On his first day in office, Governor Larry Hogan pledged he would never support any action that would make it harder for Maryland’s families and small businesses to grow and succeed. By vetoing the paid sick leave initiative passed by my colleagues’ earlier this year, I believe Governor Hogan is once again holding firm on that promise.
House Bill 1 mandates Maryland businesses with fifteen or more employees to offer paid sick leave to their workers. This bill was put through without adequate engagement and discussion with the business community in rural areas. In an attempt to meet everyone’s unique needs, my colleagues drafted a bill that did not reflect all businesses. This initiative will be more costly for those in the long-run due to unintended consequences, as well as additional standards and regulations put forward by the government. The fact is the vast majority of businesses in our area are not large, wealthy corporations, but small, local restaurants, services, and boutiques. I believe it is not the role of the government and state legislature to micromanage businesses. As legislators, we should help to establish simple, broad standards that can be met by all businesses.
A number of small businesses contacted my office this past legislative session to express their concerns over this initiative. I spoke with a local health and human services business regarding the impact this bill may have on their as-need basis employees. This concern was addressed and these agencies were exempt from this mandate. However, minor exemptions still do not address the fear among many businesses in rural areas. Business owners worry they cannot afford to provide paid sick leave to all employees, risking the potential for job loss in our community. Due to the feedback I received, I voted against this initiative and stand with Governor Hogan in support of a more common-sense approach that involves bringing together businesses throughout the state to discuss this further.
Last month, Governor Hogan announced an executive order that would create a task force to study the impact paid sick leave may have on small businesses in Maryland. I look forward to reviewing the recommendations from the task force and addressing this concern next legislative session.
The Committee on Paid Leave has developed an online survey tool for businesses and employees to use to solicit feedback. This survey is available athttp://www.dllr.maryland.gov/paidleave/. I encourage all local businesses and employees to complete this online survey!
As your State Senator, I will continue to work towards improving the everyday life of all businesses and residents in District 37. Hope you all have a blessed and safe summer!
-Senator Addie C. Eckardt