On 6/24/2015, Montgomery County, Maryland approved the Earned Sick and Safe Leave Bill (“Bill”) effective 10/1/2016, which requires employers based in Montgomery County or whose employees work in Montgomery County to provide paid sick leave to all employees working in the County. The Bill applies to all employers of all sizes who are based in Montgomery County or have employees working in the County.
Sick leave will accrue at a rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked, or employers may choose to frontload the sick leave at the beginning of the year. Employers with five or more employees must provide up to 56 hours of paid sick leave per year. Employers with fewer than five employees are required to provide up to 32 hours of paid sick leave and 24 hours of unpaid sick leave per year. Employees will start accruing sick leave on 10/1/2016 or on their first day of employment, whichever is later. However, new employees will not be eligible to use accrued sick leave until after 90 calendar days of employment, unless the employer permits earlier use.
Employees may use sick leave for the following purposes:
- Treating the employee’s physical or mental illness, injury, or condition;
- Obtaining preventative medical care for the employee or a covered individual;
- Caring for a covered individual with a mental or physical illness, injury, or condition;
- Closing of the employer’s place of business or an employee’s child’s school or child care center due to a public health emergency;
- Caring for a covered individual when a healthcare provider has determined that the family member’s presence in the community would endanger the public; and
- Missing work due to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking of the employee or a covered individual, where the leave is used during temporary relocation of the employee/covered individual or to obtain legal or medical services for the employee/covered individual or the employee/covered individual’s family.
A covered individual includes (1) a biological child, adopted child, foster child, or stepchild of the employee; (2) a child for whom the employee has legal or physical custody or guardianship; (3) a child for whom the employee is the primary caregiver; (4) a biological parent, adoptive parent, foster parent, or stepparent of the employee or the employee’s spouse; (5) the legal guardian of the employee; (6) an individual who served as the primary caregiver of the employee when the employee was a minor; (7) the spouse of the employee; (8) a grandparent of the employee; (9) the spouse of a grandparent of the employee; (10) a grandchild of the employee; (11) a biological, adopted, or foster sibling of the employee; or (12) the spouse of a biological, adopted, or foster sibling of the employee.
At each pay period, employers must provide employees with a statement of available earned sick leave. Employers are also required to keep accrual and use records for each employee for a period of three years. The Bill also requires employers to provide written notification to employees regarding the new sick leave law. Montgomery County will be releasing a model notice for employers to use.
Employers should review their current paid sick leave policies to ensure that they meet the minimum requirements of the new law.
For additional information please see the press release from Montgomery County, MD.
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