House Bill (HB) 1018/Senate Bill (SB) 780 amends the Maryland Economic Stabilization Act, which previously set forth certain voluntary notification procedures for employers that plan to implement reductions in operations. Under the previous law, employers were “encouraged,” but not required, to provide 90 days’ advance notice of a layoff. There were no specific penalties if an employer failed to take any action.
The new legislation, which took effect October 1, 2020, dramatically changes what a Maryland employer must do in the event of a reduction in operations. In addition to creating specific requirements to provide notification to all affected employees, their unions, elected officials, and the state, the new law also provides significant penalties in the event a Maryland employer ignores the new responsibilities. The Maryland Department of Labor (MDOL) may assess a civil penalty of up to $10,000 for each day an employer fails to comply with the new law. Let’s take a closer look at this significant legislation.
The new law applies to employers with at least 50 employees operating industrial, commercial, or business enterprises in Maryland. It’s unclear whether employees for Maryland companies who work out of state need to be counted in determining coverage. There are, however, some specific individuals who aren’t counted when determining coverage, including employees who average less than 20 hours per week or have worked for the employer for less than 6 months in the preceding year.
The mandatory notice requirements don’t apply in certain reductions in operations, including those that result solely from labor disputes, occur at construction sites or other temporary workplaces, result from seasonal factors ...