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Maryland Considering Bill That Mandates Employers Provide Paid Sick Leave

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A bill offered in the Maryland House of Delegates would bring the state in line with California, New York, and other state and local governments that mandate employers provide at least some paid sick time to employees.

Connecticut and Rhode Island already have sick-leave and family-leave laws on the books, as well as city governments in New Jersey, New York, and Washington, D.C. The law would require that companies “that employ 10 or more would be forced to provide one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours an employee works,” according to MarylandReporter.com,

According to Think Progress, there are still less than ten of these laws in the country, but the idea is gaining momentum in many other states, such as Nebraska and Vermont. New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio has also sought to expand his city's version of this law, even before it’s been fully implemented.

Of course, there has been some major opposition to this movement from those who claim to speak for “small business” and worry about the larger economic impacts of requiring employers to pay for sick time. The labor laws of the United States mostly date back to the Depression era — an economy still decidedly worse than today’s — when most families lived on a single income, earned by a man. While current federal law does allow for 12 weeks of medical leave, many of the poorest Americans can’t afford to use it because it is unpaid.

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An article from The Wall Street Journal highlights how the business community is divided over this issue. “The standard in the work environment for a part-time role is that you’re paid only for the hours you work,” said go-kart racing franchise owner Karen Davis-Farage. However, Tom McDonald, the president of an information technology firm, called it “good business.”

Still, ten states have passed laws prohibiting local governments from passing these measures, citing economic concerns.