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Paid Sick Leave Delay Gets Initial Approval in MD Senate

Rachel Baye

The state Senate gave initial approval on Wednesday to a bill delaying a new law that requires businesses to offer paid sick leave. The legislation pushes the law’s start date from Feb. 11 to July 1.

Businesses were originally supposed to begin offering sick leave this past January, about nine months after the law passed. But just after the 2017 legislative session ended, Gov. Larry Hogan vetoed the bill, and last month, the legislature overrode the veto.

Sen. Mac Middleton proposed the delay to give businesses and government enforcers of the law time to adjust.

“Come next week, there’s going to be utter confusion — utter confusion — not only with the employers, local government, not-for-profits, but the employees themselves,” said Middleton, chairman of the Finance Committee, which considered both the original paid leave law and the new delay.

The bill faces long odds in the House. It’s unclear if it will make it to the floor for a vote, and if it does, it could be amended.

Middleton said the Senate would likely pass whatever version of the bill the House sends back. But there’s also a ticking clock. All of this would need to happen before the sick leave law takes effect on Sunday.

A final vote in the Senate is expected no later than Friday.

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