The Maryland legislative session is in full swing. While there remains the possibility of additional bills being introduced which impact Maryland employers and employees (as well as other topics/citizens), the historical outlook is that those bills not pre-filed or filed in the early days of the session will fall to the wayside unless of utmost importance. The reason that late filings get scant attention is that the Maryland legislature only sits for approximately 90 days, convening January 8 and adjourning (sine die) on April 7, 2014, leaving insufficient time to digest a “late filed” bill’s impact. Indeed, both the Senate and House “Bill Introduction Date[s]” have now passed and any legislation to be considered now until the end of the session must first pass through the respective Senate and House Rules Committees to even be allowed further committee assignment and hearing.
The Education, Labor and Employment team at PK Law believes that with the passing of the Bill Introduction Date[s] that it would now be a good time to summarize some of the more important pending Maryland legislation. The bills mentioned below impact the Labor and Employment Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland.
The following are very brief “thumbnails” of bills which are generally considered of some importance in the labor and employment arena. Each bill must be consulted for specifics and a more complete understanding of the provisions of the legislation.
SB216, HB219: Provides for issuance of subpoenas by the Workers Compensation Commission upon request of a party in a currently pending matter.
SB494, HB411: Attaches a presumption of Workers’ Compensation compensability to correctional officers suffering from heart disease and hypertension resulting in total disability or death.
SB215, HB280: Prohibiting employers or their insurers, generally, from being required to pay for prescriptions that are dispensed by physicians to employees covered under Workers’ Compensation who have suffered accidental personal injuries, compensable hernias, or occupational diseases.
SB507: Focuses on establishment of a fee schedule for repackaged and relabeled drugs and pharmaceutical bills in Workers’ Compensation cases and requires that pharmacy bills submitted for reimbursement contain specified information.
HB168: Requires that the Governor remove a member of a board, commission or council within the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation who does not attend at least 2/3rds of the meetings during the prior year the member was serving and that a successor to such person be named.
SB753, HB 527: Generally requires employers of more than nine employees to provide paid “sick and safe” leave to employees and sets forth the manner in which such leave time is to accrue.
SB737, HB527: Requires employers with 15-49 “eligible employees” to provide them with 6 weeks unpaid “parental leave”.
HB467: Permits a parent to apply for a minor’s work permit.
SB371, HB187: Deals with manner of setting the Minimum Wage in Maryland.
SB331, HB 295: The Administration’s bill to increase the Minimum Wage and index it to inflation.
SB126, HB173: Provides that correctional officers and others in “direct personal contact” with correctional facility inmates be required to take a polygraph examination in spite of the State’s prohibition against employers requiring same.
HB435: Attempts to make Maryland a “Right to Work” state so that employees cannot be required to join a union and pay dues.
SB130: Provides for electronic sharing of reports of accidental injury or disability due to occupational disease between the Workers’ Compensation Commission and the Commissioner of Labor.
SB921: Creates the Maryland Secure Choice Retirement Savings Program and Trust to provide a comprehensive scheme for a retirement savings vehicle for employees who are not covered under an employer retirement plan.
The foregoing are just a few of the more salient pieces of legislation currently before the Maryland legislature impacting the Labor and Employment provisions of the Maryland Code.