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Last updated on: December 28th, 2023

Hours & Pay Regulations

Normal Working Hours

An employee shall not work in excess of 40 hours weekly (excluding Overtime). 


“Hours of work” means the time during a workweek that an individual employed by an employer is required by the employer to be on the employer’s premises, on duty, or at a prescribed workplace.


The Fair Labor Standards Act defines the workweek as a fixed and recurring period of 168 hours comprised of seven consecutive 24-hour periods that do not need to coincide with the calendar week. It is adjustable only if the change is designed to be permanent. Each week is considered on its own for purposes of calculating overtime. The hours of two or more weeks may not be averaged.


In the absence of an employment contract, agreement, or policy that states otherwise, an employer may shorten or lengthen an employee’s work hours, or change the shift or times for employment, at any time at the employer’s discretion.


Training and Meeting Time- An employee must be paid for training time and meetings whether held during regular work hours or not if attendance at a training or meeting is required and not “voluntary”.


Training and meetings are not “voluntary” if it is generally known, or the employee reasonably believes, that non-attendance will result in some negative effect on employment.


Time Spent Travelling– Time spent traveling or “commuting” to work is non-compensable (not payable). This is true, even where an employee must drive a long distance. Once reporting to work (such as to the employer’s shop or office, or any other place an employer requires an employee to report), the employee must then be paid for the time necessary to travel to a work site or to accomplish some other mission the employer assigns. Minimum wage law requires employers to pay an employee for travel time when:

      • the travel is during regular work hours;
      • the travel is from one worksite to another; or
      • the employee is called out after work hours in emergency situations.

        On-Call Time – An employer is required to pay an employee for on-call time if they are required to remain at the employer’s premises or other designated workplace.


Time Recording Requirements – Each employer shall keep for at least 3 years at the place of employment following records:

      • name, address, race;
      • gender and occupation of each employee;
      • the rate of pay for each employee;
      • the amount that is paid each pay period to each employee;
      • the hours that each employee works each day and workweek.


Any work performed beyond 40 hours in a week is considered overtime work.


Pay – An employee is entitled to premium pay at the rate of 1.5 times their regular rate for all hours worked excess in a workweek.


Unless the worker is under 18 years old or is an employee who works in certain retail establishments, there is no law requiring an employer to provide breaks, including lunch breaks. Minors under 18 must receive a 30-minute break for every 5 hours of work. An employer who chooses to provide a break, however, does not have to pay wages for lunch periods or other breaks in excess of 20 minutes where the employee is free to leave the work site (or workstation if leaving the workplace is physically impractical), in fact takes their lunch or break (whether freely choosing to leave or remain at the work site), and the employee does not actually perform work.


If employees are told their pay will be reduced each day by a one-half hour for lunch, and they are not free to take this lunch period without an expectation or reasonable understanding that they must work or be on hand to work, they must be paid for the time. A “reasonable understanding” that they must work or be on hand to work is a condition in which it is generally known, or the employee reasonably believes, that failure to perform work (or be available “on-hand” to perform work) during their break, will result in some negative effect on employment.


A covered employer is an employer who is engaged in a retail business or retail franchise with the same trade name with 50 or more retail employees for each working day in the last 20 or more calendar weeks. In addition to satisfying the requisite number of employees and length of time worked, a covered employer is an employer who has a retail establishment whose primary purpose is to sell goods to a consumer with the consumer present in the retail establishment at the time of sale.

Break Requirements Per Hours Worked:

      • More than 4 but 6 or less consecutive hours: None
      • 4 to 6 consecutive hours: 15-minute break
      • More than 6 consecutive hours: 30-minute break
      • 8 or more consecutive hours: 30-minute break plus a 15-minute break for every additional 4 consecutive hours.

For employees working less than 6 consecutive hours, the 15-minute break requirement may be waived by written agreement between the employer and employee. An employee who is entitled to a 30-minute break is not entitled to the 15-minute break as well. The additional consecutive hours begin following the employee’s previous break.

Employees who have commissioned sales employees of retail establishments are exempt from the Shift Break law if: (1) more than half of the employee’s earnings come from commissions; and (2) the employee averages at least one and one-half times the minimum wage for each hour worked.

Work On Rest Days

All Maryland retail establishments must allow employees to choose a day of rest per workweek unless the employee is a: • Managerial employee; • Professional employee; or • Part-time employee working fewer than 25 hours per week (this does not apply to retail employees in Wicomico County).


Eligible employees may choose Sunday or their Sabbath as their day of rest and must provide their employers with written notice of their intended day of rest. However, employees are not eligible for leave during a federal, state, or local government-declared emergency. An employee may change his or her day of rest by providing at least 30 days written notice to his or her employer prior to the intended effective date of the change. Employers cannot ask job applicants which day they will choose as their day of rest.

Annual Leave

Vacation Leave is based on employment policy. Vacation pay is subject to agreement. Where the employer does not have a written policy that limits the compensation for accrued leave to a terminated employee, that employee is entitled to the cash value of whatever unused earned vacation leave was left, provided it was otherwise usable.


State law does not guarantee days off for holidays or any special holiday pay for private-sector employees, except a religious day of rest each week for retail employees who give prior written notice to their employers. Maryland law does not require the award of certain benefits.

Special Leave

Sick and Safe Leave

Eligibility Criteria: Employers with 15 or more employees must provide paid sick and safe leave, while employers with fewer than 15 employees must provide unpaid sick and safe leave.

Duration of Sick Leave: Employees who regularly work 12 or more hours per week are eligible to accrue sick and safe leave. Employees accrue earned sick and safe leave at a rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked. Employers may cap employee sick and safe leave accruals to 40 hours per year.

Usage of leave: Employees must be allowed to use earned sick and safe leave for any of the following reasons:

      • To care for or treat the employee’s own mental or physical illness, injury or condition;
      • To obtain preventive medical care for the employee or the employee’s family member;
      • To care for a family member with a mental or physical illness, injury or condition;
      • For maternity or paternity leave; or
      • For certain reasons related to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking committed against the employee or the employee’s family member.

        Notice Requirement: When the need for sick leave is foreseeable, employees are to provide up to 7 days prior notice (or as soon as possible, where the need for leave is not foreseeable).


Front Loading of leave: Employers may front-load the entire amount of sick and safe leave at the beginning of each year that employees would accrue during the year.


Carry-over used leave: the employer must allow employees to carry over up to 40 hours of accrued but unused sick and safe leave into the next year. Employers are not required to allow employees to accrue more than a total of 64 hours of sick and safe leave at any time. Employers have no obligation to pay out any accrued but unused sick and safe leave upon separation from employment.


Adoption Leave

This law states that employers who provide leave with pay to an employee following the birth of the employee’s child shall provide the same leave with pay to an employee when a child is placed with the employee for adoption.


Deployment Leave

Effective October 1, 2013, Deployment Leave authorizes individuals of employers with 50 or more employees who work full-time or part-time, have worked for the employer for the last 12 months, and has worked at least 1,250 hours during the last 12 months, leave from work on the day that an immediate family member, which includes a spouse, parent, stepparent, child, stepchild or sibling of the employee is leaving for, or returning from, active duty outside the United States as a member of the armed forces of the United States. An employer may not require an employee to use compensatory, sick, or vacation leave when taking leave. An employer may require an employee requesting leave under this section to submit proof to the employer verifying that the leave is being taken.


Flexible Leave Act

Chapter 644 of the Laws of Maryland 2008, authorizes employees of employers with 15 or more individuals to use “leave with pay” for an illness in the employee’s immediate family – a child, spouse, or parent. Leave with pay is considered time away from work for which an employee is paid and includes sick leave, vacation time, and compensatory time. An employee may only use leave with pay that has been earned and employees who earn more than one type of leave with pay may elect the type and amount of leave to use. An employee who uses leave with pay under this law is required to comply with the terms of any collective bargaining agreement or employment policy. This law does not affect leave granted under the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA).


Effective October 1, 2021, the Maryland Flexible Leave Act (MFLA) shall provide eligible employees with Paid Bereavement Leave to be taken for the death of an employee’s immediate family member.


Parental Leave

Under this law, an eligible employee is entitled to a total of six (6) workweeks of unpaid parental leave during any 12-month period for the birth of a child of the employee; or the placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care. The Commissioner will look to existing rules, regulations, and interpretations under the Federal Family Medical Leave Act for guidance in administering this law.

Voting Leave

An employee who is a registered voter is entitled to paid leave for voting to 2 hours of paid time off to cast their votes. To qualify for this leave, employees must furnish proof of voting or an attempt to vote. It’s important to note that employees with at least two consecutive hours off work during polling hours are exempt from this leave requirement. 

Donor Leave

State employees are allowed up to 30 days of paid leave for organ donation. (§9-1106).

Civil Air Patrol Leave

Employers with 15 or more employees must allow up to 15 days of unpaid leave per the calendar year for volunteer members of the Civil Air Patrol who are responding to authorized emergency missions. Employers may not require eligible employees to exhaust other available leave before taking civil air patrol leave. While not required, an employer and employee may negotiate for the employer to pay for continued benefits for the employee while on leave. Employees must provide as much notice to their employer as possible of the start date and the estimated amount of leave needed. In addition, after arriving at an emergency location, employees must provide updated information to their employers regarding their leave and anticipated return to work. The employer can require verification for the employee’s civil air patrol leave. Upon return from civil air patrol leave, an employee must be restored to the position held prior to leave (or to a position with equal status, benefits, pay and conditions of employment).

Family Military Leave

Employers with 50 or more employees must allow leaves for eligible employees on the day an immediate family member is leaving for or returning from active duty outside of the United States as a member of the U.S. armed forces. An immediate family member is defined as a spouse, parent, stepparent, child, stepchild or sibling of the employee. To be eligible for deployment leave, an employee must have been employed for the 12 months prior to the leave and worked at least 1,250 hours during those 12 months. Employers may require verification for the employee’s leave, but may not require the employee to use compensatory, sick or vacation leave when taking leave.


Jury Duty Leave

An employee is entitled to unpaid Jury and Court Attendance Leave and may not be terminated or threatened with termination for missing work under the following circumstances:

      • Responding to a summons for jury duty or a subpoena to appear as a witness in any civil or criminal proceeding, including discovery proceedings.
      • Attending a proceeding for which the employee has a legal right to attend.

It’s important to note that employers cannot require employees to use sick or vacation leave to fulfill jury duty obligations. Furthermore, employers are restricted from requiring an employee who has served jury duty for 4 or more hours (including travel time) to work their scheduled shift if it starts: 

  • On or after 5 p.m. on the day of the employee’s jury duty appearance.
  • Before 3 a.m. on the day following the employee’s jury duty appearance.

Parental Leave

Employers with 15-49 employees must provide up to six workweeks of unpaid parental leave to eligible employees for the birth of the employee’s child or the placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care. To be eligible, an employee must:

                • Have worked for the employer for at least a 12-month period;
                • Have worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12-month period prior to the start of the parental leave; and
                • Be employed at a worksite with at least 15 employees within 75 miles of the worksite.

Employers must maintain the employee’s benefits during leave, including health insurance, disability insurance, sick leave, annual leave, group life insurance, educational benefits, and pensions. Upon return, the employee must be restored to his or her original position or one equivalent to it in benefits, pay, and other terms and conditions of employment.

Disclaimer: The material provided above is for informational purposes only and is subject to change. We endeavor to keep all material up-to-date and correct but make no representations about the information's completeness, accuracy, or reliability. Laws vary by jurisdiction and are subject to change and interpretation based on individual factors that may differ between organizations. The material is not meant to constitute legal advice and we suggest you seek the advice of legal counsel in connection with any of the information presented.