Major bills impacting small businesses begin to see action
With bill introduction deadlines looming, policy makers in the General Assembly are rushing to get their legislative initiatives into the hopper.
Here are some of the major items that will impact Maryland small business:
House Bill 581/Senate Bill 486 – The “Essential Workers’ Protection Act” – this bill, as introduced, will have far-reaching consequences for nearly every small business in Maryland. While the definition of an “essential employer” and “emergency” are cause for concern, there are also other provisions troubling to the state’s job creators:
- Hazard Pay – employers required to pay workers defined as “essential” an additional $3 per hour in hazard pay
- Paid Leave – a new paid leave program whereby employers must provide 3 days of bereavement leave and 14 days of sick leave
- Right to Refuse Work – employees would be able to refuse work they deem hazardous without any clear definition or right by the employer to address potential abuse
NFIB OPPOSES HB581/SB486
Senate Bill 211/House Bill 375 – Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance – this bill creates a new paid family and medical leave insurance program administered by the state. The fund would provide up to 12 weeks of paid benefits to employees taking leave from work for family illness, birth of a child, and various other reasons outlined in the bill. The weekly benefit is based on the worker’s average weekly wage. Employers would evenly split the costs of the program with employees. The contribution rate would be 0.75% of an employee’s wages up to an including the Social Security’s wage base of $142,800 which means an employer may have to contribute a maximum of $536 per employee each year.
NFIB OPPOSES SB211/HB375
Senate Bill 496/House Bill 612 – Recovery for the Economy, Livelihoods, Industries, Entrepreneurs, and Families (RELIEF) Act – this Administration bill provides sought after financial assistance for Maryland small businesses. Among the provisions benefitting small businesses are:
- Sales tax credit of up to $3,000 per month for four consecutive months for small businesses that collect and remit the State’s sales and use tax credit
- A small business’s earned rate of contribution, used to establish an employer’s unemployment insurance taxes for the following year, will not be impacted by any claims made during fiscal 2020 or 2021
NFIB SUPPORTS SB496/HB375
The recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has drawn down the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund significantly. As a result, government officials are warning employers that UI payroll taxes will increase dramatically so the fund can remain solvent. NFIB is working with policy makers to mitigate that sudden hike by phasing the increase in over a number of years. Similar legislation was enacted in New Jersey earlier this year.
Other bills protecting Maryland small businesses from increased tax liabilities and getting them the financial assistance they need to stay afloat are sure to be introduced in the days ahead. Your Maryland team will continue to update you on these issues as the legislative session continues.
If you have any questions about NFIB’s priorities and legislation before the General Assembly that will impact your business, please contact NFIB in Maryland’s State Director Mike O’Halloran at [email protected].