News: In the News

Md. business owners under pressure to comply with new sick leave law

Offit Kurman Labor and Employment Attorney Russell Berger Featured in the Baltimore Business Journal

By Holden Wilen  –  Reporter, Baltimore Business Journal

Business owners, you are now on the clock.

Maryland’s paid sick leave law will go into effect on Feb. 11 after the General Assembly overrode Gov. Larry Hogan's veto last week. Business owners need to start crunching now to make sure they have compliant policies in place.   

Although the Maryland Chamber of Commerce is pushing lawmakers to extend the effective date for an additional 60 days, attorneys say businesses should start making changes immediately in case those efforts fail. Businesses that do not comply with the law risk being fined and hit with potential lawsuits. The law requires businesses with 15 or more employees to offer up to five days of paid sick leave, while employers with fewer than 15 workers will need to provide five unpaid sick days.

“Businesses should be pulling up their existing policies and start going through a process to determine if they are in compliance,” said Russell Berger, an attorney at Offit Kurman who chairs the firm’s employment and labor group. “If it is, that’s great. If not, the business needs to determine what steps it needs to take to get into compliance.”

Fiona Ong, an attorney at Shawe Rosenthal LLP, also said businesses should be reviewing their current policies right now. Some companies may have a policy for time off, but it not be for sick or safe leave.

Ong also said businesses may not have sick and safe leave under their no-fault policies, so that may be another change.

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