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Maryland Healthy Working Families Act

Maryland Healthy Working Families Act

The recently enacted Maryland Healthy Working Families Act requires employers in Maryland to provide paid sick and safe leave for certain Baltimore County Public Schools employees who do not currently receive paid leave.

  • The new law extends paid sick and safe leave for all eligible employees, including long-term substitutes, temporary, and contractual workers who regularly work at least 12 hours per week. Eligible employees will accrue one (1) hour for every thirty (30) hours worked within a pay period. For employees who qualify under the new law, a maximum of forty (40) hours per fiscal year can accrue.

    • BCPS, and other school systems in Maryland anticipate guidance from the Office of the Attorney General about the applicability of this law to substitute teachers.    

BCPS is committed to correctly implementing the provisions of the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act. Because of the statute’s complexity and the significant impact it will have on our workforce, new procedures are being developed to record and track the accrual and usage of sick and safe leave. Additional written guidance concerning this new benefit will be provided to all employees when the new procedures are finalized.

Questions may be directed to HRStaffing@bcps.org. or to Maria Lowry, Assistant Superintendent, HR, at x5923.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act?
    The Maryland Healthy Working Families Act (MHWFA) is a new law which guarantees time off work for most full-time, part-time, temporary, and seasonal employees, over the age of 18, who regularly work 12 hours or more per week.
  2. When did the new law take effect?
    The MHWFA became effective on February 11, 2018 which is 30 days after the General Assembly voted to override the veto.   
  3. What is “sick” leave under the Act?
    Sick and safe leave can be used:
    A. to care for or treat the employee's mental or physical illness, injury, or condition;
    B. to obtain preventive medical care for the employee or employee's family member;
    C. to care for a family member with a mental or physical illness, injury, or condition; or
    D. for maternity or paternity leave.
  4. What is “safe” leave under the Act?    
    Sick and safe leave can be used when the absence from work is necessary due to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking committed against the employee or the employee's family member; and the leave is being used:
    A. by the employee to obtain for the employee or the employee's family member:
    i. medical or mental health attention that is related to the domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking;
    ii. services from a victim services organization related to the domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking; or
    iii. legal services or proceedings related to or resulting from the domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking; or

    B. during the time that the employee has temporarily relocated due to the domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.   
  5. Which BCPS employees primarily benefit from the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act?
    The leave earned under the MHWFA will primarily benefit temporary, contractual, or substitute employees who regularly work 12 or more hours per week. Sick and safe leave can only be used by temporary, contractual, or substitute employees on scheduled work days or on days of an offered work assignment.    
  6. When did I begin accruing sick and safe leave?    
    If eligible, an employee began accruing sick and safe leave on February 11, 2018 or on the first day of employment if the employee was hired after that date.
  7. What is the maximum amount of leave that an employee can accrue and carry over?
    An employee is entitled to accrue 40 hours of sick and safe leave in a year regardless of the number of hours worked. An employee is entitled to carry over up to 40 hours of unused sick and safe leave from one year to the next. An employee cannot accrue more than 64 hours of total safe and sick leave at any time.   
  8. When am I entitled to take paid sick and safe leave?    
    For employees who have been employed by BCPS for at least 106 days before February 11, 2018, they may use leave as it is accrued. Employees who are employed less than 106 calendar days prior to February 11, 2018 as well as new employees hired on or after February 11, 2018 must wait 106 calendar days from their date of hire to begin using earned sick and safe leave.
  9. In what increments can an employee use sick and safe leave?    
    BCPS has established that sick and safe leave must be used in minimum increments of no less than one hour.
  10. When do I have to notify BCPS that I am taking sick and safe leave?   
    Employees who need to utilize sick or safe leave must contact the office of the appropriate supervisor or designee as soon as possible but at least one (1) hour prior to the beginning of his or her scheduled shift on each day of absence, stating the necessity for the absence so that time records can be properly maintained and work schedules realigned. This one (1) hour requirement shall be waived in the event of an emergency.
  11. When can BCPS require verification of the use of sick and safe leave?   
    An employer may require verification for use of earned sick and safe leave if the employee:
    1. used sick and safe leave for more than two consecutive scheduled shifts; or
    2. the employee used the leave during the period between the first 107 and 120 calendar days of employment and the employee and employer agreed to the verification at the time of hire.
    If an employee fails or refuses to provide verification as required by an employer, the employer may deny a subsequent request to take earned sick and safe leave for the same reason. The employer may inquire whether it’s for sick time or safe time and, if for sick time, whether it’s for a medical appointment, but may not ask what the medical appointment is for.
  12. How will I know how much sick and safe leave I have accrued?    
    The MHWFA requires that “when wages are paid to an employee, the employer shall provide in writing by any reasonable method a statement regarding the amount of earned sick and safe leave that is available for use by the employee.” BCPS plans on satisfying this requirement by providing both written documentation and access to an online system through which an employee may ascertain the balance of the employee's available earned sick and safe leave.
  13. I have a question that has not been answered in this FAQ. How do I submit a question to BCPS regarding sick and safe leave?    
    Questions can be submitted to the HRStaffing@bcps.org