Maryland Governor Vetoes Employer Sick Leave Mandate

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Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has vetoed legislation that would have required all Maryland employers to offer sick leave benefits to their employees, effective Jan. 1, 2018.  Legislative leaders have vowed to override the veto, either at a special session of the General Assembly later this year, or next January when they return for the 2018 session.

In announcing his veto, Hogan signed three Executive Orders: (1) Creating an executive branch task force to study sick leave policies and develop emergency legislation for the 2018 session; (2) Extending sick leave to contractual state employees in the executive branch; and (3) granting a procurement preference to employers that provide sick leave. 

While HB 1 was flawed in many respects, Maryland employers now seem to have the worst of all worlds:  uncertainty of what sick leave policy to implement next January and the prospect of a new law taking effect next year on 30 days’ notice if the Governor’s veto is overridden.

AOBA members would be well advised to compare their current sick leave policies to HB 1 in the event that the legislation becomes law next January.  As Montgomery County’s local sick leave law requires higher levels of benefits, employers doing business in that jurisdiction should also ensure that their sick leave plan is at least compliant with that law.  AOBA will be seeking legal guidance to reconcile differences in those two enactments.  See AOBA’s 2017 Maryland Legislative Session Recap for a more detailed description of HB 1.