Healthy Working Families Act Update

As discussed in the Jan. 23, 2018 edition of Compliance Corner, Maryland's Healthy Working Families Act went into effect Feb. 11, 2018. SB 304 would have delayed the effective date to July 1, 2018. The bill passed the Senate but did not pass the House.

The new law requires employers with 15 or more employees to provide paid leave to eligible employees working in Maryland. Employees accrue one hour for every 30 hours worked. Accrual begins Feb. 11, 2018. Employers with fewer than 15 employees must provide unpaid leave to employees working in Maryland.

Eligible employees are defined as those working more than 12 hours per week. There are exemptions for independent contractors, employees under the age of 18, agricultural employees, certain employees of a staffing agency, certain on-call workers in the health or human services industry, and certain workers in the construction industry.

On Feb. 5, 2018, the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR) released a memo providing additional guidance on the new law. When determining the employer's size, only those employees performing work in Maryland should be counted. All employees are included in the calculation (part-time, full-time, temporary and seasonal).

In regards to hours worked:

  • If an employee works primarily in another state but performs work in Maryland that is incidental to their work performed elsewhere, the employee wouldn’t be entitled to accrue sick and safe leave for those incidental hours or work performed in Maryland.
  • If an employee performs the majority of their work in Maryland, the employee is entitled to accrue sick and safe leave for all time worked, including any incidental work that’s performed in another state.

On Feb. 16, the Maryland DLLR also released a draft sample poster and a series of frequently asked questions (FAQs). The FAQs provide important clarification on many issues, including:

  • The law applies to all employers who have one or more employees whose primary work location is in Maryland, regardless of where the employer is located.
  • The act preempts any local paid sick and safe leave laws enacted on or after Jan. 1, 2017. The act does not preempt Montgomery County’s sick and safe leave act as it was enacted prior to Jan. 1, 2017.
  • If an employer has an existing leave policy that provides leave benefits that are equivalent to or greater than those provided under the act, the employer doesn’t need to provide additional leave. It’s advised that such employers advise employees that they won’t be providing additional leave above and beyond what’s already provided.
  • An employer may prohibit the use of accrued leave during the employee’s first 15 weeks of employment.
  • If an employee is rehired within 37 weeks, the employee is entitled to have any earned but unused sick leave reinstated.

NFP's Benefits Compliance team will keep you updated on any developments, including the release of the final poster and forthcoming sample policies from the DLLR, in future editions of Compliance Corner.

Maryland DLLR FAQs »
Healthy Working Families Act, Sample Draft Poster »
Maryland DLLR Memo »
H.B. 1, Maryland Healthy Working Families Act »