This post will guide you through employee leave laws for businesses and workers located in the state of Maryland.
Follow this guide to understand employers’ obligations for vacation time, paid time off (PTO), sick leave, parental leave, bereavement and more, along with state holidays observed in Maryland.
This page is intended for reference purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please see official government sources or consult a legal professional for actual legal advice.
No federal or state laws require employers to provide paid or unpaid vacation time in Maryland. It is up to an employer’s discretion whether to offer vacation time and how much to offer.
It is likely legal to enforce a Use It or Lose It policy in Maryland, as this is not covered under state law. To be safe, companies implementing Use It or Lose It should make this clear in company policy documents and employees’ contracts.
Use It or Lose It leave policies mean that any leave not used at the end of the year is forfeited, and not carried over to the following year. Learn more about Use It or Lose It policies here.
Maryland law considers fringe benefits – including vacation time – to be a form of wages, and thus any unused vacation time must be paid out upon job separation (e.g. when an employee quits, retires or is fired).
However, a company can avoid paying out accrued vacation time to terminated employees if they have a clear written policy stating this, and they notified the employee of the policy and their benefits at the time of hiring.
The Maryland Healthy Working Families Act (MHWFA) requires companies with 15 or more employees to provide paid “safe and sick leave”, earned at a rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked.
Companies with fewer than 15 employees must provide the same leave, but it is not required to be paid.
Besides any state laws or provisions written into employment contracts, employers in Maryland must comply with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which entitles eligible employees the right to take 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for serious health conditions, or to care for spouses, children or parents with a serious health condition.
The following official state holidays are observed in Maryland:
|January 1||New Year’s Day|
|3rd Monday in January||Martin Luther King, Jr Day|
|3rd Monday in February||Presidents’ Day|
|Last Monday in May||Memorial Day|
|July 4||Independence Day|
|1st Monday in September||Labor Day|
|2nd Monday in October||Columbus Day|
|November 11||Veterans Day|
|4th Thursday in November||Thanksgiving|
|Day after Thanksgiving||American Indian Heritage Day|
|December 25||Christmas Day|
There is no requirement to allow employees a paid or unpaid day off for state holidays, and employees required to work on state holidays are not legally entitled to extra compensation (such as higher pay or a compensatory day off), unless promised in their employment contract.
Under Maryland’s Parental Leave Act (MPLA) Employers in Maryland with between 15-49 employees must provide eligible employees with 6 weeks of unpaid leave during a 12 week period for the birth, adoption or foster of a new child.
Employees in companies with 50 or more staff are covered by the Federal FMLA, which entitles new mothers to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for the birth of a new child, as well as the placement of a new adoption or foster.
Fathers are covered by both the MPLA and FMLA, giving them the same right to 6 or 12 weeks’ unpaid leave for a new birth, adoption or foster.
Maryland leave laws also state that, if employers provide paid parental leave to employees following the birth of a child, the same benefits must apply to employees who adopt a child.
There is no legal requirement to provide bereavement leave in Maryland. However, the Maryland Flexible Leave Act (MFLA) states that employees must be allowed to use their earned paid leave following the death of an immediate family member (but this does not mean specific leave must be provided for bereavements).
Employers are not required to pay employees for time off serving jury duty, however they must allow them to serve on a jury without discharging, disciplining, coercing or threatening the employee.
Maryland allows employees a maximum of two hours’ paid leave to vote, unless they have two consecutive hours outside of working hours in which the polls are open.
Federal Law (the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)) applies in Maryland, which states that military service members receive up to five years of unpaid leave for military service, and upon returning, must be reinstated to the same position (or an equivalent position) as they had before their leave.
Employees responding to an emergency mission of the Maryland Civil Air Patrol are entitled to at least 15 days of unpaid leave.
Anything not covered in Maryland state leave laws is up to the discretion of the employer, such as whether or not to provide paid sick leave or PTO, or whether PTO rolls over from year to year.
However, if any benefits are laid out in an employee’s contract or company policy, employers must comply with what has been agreed in that document.
For example, if an employee’s contract states that they are to receive 12 days of PTO each year, the employer is legally required to provide this, even though paid time off is not required by state law.