On May 25, 2017, Governor Larry Hogan vetoed the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act (the “Act”) that had been passed by the Maryland General Assembly. As we previously reported, had the Act been approved by Governor Hogan, it would have required employers with 15 or more employees to provide their employees with 40 hours of paid sick and safe leave annually beginning on January 1, 2018. Smaller employers (those employers with 14 or fewer employees) would have been required to provide their employees with 40 hours of unpaid sick and safe leave annually.
Although Governor Hogan vetoed the Act, he “agree[d] that more workers need paid sick leave in Maryland.” Governor Hogan, however, called the Act “an irresponsible piece of legislation that unfairly penalizes the hundreds of thousands of hard working men and women who own and operate small businesses in our state.” He further noted that the Act is “a complicated, broad, and inflexible proposal.” Instead, the Governor pushed for “a common sense paid sick leave policy that is fair, bipartisan, and balanced.” He advocated for a proposal that balances paid sick leave benefits “without placing a significant burden on job creators.”
Governor Hogan’s veto is not a surprising development, as he had previously threatened to do so. That said, both the Maryland House of Delegates and Senate passed the legislation with enough votes to override such a veto. Although Maryland lawmakers likely will not have the opportunity to override the veto until next year’s legislative session, House Speaker Michael E. Busch said that a veto override will be a priority for the General Assembly in January.
We will continue to track the status of paid sick leave in Maryland.