The Maryland Healthy Working Families Act (“MHWFA”) provides unpaid or paid sick leave for certain employees, depending on employer size and type of employee. Employers with 15 or more employees must provide paid sick leave once accrued. Employers with less than 15 employees are only required to provide unpaid sick leave once accrued. If you’ve been working for a business for more than 106 days, you will likely have accrued at least some sick leave under the MHWFA. However, businesses are not required to allow employees to use more than 8 days of sick leave per year; also, they are not required to allow their employees to use sick leave for school closures or quarantine. For additional FAQs about the MHWFA, visit our Maryland sick leave FAQs in the “Resources” area below (and here in Spanish). See more information on the MHWFA here. Montgomery County also has a sick leave law; view a fact sheet on their local law here.
The FFCRA took effect April 1, 2020, and mandated that certain employers allow eligible employees to take paid leave due to COVID-19 under specified circumstances. The FFCRA expired on December 31, 2020, but to learn more about your possible coverage – and whether you should have been paid sick leave under the law before December 31, 2020 – read here.
Unfortunately, the new American Rescue Plan does not require employers to provide paid sick leave like the FFCRA did, but it does encourage them to continue to offer COVID paid leave. The American Rescue Plan provides tax credits to cover the cost of allowing certain COVID-19-related leave until September 30, 2021. Private employers with fewer than 500 employees, self-employed workers, and state and local governments can get this tax credit. So, if you work for an eligible employer and you have a COVID-19-related need for leave (see below), let your employer know about the available tax credit under the American Rescue Plan and ask if you can take paid leave.
It changes the paid leave originally provided in the FFCRA, among other things. Under the FFCRA, emergency paid sick leave was mandatory for COVID-19-related reasons, it is now optional under the American Rescue Plan.
COVID-19-related leave may be available for the following reasons:
An employee taking leave for the first two reasons above should receive their regular rate of pay or minimum wage (up to $511 per day for reasons 1-3 above), but an employee taking leave to care for another will be paid 2/3 of their usual rate of pay.
Up to 10 days.
The best way to find out is to ask if they are an eligible employer and are continuing to offer paid leave for COVID-19.