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Department of Labor Issues Updated Sick and Safe Leave Guidance to Assist Maryland Employers and Employees

BALTIMORE (March 9, 2018) – Today, the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation issued three model earned sick and safe leave policies, a revised model employee poster, and updated frequently asked questions (FAQs) based on stakeholder feedback. Posted on the paid leave website, the documents will further help employers comply with the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act, and will help employees understand their rights under the law.

The revised FAQs are the result of almost 2,000 emails sent to the Office of Small Business Regulatory Assistance, and serve to update the initial FAQ document. As employers delve deeper into implementation, new questions are being asked. Today’s FAQ provides answers to these questions, as well as revisions to the previous FAQ document.

Section 3-1306 of the Healthy Working Families Act requires the Commissioner of Labor and Industry to develop a model sick and safe leave policy that an employer may use in a handbook or other written guidance to employees concerning benefits or leave provided by the employer. The department developed three model policies, covering:

  • employers awarding earned leave at the beginning of the year;
  • employers allowing leave to accrue throughout the year; and
  • a policy for tipped employees in the restaurant industry.

“In issuing these documents, the department has fulfilled its statutory obligations under the Healthy Working Families Act. However, we will continue to provide technical assistance to employers and employees – including revising policies based on stakeholder feedback – until every employer has their question addressed,” said Labor Secretary Kelly M. Schulz. “We are committed to working with our job creators, workers, and stakeholders through an open, transparent process to make this transition period as smooth as possible.”

Immediately following HB1 becoming law, the Department of Labor began reaching out to businesses and other stakeholders impacted by the law to determine their specific questions and concerns regarding implementation of and compliance with the new law. Prior to the law going into effect on February 11, the department also provided initial guidance to alleviate any immediate concerns.

“The department continues to address the immediate needs of small businesses and is seeing an increasing number of questions coming from employees,” said Secretary Schulz. “Today’s new and revised documents represent the latest resource we have to help employers through the transition.”

“As I’ve said before, these frequently asked questions are the catalyst for public dialogue, and today’s revisions reflect the responsiveness of the department,” Secretary Schulz said. “The feedback we have received has shaped internal policies. Your voices are being heard.”

The department continues to be open for public comment. Employer and employee inquiries regarding the Healthy Working Families Act can be sent to the Office of Small Business Regulatory Assistance’s designated email account:

The department sent today’s documents to more than 200,000 stakeholders, composed of parties who provided contact information to the Committee on Paid Leave in 2017, subscribers to DLLR’s mailing lists, contacts who have directly contacted the Office of Small Business Regulatory Assistance, local chambers of commerce and business organizations, and members of the General Assembly. The documents are also publicly available on the DLLR website.

The Office of Small Business Regulatory Assistance was established by Executive Order 01.01.2018.04 to assist small businesses in complying with the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act. Employers or employees who have specific questions about how the law affects them may contact the office at

About the Maryland Department of Labor
The Maryland Department of Labor is committed to safeguarding and protecting Marylanders. We're proud to support the economic stability of the state by providing businesses, the workforce, and the consuming public with high-quality, customer-focused regulatory, employment, and training services. For updates and information, follow the Maryland Department of Labor on Twitter (@MD_Labor), Facebook and visit our website.

Theresa Blaner
Director, Communications and Media Relations
410-230-6241 (office)
443-721-8637 (cell)