Management's Workplace Lawyers

2017 Maryland General Assembly Employment Legislation Update

April 28, 2017

During the Maryland General Assembly session that ended in April 2017, Shawe Rosenthal lawyers again worked with the Maryland Chamber of Commerce to oppose or moderate legislation that would adversely affect employers. Several employment-related bills were passed by the General Assembly.

Maryland Healthy Working Families Act (i.e. Paid Sick Leave)

As noted in our recent E-lert, “Maryland’s General Assembly Just Passed Paid Sick Leave – Now What?”, the General Assembly passed HB1, which requires employers with 15 or more employees to provide up to 5 days of paid sick leave and smaller employers to provide unpaid sick leave. Although Governor Hogan had earlier promised to veto the bill, he has not yet done so. If he vetoes the bill, the Maryland General Assembly would have to override the veto either during a special session, if one is called, or at the beginning of the next regular session in January 2018. If he chooses not to veto the bill and it becomes law, it will take effect January 1, 2018. We will know in early May whether or not the Governor has vetoed the bill, and will keep you posted on its status.

Maryland Personal Information Protection Act - Revisions

The General Assembly passed HB 974, which revises currently existing law protecting the disposal of employee personal information and providing for notification of the breach of electronically-maintained personal information.

The revisions modify the definition of “personal information” under the law to add, among other things, individual taxpayer ID numbers, passport numbers, or other government-issued ID numbers; a state identification card number; health insurance policy, certificate or subscriber numbers; biometric data; and user name or e-mail address in combination with a password or security question and answer.

The law previously provided that, when destroying the personal information of a customer, a business must take reasonable steps to protect against unauthorized access or use of that information, and the revisions add “employees and former employees” to the protected group.

The revisions also modify the notice of breach provisions contained in the law, among other things, by imposing a 45-day deadline for the notification.

The revisions add a new section to the law regarding a breach involving information that permits access to an individual’s e-mail account, setting forth specific notice requirements directing the individual to change their e-mail password or security question/answer or take other unspecified steps to protect the account. Notice of the breach may not be e-mailed to the breached e-mail account, except when the individual is connected to the account from an internet protocol (IP) address or online location from which the business knows the individual customarily accesses the account. 

Finally, the revisions provide that a business that is subject to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and is in compliance with its HIPAA obligations will be deemed to be in compliance with the Personal Information Protection Act.

Once this becomes law, it will take effect on January 1, 2018.

More Jobs for Marylanders Act of 2017

This bill, SB 317, was a centerpiece of Governor Hogan’s Maryland Jobs Initiative. He signed it into law on April 11, and it will take effect on June 1, 2017. The law provides tax incentives to both new and existing manufacturers for job creation. It also provides funding for scholarships to job training programs, encourages high-school vocational training, and promotes state agency registered apprenticeship programs.