Business leaders are gearing up to oppose a bill planned by some Maryland legislators that would require employers to provide their workers with one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked.
The Maryland Chamber of Commerce will review the legislation once it is introduced, Deriece Pate Bennett, vice president of government affairs for the chamber, said Monday.
“Generally, we oppose workplace mandates as one size does not fit all, especially for small businesses,” Bennett said.
The chamber is preparing for its annual Business Day on Tuesday in Annapolis, when several hundred business executives typically meet with lawmakers to convey their concerns and hopes for the new session. Patrick Donoho, president of the Maryland Retailers Association, and Ellen Valentino, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, said they will lobby against the sick-leave proposal.
Del. Heather R. Mizeur (D-Montgomery) was to appear late Monday afternoon at a forum on the legislation at Busboys and Poets in Hyattsville. Mizeur plans to be a lead sponsor of the legislation, along with Del. John Olszewski (D-Baltimore).The legislators plan to seek more cosponsors before filing the bill, Moira Moynihan, legislative aide to Mizeur, said Monday.
The issue is one that has gotten more attention in light of recent influenza outbreaks. About 40 percent of private-sector employees nationwide do not receive paid sick days, and more than 80 percent of low-wage workers lack access to paid sick days, according to the Job Opportunities Task Force in Baltimore. Fewer than one-quarter of food preparation and serving workers have paid sick days.
Connecticut became the first state in the nation last year to mandate a paid sick leave policy, but only for service workers at employers with 50 or more employees. Those workers get one hour of sick leave for each 40 hours worked.