Governor Hogan Vetoes Sick Leave Bill – What Next?


Governor Hogan has vetoed the “Maryland Healthy Working Families Act,” mandating paid “earned sick and safe” (ESS) leave. In anticipation of this action, the General Assembly leadership previously stated that it will vote to override any veto. However, this vote cannot take place until the next General Assembly Session (since it is unlikely any special session will be called), which begins in January 2018. This means that paid ESS leave for Maryland employers will likely not become law this year.

3/5 of the members of each house must vote to override the veto – in the Senate, a veto override would require 29 votes, and in the House of Delegates, 85 votes. The bill passed the Senate with exactly 29 “yes” votes, and the House with 88 “yes” votes. If both houses retain all the votes in favor of the bill, they can override the veto; the loss of a single vote in the Senate, however, means that the veto would not be overridden and the bill will not become law.

On the other hand, if the veto override vote is successful, the next question is when the law would become effective. The bill provides that it would become effective on January 1, 2018 – which clearly is not possible since the veto override vote would not take place until after that date. The Maryland Constitution provides that laws enacted by the General Assembly take effect on June 1 following the session, unless the law specifies a later date. So, unless the General Assembly takes some additional action to extend the effective date of the law, paid sick leave would take effect on June 1, 2018.

We will keep you posted on the status of this bill.