impactnews: MD General Assembly Overrides Veto to Enact Paid Sick/Safe Leave Measure into Law

Maryland State House

The Maryland General Assembly this month completed its override of the governor’s earlier veto of the “Maryland Healthy Working Families Act,” enacting into law a measure that requires businesses with at least 15 workers to provide five paid sick/safe leave days per year.

The new law is set to take effect on February 11, 2018.

Under the measure, an employee earns at least one hour of paid sick and safe leave for every 30 hours an employee works. In addition, employers with 14 or fewer employees must have a corresponding policy that provides an employee with at least 40 hours of unpaid sick and safe leave.

The measure covers all Maryland employees with exceptions. For instance, it does not apply to employees who regularly work less than 12 hours a week; independent contractors; associate real estate brokers and real estate salespersons; individuals younger than age 18; workers in the agricultural sector; construction workers covered in a collective bargaining agreement if terms relating to the waiver of paid leave are included in the agreement; employees who work on an as-needed basis in a health or human services industry; or specified employees of a temporary services or employment agency.

Employees eligible under the new law are entitled to use earned sick and safe leave to:

  • Care for or treat the employee’s mental or physical illness, injury or condition
  • Obtain preventive medical care for the employee or employee’s family member
  • Care for a family member with a mental or physical illness, injury or condition for maternity or paternity leave
  • Absences due to domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking committed against the employee or the employee’s family member
  • Obtain services from a victim services organization
  • Obtain legal services

Maryland joins eight other states — Connecticut, California, Massachusetts, Oregon, Vermont, Arizona, Washington and Rhode Island — plus smaller jurisdictions that include the District of Columbia and Montgomery County (MD) that have enacted similar paid leave laws.

If you have questions or need guidance in adjusting your policies to comply with this new law, please contact an impactHR team member via email at or phone 443-741-3900.

OSHA Form 300A Must Be Posted Beginning Feb. 1

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reminds employers to post (for employees) the OSHA Form 300A, which comprises a summary of the total number of job-related injuries and illnesses that occurred in 2017.

This form must be certified by a company executive and posted between February 1 and April 30, 2018 in a conspicuous location where notices to employees are placed.

If you need assistance with OSHA compliance, please contact an impactHR team member via email at or phone 443-741-3900.

Tracey Ellison, former VP of HR with Carroll Hospital, Joins impactHR

Tracey Ellison, MS, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, has joined impactHR as Senior Consultant, Client Services. Ellison – an HR executive with more than 20 years of leadership experience in health care, banking, insurance and consulting – most recently served as the Vice President of Human Resources for Carroll Hospital, a LifeBridge Health center, with oversight of organizational development, employee engagement and effective corporate-wide HR processes.

Ellison’s experience in HR is wide-ranging, encompassing technology and operations and designing HR strategies that maximize efficiencies and the employee experience. She also is expert in working closely with organizations to implement high-impact programs for change management, talent acquisition, leadership development and compensation/benefits.

Ellison’s professional career also includes HR management roles with The Travelers Companies and Citibank, Citicorp Credit Services. In addition to her professional work, she continues to serve as the Director of Workforce Readiness for the Chesapeake Human Resources Association and Secretary for the Board of Directors for the Carroll County Society for Human Resources Management. She also serves on the Human Resources Committee of the Board for Carroll Lutheran Village. Learn more

Webinar: Avoid Growing Pains in the Federal Marketplace, Wed., Feb. 7

If you’re a government contractor or interested in becoming one, register for our upcoming complimentary webinar on how to “Avoid Growing Pains in the Federal Marketplace,” Wednesday, February 7, 12:30pm- 1:15pm EST.

This webinar’s topic focus will cover how you can position your company for profitable growth as a federal contractor.

Please join Shirley Collier, President, Scale2Market, LLC and impactHR’s Kelly Mitchell for this discussion with Q&A on navigating your company’s growth path in the federal marketplace.

Key areas of focus will include:
How do you attract and retain the type of business-development professionals who will help your business grow?
What business development strategies can help you win contracts?
What federal regulations can hobble your growth plans?
What steps can you take to ensure you adhere to the complex array of federal contracting regulations?

To learn more and to register, click here.

EEOC Issues Guidelines to Prevent Harassment in the Workplace

The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently issued guidelines to help employers address and prevent harassment in the workplace and mitigate employer liability.

The EEOC, in its recently released Report of the Co-Chairs of EEOC’s Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace, set five core principles the report asserts have “generally proven effective in preventing and addressing harassment”:

  • Committed and engaged leadership
  • Consistent and demonstrated accountability
  • Strong and comprehensive harassment policies
  • Trusted and accessible complaint procedures
  • Regular, interactive training tailored to the organization

The EEOC points out these practices are “not legal requirements under federal employment discrimination laws,” but they may “enhance employers’ compliance efforts.”

The EEO recommends that employers consider implementing a concrete set of policies to prevent harassment, that include developing a:

  • Harassment policy that is comprehensive, easy to understand and regularly communicated to all employees
  • Harassment complaint system that is fully resourced, accessible to all employees, has multiple avenues for making a complaint and is regularly communicated to all employees
  • Process to regularly and effectively train all employees about the harassment policy and complaint system
  • Process to regularly and effectively train supervisors and managers about how to prevent, recognize and respond to objectionable conduct
  • Discipline framework that is prompt, consistent and proportionate to the severity of the harassment conduct, such as retaliation, when it’s been determined to have occurred.

impactAction: Employers who have any knowledge about harassment, even alleged harassment, and who fail to take appropriate action, can be held liable. Taking proactive steps, such as these outlined above, may help to minimize risk for your organization and help protect your employees from harassment and its debilitating effects.

If you need assistance in crafting policies and training programs to prevent workplace harassment, please contact an impactHR team member via email at or phone 443-741-3900.

Holding On to your Talent via an Employee Retention Plan

For employers, the return of better business conditions and new hiring means potential job candidates have more choices in picking their next job. It also means employers can’t afford to lose their talent.

A recent Deloitte Consulting report, for example, found the total cost of an employee’s voluntary departure varies from “tens of thousands of dollars to 1.5-2X annual salary.”

For employers, one way to stay ahead of this is to create a formal employee retention plan. To start, determine the extent to which turnover is (or isn’t) a problem in your organization. Diagnosing your turnover, for instance, involves knowing how many employees leave voluntarily relative to those involuntarily dismissed. Your turnover rate may be the occasional exit of poor performers.

Or your rate may be related to unavoidable factors, such as when an employee has health problems or they return to school. Your turnover rate also can be impacted by relatively avoidable factors such as not doing more to provide internal job opportunities and promotions.

Key questions to ask: is turnover a problem in my organization? How many people are leaving over a period of time? Who is leaving in terms of roles? What are the relative costs and benefits of our current turnover?

It’s also important to know if your employees are happy and satisfied and whether you’re meeting their needs – both professionally and personally.

A troubling turnover rate can lead to dysfunction internally when the wrong people are leaving. The key is taking time to set up a system in which you can evaluate your turnover rate and take steps to retain those employees you can’t afford to see walk out the door.