Prince George’s County, MD Passes Earned Sick and Safe Leave Ordinance

By Kelsey Basten

Published on January 16, 2018

As of Dec. 12, 2017, Prince George’s County, MD passed an Earned Sick and Safe Leave law. It is scheduled to go into effect on May 24, 2018.

The law mandates covered employees be allowed to accrue and use paid leave for absence connected to domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking. The main requirements are:

  • Employers operating and doing business in Prince George’s County
  • With more than 15 employees in the county
  • Employees will accrue at least one hour of leave for every 30 hours worked in the county.
  • Employers can cap the accrual at 40 hours per calendar year
  • Employees may carry-over up to 40 hours of unused earned leave at year-end into the next year

There is a notice requirement, which means employers must notify employees that they are entitled to leave under the law. The notice must include:

  • A statement of how leave is accrued;
  • The permitted uses of the leave;
  • A statement that the employer cannot retaliate against an employee for exercising rights under this law; and
  • Information about the right for an employee to file a complaint for a violation of the law with the Human Relations Commission.

Employees may use this sick and safe leave under the following circumstances from domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking against the employee or the employee’s family member:

  • Receiving medical attention to recover from physical or psychological injury
  • Finding assistance from a victim services organization
  • Obtaining legal services, including preparation or participation in a civil or criminal proceeding
  • Relocation

If an employee uses three or more consecutive days of paid sick and safe leave, the employer may ask for documentation to verify the leave was used appropriately.  However, the documentation may not require an employee to disclose information that would violate HIPAA. Employers also cannot require employees to disclosed details of the mental illness, injury or condition of the family member when requesting leave.

Employers may notify employees by using a to-be-developed model county notice or another notice that contains the same information. Employers may conspicuously display the notice at work locations in the county, include the notice in an employee handbook or in other written guidance distributed to employees, or distribute the notice to each employee at the time of hire.

Additionally, each time wages are paid, employers must provide employees with a written statement of their available leave.

Last, employers must keep a record of leave accrued and used by each employee for at least three years.

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