Don't delay Maryland sick leave law

Over the objections of advocates who worked nearly six years to pass a law requiring most Maryland businesses to allow workers to earn paid sick leave, the state Senate has passed emergency legislation to suspend the effective date of the new law by five months until July 1 (“Maryland Senate votes to delay paid sick leave until July, days before law set to take effect,” Feb. 8). Such a delay would cost 700,000 workers across Maryland at least 1 million sick days. Supporters of the delay claim it’s essential to give the Hogan administration time to create new guidelines and for businesses to implement them. The delay punishes workers for Gov. Larry Hogan’s Trump-like ineptitude. That’s wrong.

Most Maryland businesses already offer paid sick leave for white collar employees, but not for lower level, lower paid workers. Automated payroll services and software now advertise the ease of integrating of sick leave compliance, often at no additional cost. How is it that they can make it work for the CEO, but not the person who empties the wastebasket or empties the bedpan?

Expanding sick leave should be a priority for every lawmaker with a heart, a spine, or just plain common sense. The very voters who the need earned sick leave the most are the ones we struggle to keep engaged in the political process because these cynical votes make the system seem rigged for big business and the wealthy.

Charly Carter, Baltimore

The writer is director of Maryland Working Families.

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