Maryland House and Senate committees heard testimony on dueling mandatory paid leave bills late last week.
The Maryland Chamber testified that the proposed legislation, as written, does not line up with previously established Maryland labor law thresholds. The Chamber echoed the sentiment of multiple panelists, that employers are the ones who should determine the paid leave policy that best suits their individual business and their employee’s needs.
In addition to that testimony, the Chamber assembled panels of members to testify against proposed legislation in both hearings, bringing strong voices on multiple points of contention with the bills.
On Thursday, Feb. 9, the Senate Finance Committee heard testimony on Senate Bill 230 and Senate Bill 305. The committee pressed the SB230 panel, with Senator Hershey raising concerns about the costs to taxpayers, which he tabulated to be over $10 million. The National Federation of Independent Businesses – Maryland, a member of the Maryland Business Coalition, called the proposed legislation “wholly unworkable for the business community.” Another member of the Maryland Business Coalition, the Maryland Retailers Association, repeated its assertion that workers cannot take leave from a job that doesn’t exist, driving the point that hours will be cut and jobs will be cut should proposed mandatory paid leave legislation pass. The Howard County Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Maryland Chamber, voiced its members’ concerns, testifying that “one size does not fit all” and that the private sector - the employers - are the ones in the best position to determine the benefits to offer employees.
On Friday, Feb. 10, the House Economic Matters Committee had its turn, hearing testimony on proposed mandatory paid leave legislation House Bill 1 and House Bill 382. Delegate Miller took issue with the increased costs to businesses under HB1. Multiple Maryland Chamber member restaurants testified that the cost of a bill like HB1 in such a labor-centered industry as theirs would likely lead to layoffs. NFIB Maryland testified that the bill’s provisions would hurt both employers and employees, driving businesses out of the state and calling the bill “anything but a job creator.”
Industry groups like the Maryland Association of Counties testified that implementing a mandatory paid leave bill like HB1 would be an administrative nightmare that would negatively impact the services they offer. Chamber-member business owners from across the state went before the committee, testifying on the burdensome nature of the mandatory paid leave bills – additional costs to implement, increased expenses to be in compliance and the sanctions and penalties being too punitive.
Members can log in to our Member Only section to read more about the Chamber’s position on these bills.