Maryland labor laws establish terms regarding wage payment, overtime, and other aspects of full-time employment. Employers also must follow the statutes in the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). When state and federal laws differ, employers should comply with the more stringent of the two. Maryland leaves various issues, including job termination and benefits, to the discretion of employers.
Employers in Maryland must pay the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour to employees. Paydays must take place at least once every two weeks or twice a month. Upon termination, employers must pay final wages no later than the next scheduled payday. Employers may reduce employees' wages as long as they provide advance notice of at least one pay period.
Maryland imposes no limit on the number of hours employers may schedule employees to work. Employers must pay overtime, at least 1.5 times the employee's standard wage, for all hours worked beyond 40 in a week. Employers do not owe overtime to "exempt" employees: those who work in an executive, administrative, or professional capacity and receive pay in the form of a salary rather than an hourly wage. Employers may not deduct payment from these exempt employees for any amount of missed work that is less than one full day. Some employers do not have to pay overtime to any employee. Examples are interstate trucking companies, hotels and motels, restaurants, gas stations, and private country clubs.
As an employment-at-will state, Maryland generally allows employers to fire employees for any reason and with no notice required. Certain exceptions exist. Employers may not violate anti-discrimination laws by firing employees on the basis of protected characteristics such as race or gender; employers also may not fire employees as a retaliatory action for filing workers' compensation claims or wage and overtime claims; for filing a complaint related to safety in the workplace; for refusing to commit a criminal act; or for reporting for military service or jury duty.
Paid Time Off
Employees do not have to provide lunch breaks or rest breaks to adult employees. If employers choose to offer breaks, they must continue to compensate employees during any break unless the break is more than 20 minutes long and employees do not have to stay at the work site. Employers do not have to offer paid time off in the form of vacation time, sick leave and holidays. If employers offer vacation time to employees, they must pay compensation for all accrued time upon termination unless a company policy explicitly says otherwise.
Jeffrey Nichols has been writing and editing since 1997. His work has appeared in the "Manassas (Va.) Journal Messenger" as well as daily publications in Pennsylvania and Illinois, covering sports, recreation, health and fitness, along with business and finance. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree and enjoys writing everything from practical articles to fiction.