As we all deal with closures related to inclement winter weather, employers in Maryland may be faced with employees who wish to utilize Sick and Safe Leave, which is mandated under Maryland’s Healthy Working Families Act, in order to take a snow day or to provide childcare to children whose schools are closed due to inclement weather. However, the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act provides that employees may only use Sick and Safe Leave in the following clearly delineated situations:
- To care for or treat an employee’s mental or physical illness, injury, or condition;
- To obtain preventative medical care for the employee or employee’s family member;
- To care for a family member with a mental or physical illness, injury, or condition;
- For maternity or paternity leave;
- During a period of relocation due to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking;
- To obtain medical or mental health attention for employee or family member related to domestic violence, stalking, or sexual assault;
- To obtain services from a victim services organization for employee or family member related to domestic violence, stalking, or sexual assault; and
- To obtain legal services or attend legal proceedings for employee or family member related to domestic violence, stalking, or sexual assault.
Conspicuously absent from the foregoing reasons under which an employee may use Sick and Safe Leave is any reference to winter storms, adverse weather or road conditions, and school or childcare closures. To be sure, many employers’ general leave policies provide employees paid or unpaid leave which may be utilized to take leave during circumstances which arise during winter weather events. However, employers in Maryland are not legally obligated to allow employees to utilize paid Sick and Safe Leave in these situations.
Mr. Burkhouse is a Member with PK Law and is part of the firm’s Education, Labor and Employment Group. As part of Mr. Burkhouse’s employment law practice he counsels and represents employers regarding employment discrimination claims arising under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967. Mr. Burkhouse also advises employers with regard to non-compete agreements, restrictive covenants, arbitration agreements, trade secrets, confidentiality agreements, and employee hiring and termination procedures. Mr. Burkhouse can be reached at(410) 740-3150 or firstname.lastname@example.org.