Maryland paid sick leave bill passes full House, Senate committee

Maryland paid sick leave bill passes full House, Senate committee

The Maryland House of Delegates and the Senate Finance Committee have passed similar versions of a paid sick leave bill. The Senate bill requires businesses with 15 or more employees to offer six days of paid sick leave to full-time staff. The House bill provides for seven paid sick days. To reach Gov. Larry Hogan, the bills must be reconciled and sent to his desk by April 10.

Governor Hogan has introduced a more business-friendly sick leave bill, requiring that businesses with 50 or more employees offer paid leave, with smaller businesses eligible for a tax credit. The legislation is stalled in committee, but the governorês spokeswoman said he favors his own bill and will keep pushing it.

Lobbyists pushed for several amendments that would make the bill more business-friendly, but they mostly failed. One amendment that passed the Senate would exempt seasonal employees who work up to 106 days (rather than the originally proposed 90 days). That would apply to those who work from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Employees who work less than 12 hours a week would be exempt under the Senate bill. The House bill exempts those working less than 8 hours a week. Part-time workers would receive paid leave based on the number of hours they worked.

Business groups said that the bill would be a burden on small businesses, which might not be able to afford to offer paid sick leave and might even have to lay off some workers. Paid sick leave would make Maryland a less business-friendly state, they said.

House Minority Leader Nicholaus Kipke (R-Anne Arundel) said the bill would be –the nail in the coffin” for some small businesses.

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