- Maryland passed a paid sick leave bill that’s waiting for its Republican governor to sign into law, reports the Washington Post. Gov. Larry Hogan promised to veto the bill, which garnered enough votes in both chambers of the legislature to override the veto.
- The bill requires employers with at least 15 workers to offer five days of paid sick leave. Hogan had proposed a bill requiring employers with 50 or more workers to offer paid sick and receive incentives, but the bill never moved out of committee.
- Maryland would become the eighth state to offer paid sick leave. If Hogan vetoes it as promised, the General Assembly must wait until the next legislative session in 2018 to make it law.
Governor Hogan’s compromise bill, designed to relieve small businesses of the financial burden of paid sick leave, never got any traction. However, Hogan could stall the bill at least for a year by not signing it, even though it garnered enough votes to override a veto. If that happens, employers — especially small businesses — that oppose the bill would get a temporary reprieve.
Arguments for and against paid sick leave are playing out along party lines, with most Republican lawmakers in opposition. States and municipalities are proposing paid sick leave bills, but not without pushback from GOP lawmakers. As Democrats and Republics battle over paid leave policies, employees overwhelmingly favor the benefit. A Pew Research study shows that most employees favor paid sick leave — though, notably, they prefer their employers pay for it.
Employers like Chobani, Deloitte and Johnson & Johnson who offer generous paid-leave benefits will likely have a competitive advantage in recruiting, hiring and retaining skilled workers as this debate plays out across the U.S. The Pew study found that 85% of respondents favor paid medical leave for a serious employee illness and 67% support it for caring for a seriously ill family member. Those results indicate a significant portion of employees would welcome such benefits, and if offered a choice could favor employers that are cognizant of that.
There are several employment law areas where state legislatures have picked up issues that can't seem to get traction on a federal level, including minimum wage laws. Paid leave laws are one such area where state laws are creating a patchwork of different compliance requirements, and challenges, for multi-state employers. Employers with operations in Maryland should monitor this law closely to see what might be in store down the road.