BALTIMORE – Today, the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation issued a series of answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) to help employers comply with the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act, or House Bill 1 (HB1). The FAQs are the result of the more than 1,200 e-mails sent to the Office of Small Business Regulatory Assistance, and serve as the beginning of a public dialogue about the new law.
“Despite HB1’s prescriptive and confusing nature, the Department of Labor is hard at work ensuring that businesses receive the guidance they need to comply with the law and provide paid leave benefits for their employees,” said Labor Secretary Kelly M. Schulz. “We are committed to working with our job creators, workers, and all stakeholders through an open and transparent process to make this transition period as smooth as possible.”
Immediately following HB1 becoming law, the Department of Labor began the process of reaching out to businesses and other stakeholders impacted by the law to determine their specific questions and concerns regarding implementation of and compliance with the new law. Prior to the law going into effect on February 11, the department also provided initial guidance to alleviate any immediate concerns.
“The department continues to address the immediate needs of small businesses,” said Schulz. “Today’s frequently asked questions (FAQ) document is the latest resource we have to help employers through the transition to the new timekeeping requirements.”
The statute as written leaves much up to interpretation, which has resulted in a certain level of confusion for employers and employees seeking to comply with the law. The FAQs advise on the Department of Labor’s interpretation of the law and how the agency will begin to enforce compliance.
“These frequently asked questions are the catalyst for public dialogue,” Schulz said. “The feedback we receive will shape internal policies, which may then move to regulatory action.”
The department sent today’s FAQs to more than 200,000 stakeholders, composed of parties who provided contact information to the Committee on Paid Leave in 2017, subscribers to DLLR’s mailing lists, contacts who have directly contacted the Office of Small Business Regulatory Assistance, local chambers of commerce and business organizations, and members of the General Assembly. The FAQs are also publicly available on the DLLR website.
Though the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act was passed early in the legislative session, written legislation is subject to change until the end of session in April. Because of this unpredictability, exact model policy cannot be drafted or finalized in advance.
Many gaps exist in the legislation, which do not address the needs of different industries and business types. Commonly asked questions stemming from a public comment period will highlight patterns of concern, which could result in regulations to address specific problem areas. Some patterns have already emerged through the questions sent to the Office of Small Business Regulatory Assistance.
The Office of Small Business Regulatory Assistance was established by Executive Order 01.01.2018.04 to assist small businesses in complying with the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act. Employers or employees who have specific questions about how the law affects them may contact the office at [email protected].
The Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR) is committed to safeguarding and protecting Marylanders. We’re proud to support the economic stability of the state by providing businesses, the workforce, and the consuming public with high-quality, customer-focused regulatory, employment, and training services. For updates and information, follow DLLR on Twitter (@MD_DLLR), Facebook and visit our website.