Skip to Page Content

Legislative News

    Legislative News

    Maryland Legislation – Visit our News Page for Related Information and Updates

    2019

    Maryland General Assembly Legislative Update

    HB 166/SB280 - Minimum Wage

    Effective 6/1/19. Increases the state minimum wage rate for employers with 15 or more employees; full phase in of $15.00/hour by January 1, 2025.  For employers with 14 or fewer employees; full phase-in by July 1, 2026. The bill does not change the tip credit nor does it tie future increases to inflation.  The bill does allow business to pay younger workers (those less than 18 years of age) and agricultural workers less than minimum wage.  Also the law does no preempt local jurisdictions minimum wage.

    HB 994/SB839 - Criminal Record Screening/ “Ban the Box”

    Effective 1/20/20. The bill prohibits an employer with 15 or more full time employees from requiring the applicant to disclose whether the applicant has a criminal record or has had criminal accusations brought against the applicant before the first interview. The bill does not apply to an employer that is expressly authorized to do so by federal or state laws or if the employer provides programs services or direct care to minors or vulnerable adults. This bill does not preempt local jurisdictions who enact or enforce a more restrictive criminal record screening law.

    HB 22 - Use of Criminal History 

    Effective 10/1/19.  Certain departments of the State cannot deny an occupational license or certification of an applicant solely based on the applicant being previously convicted of a crime if the period of 7 years or more have passed since the applicant’s conviction and the applicant has not been charged with another crime other than a traffic violation.  The bill does not apply to a conviction of a crime of violence or crime where individual is registered sex offender. 

    HB1167 - Apprenticeship Career Program for incarcerated persons

    Effective 10/1/19.  This bill establishes an apprenticeship program for formerly incarcerated individuals that is administered by the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulations.  Grants a maximum of $1000.00 for each qualified apprentice to employers in the building or construction industry who hire formerly incarcerated persons.

    HB 679 – Workplace Harassment/Discrimination

    Effective 10/1/19.  Adds “ancestry” to protected classes in Maryland; Broadens the definition of “employer” for purposes of employment discrimination on the basis of harassment to include a person that is engaged in an industry or business and has one or more employees; Broadens the definition of an “employee” to include independent contractors.

    Employers are specifically prohibited from engaging in harassment of an employee. In cases of harassment, an employer is liable if its negligence led to the harassment or its continuation. The employer is also liable for the actions of an individual who:

    • Undertakes or recommends tangible employment actions, including hiring, firing, promoting, demoting, and reassigning; or
    • Directs, supervises or evaluates the work of the employee.

    Time period for filing a complaint of harassment with a local human relations commission (such as the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights or a county Office of Human Rights) is expanded from six months to two years.  The time period for filing a lawsuit alleging harassment in violation of the State antidiscrimination law is expanded from two years to three years.

    HB1116/SB911 - Gender Diversity in the Boardroom

    Effective 10/1/19.  This bill requires tax-exempt domestic non-stock corporations or domestic stock corporations with a budget exceeding $5 million to report the number of female board members and total number of directors when filing a personal property report with SDAT.  This bill will be in effect for 10 years until 9/30/2029.

    HB790 - Civil Penalties for Equal Pay Violations

    Effective 10/1/19.  Penalties for violations of the Equal Pay for Equal Work law increased. If an employer is found to have violated the law two or more times within a three-year period, either the Commissioner of Labor and Industry or a court may assess a civil penalty equal to 10% of the damages owed by the employer, to be paid into the General Fund of the State.

    HB127/SB36 - Health Insurance/Special enrollment period for Pregnancy 

    Effective 7/1/19.  This bill provides for a special enrollment period for eligible employees or the eligible employee’s spouse or dependents who becomes pregnant may enroll in a health benefit plan during a 90 duration period that begins the month pregnancy is confirmed by a medical provider/health care practitioner.

    HB 1284 Unpaid Organ Donor Leave

    Effective 10/1/19.  This bill requires an employer with 15 or more employees to provide all eligible employees with unpaid organ donor leave up to 60 days and bone marrow donor leave of up to 30 days.  Eligible employees are those employees who have worked for employer for 1 year and 1,250 hours. Employer can require employee to provide written verification by a physician and show medical necessity. Employer cannot retaliate or discriminate against employee who takes this leave and leave can run concurrently with FMLA

    SB328 – Noncompte and Conflict of Interest Clauses

    Effective 10/1/19. This bill applies  provides that a noncompete clause or conflict of interest clause in an employment contract or similar document where employee earns $15.00/hour or $31,200 annually will be null and void as being against the public policy of the State.  This prohibition applies regardless of whether or not the agreement was entered into in the State. Such prohibitions do not apply to a contract protecting client list or company proprietary information.

    If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Cheryl Brown, MDSHRM Governmental Affairs, cbrown@darslaw.com