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The Layers of the Paid Sick Leave Law in Montgomery County, Maryland

On October 1, 2016, Montgomery County’s Earned Sick and Safe Leave law became effective. This law allows all employees, with few exceptions, that work in Montgomery County, Maryland, to accrue paid and/or unpaid sick and safe leave, depending on the size of their employer, to use for their own illness, an illness of a family member and (originally) five other specific reasons. Since its passage the Montgomery County Council has amended the law once and is considering a further amendment.

Montgomery County Sick and Safe Leave Law Amended to Permit Use for Birth, Adoption, Foster Care, and Bonding

Effective immediately, employers in Montgomery County, Maryland must allow eligible employees in the County to use up to 56 hours of paid sick and safe leave provided under Montgomery County’s sick and safe leave law for birth, adoption, foster care, or bonding with the employee’s child. The County Council adopted this measure to bridge gaps in employees’ ability to use paid leave for various combinations of parental leave under federal and state laws.

Maryland Passes New Pay Equity Law

Maryland recently passed into law sweeping revisions to its existing equal pay law. The new law, signed by Governor Hogan on May 19, 2016, will take effect on October 1, 2016. With the passage of the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, Maryland joins California and New York in expanding pay equity protections. The act significantly amend the current statute, Md. Code, Labor and Employment, §3-301, et seq. and expands both the scope of the law and its remedies.

Maryland Expands Equal Pay Law to Prohibit Gender Identity Discrimination, Require Pay Transparency

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has signed into law a significant expansion of the Maryland Equal Pay Law, including new provisions to prohibit pay discrimination on the basis of gender identity and to make it easier for employees to discover and discuss disparities in pay.

Maryland’s Montgomery County Enacts First Paid Sick and Safe Leave Law in State

Montgomery County is the first county in Maryland to enact a paid sick and safe leave law. The Earned Sick and Safe Leave Law (“the Law”) requires employers operating and doing business in Montgomery County, that employ one or more employees, to provide paid sick and safe leave to their employees who perform work in the County. It becomes effective on October 1, 2016, or, for employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”) in effect, on October 1, 2016, after the expiration of the CBA. The Maryland General Assembly had considered a similar bill during the 2015 legislative session, but the bill failed in session.

Montgomery County, Maryland Joins the Jurisdictions Requiring Paid Sick Leave, Alters the Employer Tip Credit

The Montgomery County, Maryland Council recently passed two amendments to the County Code that impact employers. First, the County has joined in the recent trend of mandatory sick leave laws by requiring employers with one or more employees in the County to provide paid sick and safe leave to covered employees. Second, the County altered the amount of tip credit that employers may use when calculating the minimum wage owed to tipped employees and created a related quarterly reporting requirement.

Maryland Taxpayers May Be Due County Income Tax Credits, Supreme Court Rules

The US Supreme Court has ruled, in Comptroller of the Treasury of Maryland v. Wynne, that Maryland's income tax system, under which residents who pay taxes to another jurisdiction are entitled to credit those taxes against their state income taxes, but not their county income taxes, violates provisions of the US Constitution's Commerce Clause. As a result, a Maryland couple who paid income taxes to other states may be entitled to credit those taxes against their county income taxes, as well as their state income taxes.

Supreme Court, Maryland Address False Claims

The Supreme Court has provided guidance with respect to the ability of whistleblowers to file claims under the federal False Claims Act, while Maryland has expanded its fraud and retaliation protections by enacting its own version of the federal law.

Maryland Appeals Court Casts Doubt On Forum Selections Clauses in Wage Payment Disputes

Recently, the Maryland Court of Appeals took the position, albeit in dicta, that the state’s Wage Payment and Collection Law reflects a “strong” public policy of Maryland and urged Maryland courts to reject as unenforceable any future out-of-state forum selection provisions contained in employment agreements. While just one decision, employers with Maryland-based employees should review any such provisions in their agreements. Moreover, it also serves as a reminder that every employer with multi-state operations (even different states of incorporation and principal places of business) should carefully consider forum selection clauses when drafting or revising employment agreements. This is not just “boilerplate” that you throw in at the end of the agreement.

Recent Changes to Maryland Law Give Pregnant Employees and New Parents Enhanced Employment Protections

Executive Summary: In 2013, the Maryland legislature passed the Reasonable Accommodations for Disabilities Due to Pregnancy Act requiring employers with 15 or more employees to provide reasonable accommodation for individuals with a disability "caused or contributed to by pregnancy." Then, one year later, the legislature enacted the Maryland Parental Leave Act which requires employers with at least 15 employees in Maryland to provide eligible employees with six workweeks of unpaid leave for the birth or adoption of a child. These new statutes dramatically enhance the protections for pregnant employees and provide job-protected parental leave for both female and male employees.