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When Are Employees Eligible to Receive Paid Sick Leave?

Posted on behalf of Peter T. Nicholl in Unpaid Overtime Nov 12, 2020

an employee accruing paid sick leave Generally, employers have the right to choose whether they want to offer their employees paid time off, such as sick leave. However, in the state of Maryland, certain employers are required to provide paid sick leave and employees must work a specific number of hours in order to qualify for these benefits.

Our legal team at the Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl is prepared to offer assistance if you believe your rights as an employee have been violated under state or federal law. We have helped many clients with wage and hour violations, breach of contract agreements, wrongful terminations and more. An initial consultation is completely free and confidential and there are no upfront costs to use our services. 

Paid Sick Leave Policies in Maryland

In Maryland, employers with 15 or more employees must offer paid sick leave. Employers with 14 employees or less must offer unpaid sick leave. This is in accordance with the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act.

To determine whether an employer is required to provide sick leave benefits, the employer must calculate the average monthly number of all employees during the immediately preceding calendar year. This includes full-time, part-time, temporary and seasonal employees.

This Act provides paid sick leave to employees who work 12 hours or more per week. An employee is eligible to earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. An employer can set a maximum accrual limit of 40 hours per year or limit an employee’s total accrued time to 64 hours.

Accruals for new employees start on the first day of employment. In order to use paid sick leave, a new employee must wait until he or she has been employed at least 106 days. For employees who have been employed for more than 106 days, they may use sick leave as it is accrued.

Maryland employees can also use paid sick leave for themselves or a family member, such as a spouse, child, parent, grandparent or sibling to:

  • Care or treat a mental or physical illness, injury or condition
  • Obtain preventative medical care
  • Give birth or take care of a child after birth or adoption
  • Deal with domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking

Is Paid Sick Leave Required Under Federal Law?

Federal law does not require paid sick leave. If an employee leaves their job before using all of his or her sick leave, the employer does not have to pay for that accrued time.

Some businesses/employers may be subjected to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), a federal law which requires unpaid sick leave. The FLMA provides eligible employees up to 12 workweeks of unpaid leave per year for certain medical situations for themselves or an immediate family member.

The FMLA applies to all public state agencies, including local, state and government employees as well as private sector companies who have 50 or more employees for no less than 20 workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year.

Employees are eligible to take FMLA leave after working for their employer for at least 12 months and working for at 1,250 hours in the previous 12 months.  

It is important to note that the law allows an employee to choose whether to use accrued paid sick leave for some or all of the FMLA leave period. In other words, paid leave may be substituted for unpaid FMLA leave. The law also allows an employer to require an employee to substitute paid leave.

How Paid Sick Leave Has Been Impacted Since COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has had devastating implications for workers, especially those earning low wages, and their loved ones. Low-wage workers are the least likely to afford taking unpaid leave and the least likely to have access to any paid sick leave.

In response to the current health crisis, the Families First Coronavirus Reponse Act (FFCRA) was passed by Congress requiring paid sick leave for the coronavirus pandemic. This provision is effective until December 31, 2020. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division is responsible for administering and enforcing the new paid leave requirements.

Those covered include certain public employers and private employers with less than 500 employees. Employees of covered employers may be eligible for two weeks or up to 80 hours of paid sick leave at the employees regular rate of pay if unable to work due to COVID-19.

Reach Out For More Information Today

Unfortunately, many employers often do not follow the laws regarding sick leave. An employer may refuse to compensate an employee for sick leave, even when the employee has accrued the time. When this happens, you need an experienced Maryland employment lawyer who will fight for your rights.

Our firm is here to answer any questions you may have regarding sick leave violations during a free, no-obligation legal consultation. It is during this initial meeting that we may be able to determine if you have a valid claim. You may be eligible to receive financial compensation.

Contact our personal injury lawyers for a free consultation if you have been injured by another’s negligence. You may be entitled to compensation.

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