Maryland

Labor Compliance Guide

Hours & Pay Regulations

Normal Working Hours

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.

Overtime

Most employees must be paid 1.5 times their usual hourly rate for all work over 40 hrs per week.

 

Exceptions:

  • Bowling establishments, and institutions providing on-premise care (other than hospitals) to the sick, the aged, or individuals with disabilities for all work over 48 hrs per week.
  • Agricultural workers for all work over 60 hrs per week.

Breaks

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.

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.

Minimum Wage

Effective July 1, 2018, the state’s hourly minimum wage rate is increased to $10.10 and is scheduled to go up to $11.00 in 2019.

 

Effective October 1, 2020, employers may only pay physically or mentally disabled individuals less than the minimum wage with a certificate from the Labor Department that was authorized prior to October 1, 2016. The department may establish wages for learners and apprentices that are at least 80 percent of the minimum wage. An employer may under certain conditions pay an employee who is younger than 20 a wage that equals at least 85 percent of the state mini- mum wage for the first six months of employment.

Tips & Gratuities

Tipped employees (earning more than $30 a month in tips) must earn the state’s hourly minimum wage rate. Employers must pay at least $3.63 an hour. This amount plus tips must equal at least the state’s hourly minimum wage rate. The tip credit amount that an employer may include may not exceed the minimum hourly wage, less $3.63. Tipped employees may spend up to 20 percent of their time performing non-tip-producing duties related to their tipped occupation and be paid at a tipped-employee rate. Tip pooling is permitted.

Meal Breaks

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 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.

Special Leave

Sick and Safe Leave

The Maryland Healthy Working Families Act requires employers with 15 or more employees to provide paid sick and safe leave for certain employees. It also requires that employers who employ 14 or fewer employees provide unpaid sick and safe leave for certain employees.

Earned sick and safe leave begins to accrue on February 11, 2018, or the date on which an employee begins employment with the employer, whichever is later. An employee accrues earned sick and safe leave at a rate of at least one hour for every 30 hours the employee works; however, an employee is not entitled to earn more than 40 hours of earned sick and safe leave in a year or accrue more than 64 hours of earned sick and safe leave at any time. An employee is allowed to use earned sick and safe leave under the following conditions:

      • To care for or treat the employee’s mental or physical illness, injury, or condition; or
      • To obtain preventative medical care for the employee or the employee’s family member; or
      • To care for a family member with a mental or physical illness, injury, or condition; or
      • For maternity or paternity leave; or
      • The absence from work is necessary due to domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking committed against the employee or the employee’s family member and the leave is being used: (1) to obtain medical or mental health attention; (2) to obtain services from a victim services organization; (3) for legal services or proceedings; or (4) because the employee has temporarily relocated as a result of the domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking; or
      • A family member includes a spouse, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, or sibling. Employees are permitted to use earned sick and safe leave in increments in certain amounts established by their employer. Employees are required to give notice of the need to use earned sick and safe leave when it is foreseeable. An employer may deny the leave in certain circumstances.
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).

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

Every employer in the State shall permit any employee who claims to be a registered voter in the State a period not to exceed 2 hours absence from work on election day in order to cast a ballot if the employee does not have 2 hours of continuous off-duty during the time that the polls are open.

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 employer may not terminate or threaten to terminate an employee for missing work because the employee: 

      • Responded to a summons for jury duty or subpoena to appear as a witness in any civil or criminal proceeding (including discovery proceedings); or
      • Attended a proceeding he or she has a right to attend.

Employers cannot require an employee to use any sick or vacation leave to attend jury duty. Leave for jury duty is not required to be paid. In addition, employers cannot require an employee who appears for jury duty for four or more hours (including travel time) to work his or her scheduled shift if it begins: On or after 5 p.m. on the day of the employee’s appearance for jury duty; or Before 3 a.m. on the day after the employee’s appearance for jury duty.

Last updated on: November 21st, 2019