Employment Law Blog

Sunday, May 21, 2017

New Employee Sick and Safe Leave Law Seems Unstoppable

Q: How will the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act impact employees and employers if signed into law?

Score one for the employee.

In the contemporary workplace setting, the laws that govern the relationship between employer and employees are ever-changing. For that reason many smart businesses are often retain skilled employment lawyers to ensure they stay on top of the latest changes in workplace regulations and reduce lawsuits for inadvertent noncompliance.

The latest change in Maryland involves a mandatory sick and safe leave law called the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act (the “Act”). When it becomes law, as it appears it will, the Act will join the Family Medical Leave Act as another weapon for workers battling family responsibility discrimination in the workplace. Employees must be protected from discrimination due to familial family caregiving duties.

The Act passed the General Assembly in April 2017 by such a wide margin that even if the governor vetoes the bill an override of the veto is expected. It mandates virtually all employers to provide their employees with 40 hours of sick and safe leave annually. The leave will be unpaid for employers with 14 or fewer employees but it will be paid leave for employers with 15 or more employees.

Employees can use the sick leave:

  • to care for or treat their own mental or physical illness, injury or condition
  • to care for or treat their family members’ mental or physical illness injury or
  • conditionto obtain their own preventative medical care
  • to obtain preventive medical care for their family members
  • for maternity or paternity leave

In addition, employees can use the safe leave where they must miss work due to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking-- against themselves or their family members. "Family members" is broadly defined as including the children, parents, spouse, grandparents, grandchildren and siblings of the employee.

If you are an employee who experienced family responsibility, pregnancy, age, or any other form of discrimination, or if you are an employer facing discrimination charges, the employment law experts at The Baror Law Firm can help you. Call us at 301-812-4546 to schedule a consultation. We serve discrimination and harassment clients throughout Maryland, including Bethesda, Silver Spring, Gaithersburg, and Rockville.

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