Ocean City Today

New legislation would delay paid sick leave two months

Proposal sets April 11 date for enforcement, but critics note bill effective Feb. 11
By Greg Ellison | Feb 01, 2018
Courtesy of: Executive office of the governor Gov. Larry Hogan unveiling an alternative paid sick leave bill in late November.

(Feb. 2, 2018) Mandated paid sick leave, poised to become effective statewide on Feb. 11 following the General Assembly override of Gov. Larry Hogan’s earlier veto, could be pushed back two months if a delayed implementation bill is approved.

State Sen. Thomas Middleton (D-28) introduced legislation last week to delay enforcement until 60 days after the Feb. 11 targeted start date.

Following an initial hearing for Senate Bill 304 last Wednesday, Del. Mary Beth Carozza (R-38C) said she has concerns because Middleton’s proposal would delay enforcement, but not the operative date for mandated paid sick leave.

“Secretary of the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation Kelly Schulz noted that this bill does not delay the effective date of the act,” Carozza said. “Meaning employees will begin accruing leave on Feb. 11 and may file a written complaint with the commissioner of labor and industry.”

Carozza also noted if SB 304 is approved the labor commissioner could not enforce the law or act on a complaint until April 11, 2018. As an emergency bill, passage would require a three-fifths majority in both the state Senate and House of Delegates.

If approved, Carozza said she agrees with Schulz, who believes the varying dates could cause confusion with employers, who might conclude they don’t have to comply with the law until 60 days after Feb. 11. In reality, SB 304 would still allow employees to begin accruing sick leave on the original effective date.

“Secretary Schulz also said the agency won’t distribute enforcement policies until the end of the session in April, in case the law is affected by other legislation considered this session,” Carozza said.

Since Jan. 11, when the House voted 88-52 to override Hogan’s veto of House Bill 01, the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act, with the Senate following suit the next day by a 30-17 vote, Carozza said the concerns of employers, especially Ocean City business owners, have not been assuaged.

“I continue to hear from local business operators and managers who now are faced with the very difficult challenges of complying with the new paid leave law,” she said. “These job creators are now faced with the reality of implementing a new paid leave law that is both unfair and hurtful, and are turning to Gov. Hogan and the legislature for support and assistance.”

The new law stipulates that businesses with 15 or more employees who clock in for at least 12 hours per week must give them one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 worked. Businesses with 14 or fewer employees would be required to provide unpaid sick leave at the same rate.

“I continue to support Gov. Hogan’s efforts to fix the most egregious parts of the new paid leave law through a fair and bipartisan approach,” Carozza said. “I will continue to push and actively work for a 120-day seasonal exemption and for hardship relief so the new law is better for both job creators and workers.”

In the meantime, Carozza said Hogan has created a new Office of Small Business Regulatory Assistance to assist with compliance. For more information, email small.business@maryland.gov.

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