Maryland To Consider PSL Law Yet Again; Preemption Battle Looms

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has announced that he will propose a PSL law in the legislative session which begins in January. If enacted, Maryland’s will be the eighth state PSL law, joining Arizona, California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Oregon, Vermont and Washington.

Describing it as “common sense” and balanced,” the Governor’s proposal appears to be an effort at compromise. It would require Maryland businesses with 50 or more employees to provide employees up to 40 hours of PSL annually. Tax incentives will encourage smaller employers to provide PSL, according to the Governor’s plan.  The press release from the Governor’s office is here.state-house-annapolis-md

Maryland has considered PSL bills for at least three years. Earlier this year, the Maryland House of Delegates approved a PSL bill that would require employers with 15 or more employees to provide up to 56 hours of PSL annually. That bill did not pass the Maryland Senate.

Maryland’s Montgomery County enacted a PSL law in 2015, which went into effect on October 1, 2016. That law requires all county employers to provide PSL. Those with at least five employees can cap PSL accrual at 56 hours per 12 month period; smaller employers can cap paid sick time at 32 hours and also provide 24 additional unpaid hours.

Whether a Maryland PSL law would preempt s Montgomery County’s law is likely to be the topic of vigorous debate. The Montgomery County Council has already expressed its view that the state law should not preempt the county law, according to one report.

A few states with PSL laws have addressed preemption of local PSL laws inconsistently. Oregon’s law specifically preempts other local PSL law and negated two local PSL ordinances. The Arizona and Washington laws, the two most recent state PSL laws, take the opposite approach. They both allow other governmental entities to enact more generous PSL ordinances.