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Paid sick leave bill moves forward in Annapolis

Rachel Baye

A bill that would require certain Maryland businesses to offer paid leave is advancing in the General Assembly. The measure thought to have failed could get a vote in the full Senate just hours before the session ends.

The version of the legislation moving forward would require businesses with at least 15 employees to provide at least one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours an employee works, or at least five days of paid leave per year.

Smaller businesses would have to offer an equivalent amount of unpaid leave, and certain seasonal workers are not included.

Charles County Democrat Mac Middleton chairs the Senate Finance Committee, where the bill has been held for more than a week. On Monday he said he would cast the deciding vote to bring it to the Senate floor.

“We are fortunate, my grandkids and my kids, we all live right there together. There’s always a time when my wife, who’s retired now, is picking up a child or staying home with a sick child, whatnot," he said. "That’s the society we live in.”

But he said not everyone is so lucky.

The bill has faced strong support from labor groups and opposition from several business organizations.