2016 End of Session Wrap-Up: Employee Benefits

MACo advocated for county flexibility in determining county employee benefits – and won.

This post summarizes the status of bills concerning employee benefits that MACo took a position on during the 2016 Regular Session.

checkSick Leave bill held up in final hours of General Assembly. HB 580 / SB 472 –  Labor and Employment – Maryland Healthy Working Families Act would have required many private employers and all county governments to provide paid sick leave at a normal rate of pay for employees at a rate of 1 hour per every 30 hours worked.  MACo opposed the bill, stating that providing many public services depends on the attendance of those employees who work a limited schedule. Even as amended, the bill may increase costs of providing services, such as after-school activities, summer camps, and community services for vulnerable populations. Accommodating this legislation could result in cuts to those programs. For more information, see MACo’s testimonyFINAL STATUS: An amended version of HB 580 passed the House but failed to pass the Senate in the final hours of Sine Die. 

checkCounties retain flexibility over sick leave benefits for grant-funded employees. HB 581 was a bill that would have required all counties to provide an employee whose position is funded through a limited-term grant with paid sick leave in the same manner that the county provides paid sick leave to an employee in an equivalent non-grant-funded position. While many counties provide some form of leave to grant-funded employees according to the terms of their contract, MACo opposed this legislation as an additional administrative and financial burden that could have reduced community services provided through grant programs. For more information, see MACo’s testimonyFINAL STATUS: This bill received an unfavorable report from the House Economic Matters Committee.

checkCounty collective bargaining mandate legislation fails. HB 736, would have required all counties to enact local laws authorizing collective bargaining between the county and any employee organization that the county has recognized as an exclusive representative of its employees. This one-size-fits-all mandate would have created a new administrative burden, and could have created additional personnel costs. For more information, see MACo’s testimonyFINAL STATUS: The House Appropriations Committee held a hearing but did not vote on the bill.