Hogan Creates New State Agency To Ease Paid Leave Transition

Executive Order Creates Office of Small Business Regulatory Assistance

Governor Larry Hogan today issued an executive order establishing the Office of Small Business Regulatory Assistance to assist small businesses in complying with the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act, passed by the Maryland General Assembly over the governor’s veto. As stipulated in the Maryland Constitution under Article II, Sec. 24, the Maryland General Assembly has 50 days to consent or pass a resolution of disapproval.

According to a press release,

The order reorganizes state government to create the Office of Small Business Regulatory Assistance, directs the Governor’s Business Ombudsman Randall Nixon to serve as Executive Director, and moves employees from the Office of Small Business Resources under the Department of Commerce to staff the new office. The office will be housed and report directly to Secretary Kelly Schulz within the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation, the agency tasked with promulgating regulations for the new law.

The governor’s order specifies that the new office will assist businesses with the implementation of the new law, facilitate responsiveness of state government to small business needs, and serve as a central clearinghouse of information for business assistance programs and services available in the state. The office will be required to report to the governor and the legislature regarding problems encountered by small businesses complying with the law and its regulations and recommend policy improvements and solutions.

Governor Hogan last week introduced The Paid Leave Compromise Act of 2018. The bill, phased in over three years, would apply to employers with 50 or more employees in 2018, employers with 40 or more employees in 2019, and employers with 25 or more employees in 2020. Hogan also announced a companion bill, which would provide $100M in tax incentives to small businesses to offset the costs of providing employees with paid sick leave. Both bills are pending before the General Assembly.

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Full Press Release

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