COVID-19 has certainly not slowed down legislators in Annapolis. Far from sitting idle, the Maryland General Assembly recently passed a broad array of workplace legislation without the governor’s signature. In addition to a significant expansion of Maryland’s Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, three new employment laws are set to take effect on October 1, 2020.
In a move that could impact many Maryland employers, the Maryland General Assembly has made a major change to the state’s version of the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act or its “mini-WARN” law.
There have been several recent and important developments in the on-going COVID-19 pandemic response in the District of Columbia and Maryland that affect employers.
On March 30, 2020, Governor Larry Hogan issued Executive Order No. 20-03-30-01 and the Office of Legal Counsel issued accompanying interpretive guidance. The order, which took effect at 8:00 p.m. EDT on March 30, mandates that Marylanders refrain from traveling outside their residences “except to conduct or participate in Essential Activities.”
Conditions for doing business in Maryland are rapidly changing due to the spread of the novel Coronavirus (and the illness it causes, COVID-19). On March 23, 2020, Governor Larry Hogan issued Order Number 20-03-23-01 mandating the closure of all nonessential businesses effective at 5:00 p.m. on Monday, March 23, 2020. While not going as far a shelter-in-place order, the order banned social gatherings larger than 10 people and Marylanders were urged to avoid going out as much as possible.
In 2020, a number of states’ minimum wage rates will increase. The following chart lists the states’ (and certain major localities’) minimum wage increases for 2020—and future years if available—along with the related changes in the maximum tip credit and minimum cash wage for tipped employees. The federal minimum wage will remain at $7.25 per
A new state law in Maryland now prohibits employers from requiring low-wage employees to enter into noncompete agreements. Maryland Senate Bill 328, which took effect on October 1, 2019, prohibits employers from obligating any employee who earns less than $15.00 per hour or $31,200 per year from entering into an agreement that restricts the employee’s ability to work with a new employer in the same or similar business.
On April 30, 2019, Maryland governor Larry Hogan approved a series of amendments to the Maryland Personal Information Protection Act. The amendments, effective October 1, 2019, impact data breach obligations imposed on businesses that “maintain” computerized data containing personal information.
In 2019, a number of states’ minimum wage rates will increase.
Twenty years ago, on a warm summer day, Hawaii enacted a restriction on employer inquiries into an applicant’s work history until after a conditional offer of employment. Intended to give applicants with criminal histories a fair shot at employment, the law—the first state “ban the box” law—crystalized a movement that, in time, would yield similar restrictions in 12 states and 17 localities (for private employers). The result is a crisscrossing jumble of requirements with little uniformity, putting employers in a difficult position when dealing with applicants (and sometimes even existing employees) in different jurisdictions.
On July 1, 2018, a number of states’ and localities’ minimum wage increases went into effect.
In reaction to a litany of high-profile scandals, Maryland has joined a growing number of states in enacting legislation intended to prevent employers from sheltering perpetrators of sexual harassment.
States such as Illinois, Maryland, and Oregon that have enacted laws requiring health insurers to cover certain male contraception on a first-dollar basis may be creating traps for unwary employers that sponsor high-deductible health plans.
In U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Maryland Insurance Administration, No. 16-2408 (January 5, 2018), the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals addressed the application of the summary judgment standard to a claim brought under the Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA).
On January 12, 2018, the Maryland General Assembly overrode Republican Governor Larry Hogan’s May 25, 2017 veto of legislation requiring Maryland employers to provide sick and safe leave to their employees. By overriding the governor’s veto, the general assembly made Maryland the ninth state to adopt a mandatory sick leave statute. Maryland’s legislation, known as the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act, provides employees with up to 40 hours of sick and safe leave annually.
In 2018, the federal minimum wage will remain at $7.25 per hour for non-tipped employees and $2.13 per hour for tipped employees. The following table summarizes the statewide minimum wage increases that have been announced for 2018, along with the related changes to the maximum tip credit permitted and minimum cash wage allowed for tipped employees.
Montgomery County, Maryland, has approved Bill 28-17, which increases the countywide minimum wage from $11.50 to $15.00. The nine-member Montgomery County Council voted unanimously in support of the bill on November 7, 2017, and County Executive Isiah Leggett signed the measure into law on November 13, 2017.