What Every Employer Needs to Know About ‘Sick & Safe’ and POWER Apprenticeship Bill

Ally D'Ovidio

There are several significant developments that have come out of the Maryland General Assembly and the Governor’s office the past few weeks, each of which could have a significant impact on your business and that of your clients.

We want to take just a moment to let you know where each of these initiatives stand:

  1. Mandated Paid Sick Leave: This bill would require employers with 15 or more employees to provide employees with sick and safe leave paid at the same wage rate as normally earned by the employee. An employee shall accrue leave at a rate of at least 1 hour for every 30 hours worked. And, union construction workers are exempt from all provisions in the bill!
    • STATUS: The Governor vetoed this bill.  Unless a special session of the General Assembly is convened, the Governor’s veto will be reviewed by the General Assembly in January, 2018.  If the General Assembly votes to override the veto, the bill will likely go into effect at that time.  The business community is already lobbying members of the Legislature to get additional support for the Governor’s veto.  It should be a close vote.
  1. The POWER Apprenticeship Bill: The bill expands the $.25 per hour, per employee contribution requirement that exists on public works projects to some non-prevailing wage projects.  Projects affected would be private jobs that receive a minimum of $1,000,000 in public funding.  Projects in the past that would have come under this new law include projects at Johns Hopkins and the Baltimore Zoo.
    • STATUS: The bill was scheduled to go into effect June 1, 2017.  However, regulations need to be created by DLLR to provide how the bill will be administered and enforced.  Until they are created, there is no expectation compliance with this law.  ABC will keep its members informed should there be any new developments regarding the status of this law.

And then there are the three executive orders (EO) issued by Governor Hogan last week, all addressing mandatory paid sick and safe leave:

  1. The first EO creates a task force of government officials to study the implications of paid sick and safe leave across the state.  The Governor did not believe enough research and data collection took place during legislative deliberations to determine the real impact such a law would have on both the employer and their employees.
  2. A second EO will provide temporary employees within the Executive Branch with paid leave.  This would go into effect as soon as the impacted departments can get the program in place.  No specific timeframe is outlined in the EO.
  3. The third EO requires each Department, Agency or Board to conduct a comprehensive review of its procurement procedures, guidelines, and regulations to determine whether they can be modified or expanded to grant a procurement preference to bidders that already provide paid leave to employees.  A report from each agency is required to be submitted to the Governor no later than December 1, 2017 so NO IMMEDIATE preferences will be provided.

So the bottom line is that – for the time being – you will not need to change your operations. Unfortunately, this is just a brief reprieve. Stay tuned. In the meantime, please call us if you would like to discuss further.