In a resounding victory for Maryland’s working families, the House of Delegates and Senate voted to override Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of the Healthy Working Families Act, making it the law of the state.
As a result, workers at Maryland employers with 15 or more employees will earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to five full days per year. Workers will begin accruing sick leave on Sunday, February 11, once the new law takes effect 30 days after the veto override vote.
“This is a huge win for Local 400 and all Maryland working families,” said Local 400 President Mark P. Federici. “No one should have to choose between a paycheck and their health or the well-being of a family member. Thanks to every state senator and delegate who voted to override the governor’s misguided veto, paid leave is now a right in Maryland.
“Local 400 members and activists—including five who lobbied full-time—deserve the lion’s share of credit for this great advance in workers’ rights, along with our allies in the Working Matters coalition.” Federici said. “This shows the power of collective action to make a profound difference in the lives of hardworking Marylanders.”
The House voted to override the veto by an 88-52 margin on January 11th and the Senate voted 30-17 the following day. The Healthy Working Families Act had been passed by the General Assembly in the 2017 legislative session, but Hogan vetoed the bill after the legislative session ended last year. The override votes were among the very first acts of the 2018 legislative session.
In addition to guaranteeing paid time and providing greater income stability for Maryland workers, the new law will:
- Enable the thousands of working Marylanders who are underemployed and piecing together part-time jobs to receive earned sick days.
- Allow victims of domestic violence or abuse to earn “safe time” in order to obtain medical attention, victims services, counseling, relocation or legal services that will keep their families safe.
- Support healthy workplace policies for Maryland businesses and enable employers with existing earned sick leave standards to maintain those policies as long as they comply with the minimum regulations of the law.
The Next Battle: $15 Minimum Wage
The next big battle for Local 400, the Maryland labor movement and our community allies is to pass a $15/hour statewide minimum wage bill in this current legislative session. As with paid leave, Montgomery County and Washington, D.C. have passed $15/hour minimum wage laws, and the goal is to extend this needed rise in living standards to all Marylanders.
“We’ve seen in recent negotiations how higher minimum wage laws have helped us gain contracts with needed pay increases,” Federici said. “Putting the entire state of Maryland on a path to a $15/hour minimum wage will further increase our power at the bargaining table in future negotiations.
“In a high-cost state like Maryland, an hourly wage below $15 just isn’t good enough,” he added. “Anyone who works full-time should be able to earn a living you can raise a family on. That’s why I urge our Maryland members to contact their state delegates and senators and demand that they pass a $15 statewide minimum wage this year.”
To contact your Maryland state legislators, please call the General Assembly’s toll-free number at (800) 492-7122.