A measure to enforce Maryland employers to provide sick leave to workers won approval in a key Senate committee and the full House of Delegates (88-51) Friday. The full Senate will consider a slightly different version of the bill this week.
Under the measure, full-time employees working for companies with 15 employees would be allowed to earn a minimum of seven days or 56 hours of paid sick time annually. Part-time employees would be allowed to earn sick time based on the hours they work. Full-time employees working for smaller companies would be allotted 56 hours or seven days of unpaid sick time.
“I think that we’ll be able to look at the changes that have been made and move forward thoughtfully with plenty of time,” said Del. Luke Clippinger, a Baltimore Democrat who is a lead sponsor of the bill. “I think there’s a certain will to pass the bill on both sides of the hall and I feel very good.”
Minors who work less than eight hours weekly or employed for fewer than 90 days would be exempt from these regulations.
The Senate’s bill is slightly different, requiring full-time workers to earn a minimum of 48 hours of sick time or six days each year. Instead of exempting employees who work fewer than 90 days, the Senate’s bill would extend the stretch to 106 days. An allowance for companies hire seasonal workers from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
For the bill to become law, each chamber will have to pass the same version of the bill by April 10, the end of the General Assembly session. A sick leave bill won approval in the House of Delegates last year, but the measure stalled in the same Senate committee.
The Working Matters Coalition released a statement saying, “With this critical vote, Maryland families are now closer than ever to making earned paid sick days a reality.” The organization has been lobbying for the bill, while lobbyists for several business groups tried to convince the Senate committee to adopt changes to the bill to ease the employer requirements. Over the course of last week, the committee spent eight hours considering changes to the bill.
Some of the committee members are consider that the bill is not “business-friendly” and afraid that the bill will lead to more job losses. They also say that it could deter further investment in the state.