The benefits of the Healthy Working Families Act (HB1) were clear to policymakers – safeguarding paid sick and safe leave for more than 700,000 Maryland families – which is why it passed both the House and Senate in Maryland’s last legislative session.But this new provision will not be in place this January as expected. Soon after the Maryland legislature was recessed, Governor Hogan – who has made economic growth one of his priorities – vetoed the bill and mobilized a taskforce to discuss the issue further. His criticism of the bill primarily focuses on the “job killing” nature that such leave would afford – although economic analysts and advocates disagree.

Take Washington, DC, for example. In 2015, they did an audit of their similar version of the sick and safe leave policy that passed in 2008. The audit revealed the following: “We found that the Sick and Safe Leave Act is having minimal impact on employers. Our survey of District businesses showed that fewer than 10 percent of survey respondents reported a negative impact on their profitability. More than 50 percent reported that it had no impact or actually improved profitability.” The Economic Policy Institute testified before the legislature, expressing their support for the Healthy Working Families Act. In that testimony given by Elise Gould, PhD, Senior Economist and Director of Health Policy Research, Economic Policy Institute noted…continue reading