Articles & Publications

Employment Tips for Maryland Businesses—The Availability of Sick Leave

Posted December 23, 2013 by Jamie Kent Hamelburg in Articles & Publications, Business Publications

Even though sick leave is a customary benefit, no law requires Maryland businesses to offer sick leave -- paid or unpaid--to their employees. However, employers that do in fact offer paid sick leave (or any other form of paid leave) have certain obligations under Maryland law. [We intend to address the law in Virginia and Maryland in a forthcoming blog.]

The Maryland Flexible Leave Act (the "MFLA," which was enacted in 2008 and clarified in 2009) entitles employees who have any type of accrued leave (for example, vacation, sick, paid time off, personal days or compensatory overtime), to use the leave to take time off to care for any member of their immediate family who is ill. Note that this law applies only to employers with 15 or more employees. Also note that this law does not require employers to offer sick leave. However, if a covered employer offers any type of leave, then it must allow its employees to use that leave to care for members of their immediate family. "Immediate family members" includes a child, parent or spouse.

If an employee has more than one type of paid leave, the employee has the right to elect the type and amount of accrued and unused leave. And employers may not discharge or in any way discriminate against an employee for taking leave authorized by the MFLA

The "take-away" for employers is that the general rule in Maryland is that neither sick leave nor any other type of "leave" is a mandatory benefit, but if it is offered, then employers must follow the guidelines set forth in the MFLA.