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Maryland Employee Handbook

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Maryland handbook policies

Maryland employee handbook overview

When it comes to constructing your Maryland employee handbook, it is essential to include both state-specific and federal policies. Whether all of your employees are in Maryland or only a small number, you will require a Maryland-specific handbook to ensure that your employees are aware of the policies and rights provided by their state. 

The necessary state policies for Maryland, federally required policies, and other discretionary policies are all listed below.

What should be included in a Maryland employee handbook?

Maryland Employee Handbook Overview

When it comes to constructing your Maryland employee handbook, it is essential to include both state-specific and federal policies. Whether all of your employees are in Maryland or only a small number, you will require a Maryland-specific handbook to ensure that your employees are aware of the policies and rights provided by their state. 

The necessary state policies for Maryland, federally required policies, and other discretionary policies are all listed below.

What should be included in a Maryland Employee Handbook?

Every handbook should include Federal, State, and (if applicable) City-specific policies.  Below are Maryland-specific policies that should be included in your handbook. 

  • Maryland Sick Leave Policy: Employers are required to provide their employees with either paid or unpaid leave, depending on the total number of employees in the company (not just Maryland employees).
  • Maryland Final Paycheck Policy: Employers are required to provide the employee with their final paycheck in accordance with the timeline of when they would receive it had they remained employed.
  • Maryland Victim Leave Policy: Employers are required to provide leave for employees who have been, or whose family or household members have been, the victim of a criminal act.
  • Maryland Lactation Accommodations Policy: Reasonable accommodations are required to be provided for nursing mothers.
  • Maryland Flexible Leave Act Policy: Employees may take paid bereavement leave after the death of a family member, or paid leave to care for an ill family member.
  • Maryland Voting Leave Policy: Employers are required to provide employees with paid leave for voting.
  • Maryland Bone Marrow and Organ Donation Leave Policy:Employers are required to provide employees with unpaid leave to donate bone marrow or an organ to another person.
  • Maryland Parental Leave Act Policy: Employers are required to provide unpaid leave to an employee for the birth, adoption, or foster placement of a child.
  • Maryland Emergency Response Leave Policy: Members of the Maryland Civil Air Patrol are entitled to leave when called to service.
  • Maryland Jury Duty Leave Policy: Employers are required to provide leave for employees summoned to jury duty service.

City-specific policies that should be included in your Maryland Employee Handbook

Some states have cities or counties that require specific policies to be included for employees that are based there. 

  • Baltimore, MD Specific Policies
    • Baltimore Lactation Accommodations Policy: Reasonable accommodations are required to be provided for nursing mothers in accordance with the “Ordinance”.
  • Montgomery County, MD Specific Policies
    • Montgomery County Sick and Safe Leave Policy: Employers are required to provide paid leave to employees for various reasons relating to health, safety, or family/childcare.
  • Prince George’s County, MD Specific Policies
    • Earned Sick and Safe Leave: Employees can accrue and use paid leave for absence connected to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

Maryland Sick Leave Law

Maryland's paid sick leave law, established under the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act, requires employers to provide paid sick leave to their employees. This law, effective since February 11, 2018, aims to ensure that workers in Maryland can take time off for health-related reasons without losing their income.

Nearly all employers are required to provide sick leave and the primary distinction is between paid and unpaid leave. Employers with 15 or more employees are required to provide paid sick leave. Employers with fewer than 15 employees must provide unpaid sick leave.

Here are a few key takeaways on the Maryland’s Sick Leave policy:

  • Employees accrue 1 hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 40 hours per year.
  • Sick leave can be used for the employee's or a family member's physical or mental health care, including diagnosis, treatment, preventive care, and certain absences related to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
  • Employers must keep records of sick leave accrued and used by employees for at least three years.
  • They must also provide employees with a statement of available sick leave balance upon request or on a regular basis with each pay period.
  • Employers may require up to 7 days' notice for foreseeable leave and as soon as practicable for unforeseeable leave.
Paid Sick Leave FAQ

Are employers allowed to ask for documentation for sick leave use?

Yes, for leave lasting more than two consecutive scheduled shifts, employers may request reasonable documentation to verify the need for sick leave.

What protections does the law provide for employees?

How should Maryland employers handle employees with different part-time schedules when accruing sick leave?

What constitutes a "family member" under Maryland's paid sick leave law?

Create your Maryland employee handbook now

Federal Policies

Don’t forget about Federal Policies

There are policies required by federal law in all 50 states, and so they must be included in your handbook no matter what state your employees are based in.  Some of the most important policies are outlined here, however, all federal policies should be included in your handbook.

  • Equal Employment and Anti-Discrimination Policy
  • Sexual Harassment Policy
  • Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Policy (required for companies with 50 or more employees)
  • Military Service Leave
  • Get the full list of federal policies from the free handbook template builder
Federal handbook policies

Additional Policies

Other Policies to Include in Your Maryland Employee Handbook

  • Workplace Violence
  • Employee Conduct and Work Rules
  • Conflict of Interest and Business Ethics
  • Receipt of Non-Harassment Policy
  • Receipt of Sexual Harassment Policy
  • Health and Safety
  • Confidential Company Information
  • Insurance
  • Workers’s Compensation
  • Open Door Policy
  • Equipment and Property Including Intellectual Property
  • Sick Days
  • No Solicitation / No Distribution
  • Benefits Overview
  • Use of Communication and Computer Systems
  • Punctuality and Attendance
  • Holidays
  • Vacation Benefits
  • Benefits
  • Working Schedule
  • Employment Records
  • Inspections
  • Smoking
  • Pay Day
  • Overtime
  • Timekeeping
  • Employee Categories
  • Performance Reviews
  • Lactation Breaks
  • Direct Deposit
  • Company Vehicles
  • Personal and Company Owned Communication Devices
  • Personal Visitors and Telephone Calls
  • Hiring Relatives
  • Business Expense Reimbursement
  • Social Media Policy
  • Introductory Period
  • General Handbook Acknowledgment
  • References

Employee handbook requirements by state

Click on a state to learn more about policies and recommendations.

Poster Requirements

Maryland labor law posters

Understanding labor law poster requirements can be a bit like trying to decode a complex puzzle. You need to comply with both state and federal requirements.

Why Should I Care About Displaying Posters?

You might be wondering why it's so important to display these posters in the first place. State and Federal laws mandate that employers must have up-to-date labor law posters conspicuously displayed for their employees. Failing to do so not only results in steep fines (up to $35,000 in federal fines and additional state fines) but also exposes you to real liability.

Consider this scenario: if an employee decides to bring a lawsuit against your company, and you don't have the required posters or they are outdated, you could face even more significant problems:

  1. Statute of Limitations: Normally, there's a limited window within which an employee can file a lawsuit against you. However, if you didn't inform your employees of their rights through proper poster display, a court might decide that the statute of limitations doesn't apply.

  2. Operating in Bad Faith: Courts may determine that you were intentionally withholding information from your employees, which could lead to a finding that you were operating in bad faith. This can substantially increase your liability.

What Are the Requirements for Displaying Labor Law Posters?

Labor law posters must be displayed at every physical location where you have employees, and they need to be conspicuously displayed for all to see.

  • If you have a hybrid workplace with both in-person and remote employees, you'll need physical posters at your facilities and electronic distribution to your off-site workers.
  • For fully remote companies, you can distribute posters electronically by sharing a permanent link to the appropriate posters.
  • Some posters also need to be visible to job applicants, such as FMLA, Equal Employment Opportunity, and Employee Polygraph Protection posters, as per the guidance provided by the Department of Labor.

What Labor Law Posters Do I Need to Display?

You'll need both Federal and State labor law posters for each state where you have employees. The good news is that all the posters you need are provided for free by the federal government and state departments of labor. You've probably seen those convenient "all-in-one" laminated posters, but if you prefer, everything you need is also available as a free, printable document from the Maryland Department of Labor.

Federal Poster Requirements

Determining which federal posters you're required to display can be influenced by various factors, including your industry, the size of your company, benefits you provide and union affiliation.

The good news is that there's a handy tool to help you understand precisely which federal posters your company needs. You can use the Federal Poster Advisor tool  to determine your specific federal poster requirements.

Maryland Labor Law Poster Requirements

You can refer to the Maryland Department of Labor for free, printable posters.

Download Maryland labor law posters here
Pay Transparency

Maryland pay transparency law

Pay transparency laws mandate that employers disclose salary ranges for positions to job applicants, and sometimes even to existing employees. The primary objectives of these laws are to reduce gender and racial wage gaps and to foster a more equitable and competitive job market. These laws vary in terms of scope, with some applying to all employers and others targeting businesses of a certain size or type.

  • Maryland’s Equal Pay for Equal Work law requires employers with 15 or more employees to provide a wage range upon request of the job applicant.
  • The law prohibits employers from requesting an employee's wage history to prevent reliance on past earnings to set wages.
  • Penalties for non-compliance include a fine of up to $600 per violation.

Learn more about pay transparency laws by state
Let’s build this thing!

What’s included with the handbook builder

Creating a new handbook only takes a few minutes. And it’s easy. You can get started by answering a few interactive questions about your company. A few examples:

  • How many employees do you have?
  • Do you have employees in multiple states?
  • Do you have an introductory period for new employees?
  • Do you offer paid holidays?
  • What is your payroll schedule?

Company culture

Communicating your company culture

In all businesses, building a strong company culture can be essential to boosting morale and aligning employees. Arguably, it is even more key for small businesses. With a small team, the impact of a strong culture is made more apparent. Here are some important things to remember when building a strong company culture.

Evaluate Your Current Culture

Since company culture is primarily determined at the top, here are some key questions to ask your leadership team to evaluate where your culture currently stands:

  • Are we open about how things work at our company?
  • Do our employees know what is expected of them?
  • Do we value our employee’s feedback?
  • How do we demonstrate that our employees are valued? 
  • What are our company values?
  • Do we clearly express these values? 

Set Your Goals

From your answers to the previous questions, pinpoint what is lacking and make goals to improve on those areas. This could mean having clearer communication for employee expectations, defining company values, or creating monthly team-building activities to build morale. 

Respecting Employee’s Work-Life Balance

A large part of communicating that your company values its employees is demonstrating respect for their lives outside of work. A strong employee handbook can allow this to be done in a clear, effective way. Company leaders should detail expectations, but also be open about their own work-life balance to build transparency. Trust is key in a great company, and when leaders show genuine empathy for employee responsibilities at home, a foundation for transparency and cooperation is built. 

The Link Between Culture and Happiness

Many surveys and analyses of employee feedback indicate that the majority of employees care as much about the culture of the company they work for as their salary.  In small companies, culture is frequently undervalued. In order to reduce turnovers and increase recruitment, companies need to understand that there is a link between strong culture and the one important question employees think about regularly: “Am I happy working here?”.

Understanding and Communicating Your Company’s Culture

In order to effectively communicate your company’s culture, you need to understand it. By asking your team the right questions, setting goals, and valuing employees, you can be sure to be on the right track. 

Communicating this culture is an essential next step toward aligning with your employees. Not every culture is a good fit for every employee, and being honest upfront is important for making sure you are hiring employees best aligned not only with the skills a company requires, but the culture of the workplace. Research shows that when looking for a job, 77% of people polled would consider a company’s culture and work atmosphere before applying. By clearly communicating your company culture up front, you can ensure that more candidates who align with your team values will apply for a position.

Creating an editable handbook

How to create your new small business handbook

  • Get an up-to-date handbook
  • Edit online or download Word Doc
  • Includes essential policies
  • EEOC, harassment and discrimination policies
  • Customizable optional policies

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