Maryland Employment Law Update – May 2018

Maryland

Sexual Harassment Prevention Training for State Personnel

On May 15, 2018, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan signed legislation (H.B. 1423) requiring all state employees complete at least two cumulative hours of interactive training on sexual harassment prevention. The training may be completed either in-person or virtually, within six months of hire, and every two years thereafter. The also law outlines specific training requirements.

The law is effective October 1, 2018.

Read MD H.B. 1423

Disclosing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Act

On May 15, 2018, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan signed legislation (H.B. 1596) nullifying any provision in an employment contract, policy, or agreement that waives any substantive or procedural right or remedy to a future claim of either sexual harassment or retaliation for reporting or asserting a right or remedy based on sexual harassment. The law also:

  • Prohibits an employer from taking adverse actions against an employee who fails or refuses to enter into an agreement that contains such a void waiver.
  • Makes an employer who enforces or attempts to enforce such a void waiver liable for an employee’s reasonable attorney’s fees and costs.
  • Requires employers with 50 or more employees to submit a survey to the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights that provides specific details about sexual harassment in the workplace.

The law is effective October 1, 2018.

Read MD H.B. 1596

Health Insurance

On May 15, 2018, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan signed legislation (S.B. 54) generally relating to health insurance and conformity with federal law. The legislation also corrects inaccurate cross-references regarding accountable care organizations, incentive-based compensation, and the renewal of health benefit plans, and makes the following amendments:

  • Modifies the terms of a triggering event for which carriers are required to provide an open enrollment period.
  • Defines a small employer under the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange as an employer that, during the preceding calendar year, employed an average of no more than 50 employees.

The law is effective October 1, 2018.

Read MD S.B. 54

Small Business Relief Tax Credit

On May 15, 2018, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan signed the Small Business Relief Tax Credit law (S.B. 134) authorizing a tax credit against the state income tax for small businesses that provide employer benefits to qualified employees. The law also provides for the calculation of the credit and makes the credit refundable.

The law is effective July 1, 2018.

Read MD S.B. 134

State Employees and Parental Leave

On May 15, 2018, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan signed legislation (S.B. 859) granting all employees in the executive branch of state government an entitlement to parental leave with pay. The law specifies all of the following:

  • An employee who is the primary caregiver of a child may use up to 60 days of parental leave to care for the child immediately following his or her birth or adoption (where the child is under age six).
  • Employees entitled to parental leave may also use available accrued annual leave and personal leave and must be provided with additional paid leave to attain the 60 days of parental leave if the amount of annual and personal leave was less than 60 days.
  • Employees may only use parental leave after obtaining approval from their appointing authority.
  • An employee who uses parental leave may not receive compensation until providing his or her immediate supervisor with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) required information following birth of a child or FMLA certificate for adoption, as applicable.

The law is effective October 1, 2018.

Read MD S.B. 859

Rights and Protections for State Personnel Who are Nursing Mothers

On April 24, 2018, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan signed legislation (H.B. 306) requiring the state to provide a reasonable, unpaid break time for state employees to express breast milk for a nursing child as follows:

  • After the child’s birth and each time the employee needs to express her milk.
  • Upon notice, the state must provide a specific location that is not a bathroom, where the employee may express breast milk while she is shielded from view. The location must also be separate from coworkers and the public.

The law is effective October 1, 2018.

Read MD H.B. 306