Maryland Labor Laws Guide
Ultimate Maryland labor law guide: minimum wage, overtime, break, leave, hiring, termination, and miscellaneous labor laws.
|Maryland Labor Laws FAQ
|Maryland minimum wage
|15< employees = $12.20
15> employees = $12.50
|1.5 times the regular wage for any time worked over 40 hours/week
($18.75/hr for minimum wage workers if 15> employees; $18.3/hr for minimum wage workers if <15 employees)
|Specified shift breaks for retail workers
30-minute breaks for every 5 consecutive hours worked (for employed minors)
Table of contents
Maryland wage laws
With regards to wages, Maryland has the following laws, regulations, and limitations.
|MARYLAND MINIMUM WAGE
|Regular minimum wage
|Tipped minimum wage
|15< employees = $12.20
15> employees = $12.50
Maryland minimum wage
In 2022, Maryland minimum wage for businesses with 15 employees or more is $12.50, and for businesses with 14 employees or fewer is $12.20.
Some Maryland counties, however, have different hourly minimum wages.
In Montgomery County, the minimum wages are the following:
- For small businesses with 10 employees or fewer — $13.50,
- For businesses with 11–50 employees — $14.00, and
- For businesses with 51 employees or more — $15.00.
In Prince George's County, the minimum wage is $11.75.
Tipped minimum wage in Maryland
Tipped employees are individuals working in an industry where they regularly and customarily receive tips, amounting up to $30 per month.
In Maryland, the current tipped minimum wage is $3.63 per hour, so long as the employee earns at least the minimum wage ($12.50) every hour, including tips.
Subminimum wage in Maryland
Maryland Under 20 Minimum Wage Regulation states that any new employee under 20 years old can be paid $4.25 for the first 90 days of their employment.
The student minimum wage is $10.63, for full-time high-school or college students.
Their minimum wage must be no less than 85% of the regular minimum wage for up to 20 hours of work per week.
Exceptions to the minimum wage in Maryland
Following are the exceptions to minimum wage in the State of Maryland:
- Some agricultural branches,
- Establishments selling food and drinks on the premises (restaurants and cafes) who earn less than $400,000 per year,
- Outside salespersons and commissioned employees,
- Employed minors,
- Volunteers for charities, educational and religious organizations and nonprofits,
- Drive-in theaters, and
- Facilities involved with canning, freezing and packing of fruits, vegetables, seafood or poultry.
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), if an employee is subject to both the state and federal minimum wage laws — the employee is entitled to the higher minimum wage rate.
Maryland payment laws
In accordance with the Maryland Department of Labor Law, employers are required to pay wages to their employees on set days, at least twice per month.
The payouts should happen on the same days each month, predetermined by the employer.
Executive, Professional and Administrative employees are exceptions to this law, and can be paid less frequently.
Secure Maryland Wage Act
In June 2021, the State of Maryland passed a new law called the Secure Maryland Wage Act, which raises the minimum wage of employees working in “heightened security interest locations”.
The full legal document can be found on the Maryland General Assembly website.
According to this act, employees in Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport and Pennsylvania Station will be paid $13.50 per hour, with raised wages each new calendar year.
Eligible workers include the following:
- Non-TSA security officers
- Wheelchair attendants
- Ramp workers
- Ticket agents
- Cabin cleaners
- Passenger service agents, etc.
The law was passed to address a high turnover in these specific positions, as well as to attract and retain experienced workers.
For comparison, similar laws can be found in Los Angeles International Airport, John F. Kennedy, and LaGuardia International Airport.
Maryland Living Wage Law
Maryland's Living Wage Law requires private businesses who do contract work with the state government to pay a living wage to their employees.
This hourly rate is usually above minimum wage, to address the rising costs of living standards.
The Living Wage Law is applicable to any and all businesses that:
- Have a contract or a subcontract with the state of Maryland
- Provide services to the state of $100,000 or more
For an individual employee to be eligible for Living Wage, at least 50% of their work time should be spent working on the project in question. In simple terms, employees who are not a part of that particular project are not eligible.
Companies who fall under this law offer maintenance and information technology services, and NOT suppliers, construction, or architecture-related companies and agencies.
Lastly, Living Wage rates differ based on the county where the services are being performed:
- Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, Baltimore, Howard, Montgomery, and Prince George's Counties — $14.55
- All other counties — $10.93
Maryland overtime laws
Overtime in Maryland is regulated by the Fair Labor Standards Act.
According to the FLSA, any time over 40 weekly hours worked is considered overtime.
In accordance with this, employers are required to pay their employees 1.5 times their regular wage for any overtime work ($18.75/hr).
It's important to note that any hours worked over 8 hours per day does not count as overtime.
In Maryland, only the hours totaling over 40 hours per week count as overtime.
Overtime exceptions and exemptions in Maryland
Following are exceptions to overtime wage in the State of Maryland (there are some overlaps in the minimum wage and overtime exemptions):
- Salaried employees earning over $455 per week.
- Institutions that provide on-site care (aside from hospitals) to the elderly, sick, and people with disabilities, if the employees work over 48 hours per week.
- Bowling establishments whose workers also work over 48 hours per week.
- People over the age of 62 who work 25 hours or less per week.
- Taxi drivers.
- Recreational establishments, amusement parks, hotels/motels, and movie theaters.
- Executive positions (full-time management of 2 or more employees).
- Administrative work (business operations, management, administrative training).
- Professional work (work requiring advanced education: artists, certified teachers, IT professionals).
- Outside salespersons.
Maryland break laws
Let's now focus on Maryland laws governing break times — and the exceptions to these laws.
Maryland work breaks (meals and rest)
Maryland has no state regulation concerning breaks for regular employees.
The only mention is in relation to employed minors, who are eligible for a 30-minute break for every 5 consecutive hours worked.
However, following federal law on break time, Maryland employers must abide by two rules:
- If an employee works through their mealtime (e.g. eating at their desk while working, or grabbing a quick bite while commuting from one on-site location to another, etc.) they need to be paid, because their mealtime is still spent working; and
- If an employee is allowed to have a meal break during which they don't perform work, and can spend that time as they see fit, it counts as a meal break, but doesn't have to be paid.
Healthy Retail Employee Act
Since March 2011, the Maryland Department of Labor has been enforcing a law concerning break times in retail.
According to the Healthy Retail Employee Act, an employer is required to provide (un)paid breaks to employees if they own a retail establishment that:
- Primarily sells goods to customers on-premises (via a physical store, not an online one),
- Has 50 or more retail employees, and
- Has been open and operational in the past 20 or more calendar weeks.
The breaks are distributed in the following ways:
- If a work shift is between 4 and 6 non-consecutive hours, no break is required.
- If a work shift is between 4 and 6 consecutive hours, a 15-minute break is required.
- If a work shift is more than 6 consecutive hours, a 30-minute break is required.
- If a work shift is 8 or more consecutive hours, a 30-minute break is required, with additional 15 minutes for every new 4 consecutive hours.
Maryland breastfeeding laws
The state of Maryland doesn't regulate breaks for breastfeeding mothers in the workplace specifically.
That means that the federal laws apply, so mothers are still protected by the FLSA if they are a non-exempt (hourly) employee.
Within the federal law, here's what breastfeeding laws entail (for up to 1 year after the child's birth):
- Employees get a designated nursing room (other than a bathroom) — because the employees should have full privacy from coworkers and the public, and be free from intrusion.
- The lactation break time duration is per the employer's decision (and within reasonable boundaries).
- Employers must post a notice in an accessible place to keep the employees informed of their rights and obligations concerning breastfeeding.
The only exception to this regulation is if the employer has fewer than 50 employees.
Moreover, if the employer can prove that finding proper accommodations poses financial, structural, or other difficulties to the business, they are exempt from providing a separate room.
Maryland leave requirements
Luckily for many workers living and working in Maryland, the state both follows the federal leave laws, and also has its own regulations titled The Maryland Healthy Working Families Act.
This means employees are able to choose which of the two suits them better.
Let's take a look at each type of leave — required and non-required — and observe what Maryland has to offer.
Maryland required leave
Following are regulations concerning required leave, most notably:
- Sick and family leave
- Jury duty leave
- Voting time leave
- Domestic violence or sexual assault leave
- Emergency response leave
- Organ and bone donation leave
- School leave
- Military leave
Sick and family leave
First and foremost, it's important to mention that employers in the State of Maryland are required to provide for sick leave accrual.
Non-exempt employees can earn 1 hour of sick or family leave for every 30 hours worked.
In this way, they can accrue up to 40 hours of sick leave per year.
Secondly, the employee can take sick leave for:
- Healing from an injury, whether mental or physical,
- Caring for a family member with an injury or condition, whether mental or physical,
- Obtaining preventative medical care for themselves or a family member, and
- Parental leave for the birth or adoption of a child.
Employers with 15 or more employees are required to provide paid sick leave, while employers with 14 or fewer employees aren't required to pay for the sick leave.
NOTE: On March 30th, 2022, the Maryland House of Delegates passed a bill for establishing the so-called Time to Care Act. If successful, it will take effect on October 1st, 2023, when eligible employees will be entitled to 12 weeks of partially paid sick leave, and up to 24 weeks of paid leave for new parents.
Jury duty leave
According to Maryland Code, Court and Judicial Proceedings, employees who are summoned for jury duty have full legal protection and coverage in case of employer retaliation.
- An employer cannot discharge, threaten, or coerce an employee if they have lost work time, or refrained from work because it conflicts with their hours performing jury duty.
- An employer cannot require an employee to work certain hours if it conflicts with their jury duty hours. More notably, if the jury service lasts for more than 4 hours.
Voting time leave
During elections, Maryland Election Law from 2019 states that employers are required to provide employees who are registered voters 2 hours of paid voting time off.
Employees are required to provide proof of voting on a form predetermined by the State Board.
Domestic violence or sexual assault leave
The already mentioned Maryland Healthy Working Family Act also covers employees who have been victims of domestic abuse themselves, or their immediate family members.
Employers should provide earned sick leave after an employee or their family member had suffered domestic, or sexual violence, or stalking.
The leave is used for:
- Medical attention,
- Obtaining services from a protective organization,
- Legal services or proceedings, and
- Settling issues such as temporary relocation as a result of domestic or sexual violence, or stalking.
Emergency response leave
Employers are not allowed to discharge, demote, take pay cuts, or otherwise retaliate against employees who are members of:
- The Civil Air Patrol,
- Any Civil Defense organization,
- A volunteer fire department, or
- A rescue squad.
These employees are entitled to adequate time off as a response to emergency events declared by the Governor.
For state employees, this leave counts up to 15 days per year, but under two conditions:
- If the employee is certified by the American Red Cross as a volunteer, and
- If the said organization requests their services, in case of a Level 2 or higher-level disaster.
Organ and bone donation leave
For private enterprises, employers are required to provide up to 60 days of unpaid leave to employees undergoing organ donation, and up to 30 days of unpaid leave to those undergoing bone marrow donation.
For state employees, the leave counts up to 30 days for organ donation, and up to 7 days for bone marrow donation.
Maryland military leave law requires that employers provide 15 days of paid leave (while other days of leave will be unpaid) for employees who are members of a reserve unit of the armed forces, or organized militia.
This leave can be used in case of either deployment or military training.
Likewise, Maryland also recognizes Deployment Leave for the family of the members of the armed forces.
In businesses with 50 or more employees, if an employee has worked full time or part-time, for at least 1,250 hours in the past 12 months, they are entitled to a day off work on the day of their immediate family member's deployment.
Maryland non-required leave
Following is information concerning non-required leave in Maryland.
This type of leave is usually:
- Bereavement leave
- Vacation leave
- Holiday leave
Employers with 15 or more employees must provide paid bereavement leave.
For these instances, employees can only use earned leave (accrued days).
In regards to paid vacation leave in Maryland, state law says that employers aren't obligated to provide paid leave.
Should an employer choose to offer such benefits, they should be in line with the established policies of the company.
Private employers are not required to provide (un)paid holiday leave for employees, while individuals employed with the state have the right to 11 paid holidays per year.
Child labor laws in Maryland
When it comes to employing minors, any young person between the age of 14 and 17 needs to have a signed and approved work permit issued by the Maryland Department of Labor.
Here are some of the more specific Child labor laws for the State of Maryland.
Labor laws for minors under the age of 14
Persons who are under the age of 14 are not allowed to work in any form or capacity.
Labor laws for minors aged 14 and 15
Minors in this age group are required to have a valid working permit in order to be employed.
Their work hours are limited to the following conditions:
- On a school day — 3 hours
- On a non-school day — 8 hours
- On a school week — up to 18 hours
- On a non-school week — 40 hours
- Working between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. — except from June 1st until Labor Day, when they can work until 9:00 p.m.
Labor laws for minors aged 16 and 17
Minors in this age group are required to have a valid working permit in order to be employed.
At 16 and 17 years old, employed minors have less strict work hour designations.
The main rule is that they can't spend more than 12 hours per day at school and work combined.
For their own health and safety, they must have at least 8 consecutive hours of rest per 24 hours, during which they won't have school or work.
Prohibited occupations for minors in Maryland
All minors in Maryland have the same prohibited occupations, with no distinction regarding age. These include:
- Working in or about plants, or manufacturing related to explosives or items with explosive components,
- Working in logging, mining, any occupation with power-driven machinery (metalwork, wood processing, etc),
- Operating lifts, elevators, and other hoisting apparatuses,
- Cleaning, oiling, or any other form of machinery maintenance,
- Working around blast furnaces,
- Working at docks or wharves,
- Working at railroads,
- Driving motor vehicles,
- Erection and repair of electrical wires or components, and
- Working in distilleries (e.g. manufacturing, packaging, or bottling alcoholic beverages).
Maryland child labor law exemptions
Child labor laws allow for exemptions in cases where some occupations aren't considered employment.
These activities are performed outside a school day and don't involve any hazardous work. Some examples include the following:
- Minors employed by family members or relatives, so long as the minor is not 15 or under, and doing work in mining or manufacturing.
- Minors caddying on a golf course.
- Minors manufacturing evergreen wreaths in or about a home.
- Minors working on newspaper delivery.
- Minors working on an instructional sailboat as an instructor.
- Minors working as performers or entertainers (TV, radio, online, etc) — so long as the agency employing them provides all the vital information on hours worked and wages.
- Minors working as counselors or assistant counselors in certified Youth Camps.
Hiring laws in Maryland
Hiring laws in Maryland follow the same federal regulations as in the rest of the US.
In addition to them, the state also follows The Job Applicant Fairness Act, which prohibits employers from asking an applicant for their credit report, in order to decide whether to hire, discharge or change their pay rate.
Termination laws in Maryland
Maryland is a state following employment-at-will.
This means that employees working under contract can be terminated (or resign on their own) for any reason, at any moment.
The only caveat is that termination cannot be considered legal if it's due to discrimination or retaliation against an employee.
Final paycheck in Maryland
As stipulated by the Maryland Department of Labor, employers are required to pay all final wages to employees by the next payday, regardless of the cause of termination.
Discrimination laws in Maryland
With regards to discrimination, the State of Maryland Commission on Civil Rights regulates that every applicant and employee in Maryland is granted protection in the workplace from discrimination based on:
- Marital status,
- Sexual orientation,
- Gender identity,
- Genetic information, and
This means that the employers cannot:
- Discriminate on these bases when recruiting, hiring, making contracts for applicants, discharging, etc.
- Deny membership on these bases for apprenticeship programs.
- Ask discriminatory questions during job application, or circulate information that could affect potential employment.
- Publish job advertisements with discriminatory information/conditions.
This anti-discrimination law applies only to employers with 15 or more employees.
Still, complaints against harassment or discrimination can be filed regardless of the number of employees.
Occupational safety in Maryland
Maryland follows the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), but also has a subsidiary titled Maryland Occupational Safety and Health (MOSH).
It receives funding from federal and special sources, and is one of the 28 federal-approved State Plans in the U.S.
Aside from specific programs, MOSH offers the following services specifically tailored to the needs of businesses in Maryland:
- Consultations and on-site inspections
- Educational programs and outreach
- Setting and enforcing standards
- Working with businesses to continually improve workplace safety and health
You can find more information including service numbers for MOSH offices in each county, work and report forms, on the official MOSH page of the Maryland Department of Labor website. It is regularly updated with upcoming events and online webinars concerning workplace safety in various instances.
Miscellaneous Maryland labor laws
In this final section, we will go through some of the additional labor laws that are of public interest:
- Right-to-work laws
- Whistleblower protection laws
- Background check laws
- Employer use of social media regulations
- Employee monitoring laws
- Drug and alcohol testing laws
- Sexual harassment training laws
- COBRA laws
- Expense reimbursement laws
- Record-keeping laws
Maryland has no formally accepted right-to-work laws.
However, one section of their Labor and Employment code states that no employer can force an employee to:
- Become or remain a member of a labor organization,
- Resign from a labor organization, and
- Resign from their job or role if they are a part of, or wish to join a labor organization.
So, while there is no formal right-to-work law, there is a regulation protecting employees from being manipulated through (or for) labor union membership.
Whistleblower protection laws
Maryland Whistleblower law differentiates between whistleblowers in the public and the private sector.
For the public sector, an employer is not allowed to fire, threaten or discriminate against an employee if they report:
- A violation of the law,
- A substantial and specific danger to public health and safety,
- Mismanagement of state funds,
- Gross mismanagement,
- Gross waste of money, or
- Abuse of authority.
While the public sector guidelines are fairly straightforward, it's important to note that the State of Maryland takes whistleblower laws seriously.
Therefore, different laws apply depending on the following:
- The industry an employee works in,
- The gravity of misconduct being reported, and
- The type of misconduct being reported.
In short, reporting health safety concerns as a nurse will be under different rules than reporting, say, safety concerns as a project manager.
Background check laws
Maryland is among a great number of US states that follow the Ban the Box legislation.
According to this law, an employer is not allowed to ask about, or look into an applicant's criminal history until their first in-person interview.
The law applies to any business with 15 or more employees, and for any type of employment (seasonal, contractual, temporary), not just full-time employment.
The only exception to this rule is in cases where the criminal record bears a “rational relationship to the duties and responsibilities of the position”.
This express inquiry is allowed for occupations at the following:
- Security, and
- Financial and insurance institutions.
Employer use of social media regulations
With regards to employee privacy in the workplace, Maryland has the Username and Password Privacy Protection Law.
Because of this, an employer cannot ask an employee to provide their username and password for their private social media accounts, for any reason.
However, the employer is allowed to:
- Ask an employee for login credentials to any work-related, non-personal accounts that provide access to the employer's internal computer.
- Ask for an investigation of an employee's work-related computer, based on receipts of information about unauthorized downloads, financial data, or similar misconduct that could jeopardize business operations.
- Ask for an investigation of an employee's work-related computer to ensure compliance with financial and security laws.
The Employee monitoring law
The State of Maryland allows employers to conduct phone call surveillance in cases where it is essential for the job being performed (such as customer service calls).
Employers are generally prohibited from recording or tapping into employees' personal calls, or in-person conversations.
The only exception mandates having permission from all conversation participants.
Drug and alcohol testing laws
The state of Maryland recognizes several regulations concerning alcohol and drug testing in the workplace:
- While recreational use of marijuana is decriminalized, it is still illegal in Maryland. Therefore, an employer is allowed to discipline an employee who is also a medical marijuana patient, should they test positive in the workplace.
- Bodily samples such as blood, urine, hair, and saliva are allowed, but not breath — especially for breath alcohol testing.
- Employers are allowed to test for any controlled dangerous substance, so long as the samples are collected and processed by a licensed laboratory, and the reasons for the testing are justified.
- Employers must use either the licensed laboratories or those certified by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration.
Sexual harassment training laws
According to Maryland's anti-harassment training laws, all public employees should undergo 2 hours of sexual harassment prevention training, within 6 months of their employment date.
After the first training, employees should take another 2-hour session every two years.
Maryland follows the Federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), but also has its own regulation called the Maryland Continuation Coverage (MCC).
Since COBRA applies only to companies with 20 or more employees, small businesses are left without a regulation of their own.
MCC provides this aid to business owners with 19 employees or fewer.
For extensive information on prolonged health insurance after termination, we strongly advise looking into the official document comparing COBRA and MCC. The table provided gives specific information on eligibility, availability, and types of coverage provided by both plans.
Expense reimbursement laws
Maryland's Department of Budget and Management states that public employees are entitled to reimbursement for “meal and incidental expenses”.
Each year, new rates are calculated and published on the official website.
- Meal allowances
- Porter fees and hotel tips
- Transportation tips
According to The Maryland Department of Labor, each employer should keep, in or about the place of employment, for 3 years after termination, the following records on each individual employee:
- Rate of pay and the amount of each pay period
- Daily and weekly work hours
We hope this Maryland labor law guide has been helpful. We advise you to make sure you've paid attention to the links we've provided, as most of them will lead you to the official government websites and other relevant information.
Please note that this guide was written in Q2 2022, so any changes in the labor laws that were included later than that may not be included in this Maryland labor laws guide.
We strongly advise you to consult with the appropriate institutions and/or certified representatives before acting on any legal matters.
Clockify is not responsible for any losses or risks incurred, should this guide be used without further guidance from legal or tax advisors.
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