It’s important to stay up to date on all of the employment laws in your state so that you can maintain compliance in your business. We did some of the hard work for you and put some of the most important Maryland statutes in one place so you can either learn them for the first time or give yourself a refresher. 

However, remember that our summary is not qualified legal advice, laws are always subject to change, and they can vary from municipality to municipality. 

It’s up to you to make sure you’re compliant with all laws and statutes in your area. Consult with a qualified lawyer and/or your local government agencies if you have questions or concerns. 

Here are a few Maryland labor laws every small business owner should know.


First, here are a few helpful links and resources for you to bookmark and refer back to:


  • Sick Days: Employers with 15 or more employees must provide paid sick leave
    • Employees with 14 or fewer employees must provide unpaid sick leave. 
  • Medical Leave: Employers may be required to provide leave in accordance with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act
  • Vacation Leave: Employers are not required to provide vacation leave but must comply with their own established policies if they choose to implement one. 
    • Employees must be paid for any accrued vacation time upon separation of employment, if the employer’s established policy is silent on the matter. 
    • Employers may establish a policy disqualifying employees from receiving payment for accrued vacation upon separation from employment if they fail to comply with certain requirements. 
    • The amount of vacation time an employee can accrue may be capped by the employer as long as the employee has been notified in writing. 
    • Employers can implement a “use-it-or-lose-it” policy that requires employees to use their vacation time by a set date, as long as employees have been informed in writing. 
  • Jury Duty: Employers do not have to pay employees for time spent responding to a jury summons, but employees cannot be terminated or otherwise penalized for doing so. 
  • Holiday Leave: Private employers are not required to provide paid or unpaid holiday leave, but must comply with any established policies if they choose to implement them. 
  • Voting Leave: Employees must be allowed to take 2 hours of paid leave to vote as long as the employee does not have enough off-duty time to make it to the polls. 
    • Employees may be required to show employers proof that they voted. 
  • Bereavement Leave: Employers are not required to provide bereavement leave, but may be required to comply with any bereavement policy they may have. 

Final Paycheck

  • Employers must pay all employees who separate from employment (including those who resigned or were terminated, laid off or suspended) their final paycheck by the next scheduled payday. 

Minimum Wage

  • The current minimum wage in Maryland is $11, except in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties. 
  • The minimum wage will increase as follows for large employers with 15 or more employers over the next few years:
    • January 1, 2021 – $11.75
    • January 1, 2022 – $12.50
    • January 1, 2023 – $13.25
    • January 1, 2024 – $14.00
    • January 1, 2025 – $15.00
  • For small employers with 14 employees or fewer, the minimum wage will increase as follows:
    • January 1, 2020 – $11.00
    • January 1, 2021 – $11.60
    • January 1, 2022 – $12.20
    • January 1, 2023 – $12.80
    • January 1, 2024 – $1340
    • January 1, 2025 – $14.00
    • January 1, 2026 – $14.60
    • July 1, 2026 – $15.00

Tipped Wages

  • The current minimum wage for tipped employees is $3.63.
  • Employers must ensure their tipped employees are making the regular minimum wage rate of $10.10 with the combined tipped minimum wage and their tips. If they are not, the employer must make up the difference. 
  • If employees spend more than 20% of their time performing non-tipped duties, the employer must pay them the standard minimum wage for that time. 
  • Mandatory service charges do not count as tips, even if the employee collects them.
  • Employers may also pay employees a set amount that represents the tips of the employee during a workweek. 
    • If an employee is paid using a set tip amount system, they may assert with the Maryland Department of Labor that they really received a lower tip amount than the set amount paid. 

Child Labor

  • All minors under the age of 18 must obtain a work permit before starting a new job. 
  • Minors 14 and 15 years of age may only work between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. during the school year and between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. during the summer. 
    • When school is in session, they may only work 18 hours a week, 3 hours a day on school days and 8 hours a day on the weekends and holidays. 
      • They may not work more than 6 days a week. 
    • When school is not in session, they may work a maximum of 40 hours a week, 8 hours a day, and 6 days a week. 
  • Minors 16 and 17 years of age may only work between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. on school nights. However, if the establishment stops serving customers at 10 p.m., they may work until 10:15. 
    • They may work between 6 a.m. and 11:30 p.m. on non-school nights. 
      • Restaurants and racetracks may employ 16 and 17 year olds until midnight on non-school nights. 
    • Regardless of whether or not school is in session, they may work a maximum of 48 hours a week, 9 hours a day, and 6 days a week. 

Meal and Rest Breaks, Overtime

  • Employers are required to pay employees an overtime rate of 1 ½ time their regular pay when they work more than 40 hours in a workweek, unless otherwise exempt. 
  • Employers must provide a 30-minute break to minor employees for every 5 consecutive hours of work. 
  • The Healthy Retail Employee Act requires retail establishments with 50 or more retail employees to provide the following breaks:
    • 4-6 consecutive hours of work – 15-minute break
    • 6-8 consecutive hours of work – 30-minute break
    • 8 or more consecutive hours of work – 30-minute break, plus a 15-minute break for every additional 4 hours of work

Employment Discrimination

  • Maryland law prohibits employers from discriminating against job candidates and employees based on race, color, religion, ancestry or national origin, sex, age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or genetic information.
  • Click here to read our blog on what acceptable and unacceptable questions to ask during an interview.       


Maryland is an employment-at-will state, which means that without a written employee contract, employees can be terminated for any reason at any time, provided that the reason is not discriminatory and that the employer is not retaliating against the employee for a rightful action. 

Shift Scheduling

There are currently no laws regarding shift scheduling in Maryland. 

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