Earned Sick and Safe Leave
Thanks to a new law, most Maryland workers are now able to earn time off to go to the doctor or care for a loved one—without fear of losing their pay, or even their jobs.
More than 770,000 Marylanders care for a parent, spouse or other loved one while also juggling full-or part-time jobs.
That is why AARP Maryland fought for passage of a new state law called the Healthy Working Families Act, which provides family caregivers—as well as many other Maryland workers—with access to earned sick and safe leave.
Here are five things you should know about the Healthy Working Families Act earned sick and safe leave program:
1) What is earned sick and safe leave?
Earned sick and safe leave allows workers to take time off to care for a loved one without worrying about whether they will lose their jobs. The Maryland Healthy Working Families Act requires employers with 15 or more employees to provide paid sick and safe leave and for those with 14 or fewer employees to provide unpaid leave.
Earned sick and safe leave begins to accrue on the first day of employment for new workers, or on February 11, 2018 for those employed at the time. The leave is earned at a rate of least one hour for every 30 hours the employee works, up to 40 hours in a year or 64 hours maximum.
2) When can I use earned sick and safe leave?
Under the new law, earned sick and safe leave can be used:
- To care for or treat the employee’s mental or physical illness, injury, or condition;
- To obtain preventative medical care for the employee or the employee’s family member;
- To care for a family member with a mental or physical illness, injury, or condition;
- For maternity or paternity leave; or
- If leave is necessary due to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking committed against the employee or the employee’s family member and the leave is being used: (1) to obtain medical or mental health attention; (2) to obtain services from a victim services organization; (3) for legal services or proceedings; or (4) because the employee has temporarily relocated as a result of the domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
Employees may use their leave in increments established by their employer, and are required to give notice when it is foreseeable. An employer may also deny leave in certain circumstances.
3) Besides myself, which family members may I take leave for?
An eligible family member includes a spouse, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, or sibling.
4) How can I find more details about the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act, and how earned sick and safe leave works?
The Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation has a wealth of information for both employees and employers, including a list of Frequently Asked Questions, workplace posters and instructions for filing complaints under the Act.
5) Where can I get more information about family caregiving?
Prepare to Care: A Resource Guide for Families was developed by AARP to help make the job more manageable. It includes information on how to have vital conversations with older family members, organize important documents, assess your loved one’s needs and locate important resources.