Gov. Larry Hogan Vetoes Paid Sick Leave Bill

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ/AP) — Gov. Larry Hogan said he’s vetoing a bill that would require businesses with 15 or more employees to provide five days of paid sick leave.

The Republican governor announced Thursday he believes the bill is “simply very bad policy” and would hurt small businesses.

This bill has been in the works for years and although it’s hit a major road-bump on the governor’s desk, lawmakers say the fight for paid sick days is not over.

Some Maryland workers will still not be guaranteed paid sick days off.

“This legislation is an ill-conceived, poorly written, complicated, confusing, and in-flexible mess,” Hogan said.

Earlier this year, Democrats rejected Hogan’s version of the bill, which provided incentives for companies offering paid leave.

“I think at this point, it really is a ‘wait and see what happens,'” employment and labor attorney Fiona Ong said.

Ong said this veto is a win for many small businesses in Maryland.

“My clients certainly don’t oppose some sort of paid sick leave, but to have a one size fits all mandate is really complicated and very burdensome on smaller employers in particular,” Ong said.

The bill would have impacted thousands of small Baltimore shops and restaurants; any business with more than 15 employees, but that’s a good thing, if you ask Baltimore Bicycle Works.

The cooperative offers paid sick leave to employees starting day one.

“I think that 15, 10, 5 employees– if you’re in a position where you’re hiring people, it’s your responsibility as a business owner to do right by your employees,” said Bernardo Vijil of Baltimore Cycle Works.

Delegate Luke Clippinger said after five years of fighting for paid sick leave he isn’t going down without a fight.

“I don’t believe there will be a special session called for this, I believe we’ll override the governor’s veto in January,” he said.

That override could be a challenge. The loss of a single vote in the Senate would make it impossible.

Similar sick leave laws are in place in other parts of the country, including Washington D.C.

Hogan, who proposed his own paid sick leave bill that did not advance in the Democrat-led legislature, says he could support a “common sense” proposal. He urged Democrats to work with him to get a bill passed early next year.

The governor said he is signing executive orders relating to the issue. One creates a task force to study the issue further. Another provides paid sick leave to contractual employees in the executive branch.

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(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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