On January 12, 2018, the Maryland legislature overrode Governor Larry Hogan’s (R) 2017 veto of the Healthy Working Families Act, Maryland HB 1 (“the Act”), enacting legislation that requires Maryland businesses to provide covered employees with sick and safe leave. The Act says it preempts local sick and safe leave laws that were enacted on or after January 1, 2017, which may include the Prince George’s County law.1 However, Montgomery County’s law will remain in effect.2 The Act is scheduled to become effective on February 11, 2018.
Articles About Maryland Labor and Employment Law.
Certain Maryland employers must begin offering paid sick and safe leave to their employees under the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act beginning February 12, 2018.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
New ordinances in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties, Maryland, and Columbia, Missouri, limit an employer’s ability to inquire into an applicant’s criminal history. Employers should continue to be on the look out for new ban-the-box initiatives in the New Year as the list of localities considering such laws is expected to grow.
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.
Executive Summary: On August 13, 2014, the Maryland Court of Appeals held in Peters v. Early Healthcare Giver, Inc. that unpaid overtime wages are recoverable under the Maryland Wage Payment and Collection Law (MWPCL or “Wage Payment Act”). The ruling increases the potential liability for Maryland employers who misclassify their employees as exempt under the Maryland Wage and Hour Law (MWHL) and the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Employees who prove an entitlement to overtime pay can now seek an award of treble damages or three times the amount owed to them in unpaid overtime wages. Although an employer can avoid a treble damages award by proving that there was a good faith “bona fide dispute” over the validity of the employee’s overtime claim, the court in Peters held that the employer has the burden of proof on the “bona fide dispute” issue.
On August 13, 2014, the Maryland Court of Appeals held in Peters v. Early Healthcare Giver, Inc. that employers can be held liable under the Maryland Wage Payment and Collection Law (“Wage Payment Law” or MWPCL) for all overtime violations, including allegations of misclassification under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Maryland Wage and Hour Law (MW&HL). This holding by the state’s highest court is a clear departure from current law. Accordingly, this decision has significant ramifications for Maryland businesses because: (1) it increases potential liability in that the law allows employees to receive up to treble damages, assuming no “bona fide dispute” exists; and (2) the court held that the burden of proving a “bona fide dispute” falls on the employer, and not the employee. On the other hand, the court held also that an award of up to treble damages does not mean an aggrieved employee receives the principal unpaid wages plus three times that amount, and that a fact-finder is not required to award enhanced damages, even in the absence of good faith.
Effective October 1, 2014, small employers in Maryland will be required to provide employees with unpaid leave for the birth or adoption of a child under the Maryland Parental Leave Act (“PLA” or “Act”), a new law passed by the Maryland General Assembly.
The Baltimore City Council has enacted the “Ban the Box Fair Criminal Record Screening Practices” Ordinance, which restricts the timing of pre-employment inquiries about a job applicant’s criminal history by certain private employers. The Ordinance will become effective August 13, 2014, 90 days after Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake signed it into law.
On May 15, 2014, the City of Baltimore, Maryland, became the tenth U.S. jurisdiction to “ban the box” by passing legislation restricting private employers from inquiring into the criminal history of job applicants.