Montgomery County recently passed a new law regarding “earned sick and safe leave” effective October 1, 2016.
The theme of the new law is “broad.” That is, because most of its terms are defined very broadly.
For example, the new law defines an Employer as:
Any person, individual, proprietorship, partnership, joint venture, corporation, limited liability company, trust, association, or other entity operating and doing business in the County that employs 1 or more persons in the County in addition to the owners. Employer includes the County government, but does not include the United States, any State, or any other local government.
A “Family member” means:
A biological child, adopted child, foster child, or stepchild of the employee; a child for whom the employee has legal or physical custody or guardianship; a child for whom the employee is the primary caregiver; a biological parent, adoptive parent, foster parent, or stepparent of the employee or the employee’s spouse; the legal guardian of the employee; an individual who served as the primary caregiver of the employee when the employee was a minor; the spouse of the employee; grandparent of the employee; the spouse of a grandparent of the employee; a grandchild of the employee; a biological, adopted, or foster sibling of the employee; or the spouse of a biological, adopted, or foster sibling of the employee.
Regarding the substantive item in the law, the new law states, “An employer must provide each employee earned sick and safe leave for work performed in the County paid at the same rate and with the same benefits as the employee normally earns.”
It should be noted that tipped employees must be paid at least the County minimum wage for each hour the employee uses earned sick and safe leave.
An employer with fewer than 5 employees must provide each employee with both paid and unpaid sick and safe leave for work performed in the County. An employee must accrue paid leave before accruing unpaid leave in a calendar year.
The law provides for different “rates of accrual” depending on how many employees are employed by the Employer, and also provides options for how Employers can issue the leave.
Predictably, the law states that retaliation is prohibited.
Finally, the use of the leave is also defined broadly:
“Earned sick and safe leave means paid leave away from work that is provided by an employer and can be used for the following purposes:
(1) to care for or treat the employee’s mental or physical illness, injury, or condition;
(2) to obtain preventive medical care for the employee or the employee’s family member;
(3) to care for a family member with a mental or physical illness, injury, or condition;
(4) if the employer’s place of business has closed by order of a public official due to a public health emergency;
(5) if the school or child care center for the employee’s family member is closed by order of a public official due to a public health emergency;
(6) to care for a family member if a health official or health care provider has determined that the family member’s presence in the community would jeopardize the health of others because of the family member’s exposure to a communicable disease; or
(7) if the absence from work is due to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking committed against the employee or the employee’s family member and the leave is used:
(A) by the employee to obtain for the employee or the employee’s family;
(i) medical attention needed to recover from a physical or psychological injury due to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking;
(ii) services from a victim services organization related to the domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking;
(iii) legal services, including preparing for or participating in a civil or criminal proceeding related to 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.”
Contact the employment attorneys at Luchansky Millman to ensure you are in compliance with this new law.