk of domestic violence or mental health issues that an employee may not readily disclose to their employer.

Eaton said while there are some concerns about the new law, businesses may want to just take a deep breath and do a simple analysis of their current policies.

"You know, if you get to the point where you think, hey this is not something I'm already doing and, yes, I'm large enough that I'm going to be covered, then it probably makes sense to reach out and get some advice,” he said. “Whether that's from a CPA firm like ours or from a payroll service provider, you know, that's probably the next step along the line. "

The Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation issued a draft sample employee notice poster to be displayed in workplaces across the state. Sample policies will be available on its website.

Trimmel Gomes, Public News Service - MD