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Hogan promises to veto paid sick leave bill

Rachel Baye

The state Senate is expected to vote by the end of the week on a bill requiring businesses to offer employees paid sick leave. But Gov. Larry Hogan promises to veto the bill in its current form.

The Senate gave initial approval Wednesday to a bill that requires businesses with at least 15 employees to give full-time workers at least five paid days off a year. Smaller businesses must offer equivalent unpaid leave.

“I heard yesterday of a tech employee at a thriving doctor’s office. She receives two days of sick leave after five and a half years of employment,” Sen. Paul Pinsky, a Prince George’s County Democrat, said on the Senate floor Wednesday. “And there are 65 or 70 or 75,000 other people like her.”

The Senate could hold a final vote as early as Thursday, and it is expected no later than the end of the week.

Earlier this month, the House passed a more expansive version. That bill requires seven sick days a year for full-time workers.

Another major difference involves how soon workers can use their sick leave after starting work. The House says after 90 days on the job, while the Senate says after 106 days.

But Hogan said Wednesday that he doesn’t approve of either version.

“If either of these job-killing bills reaches my desk, they are dead on arrival,” he said at a press conference. “I will veto them immediately.”

Hogan’s version of the concept is stuck in committee. It requires businesses with at least 50 employees to offer five paid days off a year, and it offers tax credits to smaller businesses if they offer paid leave.

Hogan said those tax incentives mean employees at businesses smaller than the legislature’s 15-employee cap would benefit.

“If people took advantage of the tax incentives, then offered paid sick leave to their employees, which we are trying to encourage them to do, our bill covers far more people,” he said.

The House approved sick leave by a veto-proof majority. The Senate needs 29 votes to do the same.

Rachel Baye is a senior reporter and editor in WYPR's newsroom. @RachelBaye
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