Montgomery County’s Paid Sick Leave Law

Montgomery County’s (MD) paid sick leave law, which went into effect on October 1, will allow employees to take time off from work to address their health or a family member’s illness without losing a paycheck.

This document is intended to answer questions small employers in Montgomery County might have about the new paid sick leave law.

What is Montgomery County’s paid sick leave law?

  • The county’s paid sick leave law was established in 2015 by the Earned Sick and Safe Leave Act, and provides that beginning October 1, 2016, employees in Montgomery County will earn at least one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to a capped amount. Sick time is paid at the employee’s current rate of pay. Tipped employees must be paid at least the county minimum wage for each hour of paid sick leave.

How does paid sick leave work?

  • Workers at businesses with five or more employees will earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked; this amount is capped at seven days (56 hours) per year. 
  • Workers at businesses with fewer than five employees will earn leave at the same rate, but up to four days of paid sick leave and three days of unpaid sick leave.
  • Employees may use paid sick leave to care for themselves or a sick family member. Additionally, employees can use leave for themselves or family members who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking to obtain medical attention and victims services.
  • Employees who are laid off will have their previously accumulated time reinstated if they are rehired within nine months.
  • If an employee uses more than three consecutive days of paid sick leave, an employer may request documentation to verify the leave was used properly. 

What if a business already offers paid leave to its employees?

  • As long as an employer has a paid leave policy or paid time off policy that meets the law’s leave time requirements, and allows that time to be used for the same purposes, the employer is not required to provide any additional leave.

What are an employer’s obligations under the paid sick leave law?

  • Employers must notify their employees of their rights to paid leave, either through a posted notice or written guidance distributed to all employees.
  • Employers are only required to allow their employees to accrue leave for work they do in Montgomery County.  
  • Employers may award earned sick leave as the leave accrues during the calendar year or may award the full amount that an employee would earn over the entire calendar at the beginning of the year. 
  • Employers who grant the full amount of paid sick leave at the beginning of the calendar year are not required to allow their employees to carry over unused paid sick leave into the next calendar year. For those employees who do qualify for carryover, employers are not obligated to allow employees to use more than 10 days (80 hours) of paid sick leave in one year.
  • If employers have an initial 90-day probationary period for employees, they must allow employees to accrue paid sick leave during that time, but they are not required to allow employees to use their accrued paid sick leave during their probationary period.
  • Employers must keep records of how much earned sick leave is accrued and used by each employee for at least three years. 

Where can I get additional information about Montgomery County’s paid sick leave law?

  • Small Business Majority will be holding educational events where our policy experts can help answer your questions about paid sick leave. To learn more about these events and other key issues impacting Maryland businesses, look for updates on the Maryland events page of our website.