Maryland Labor Laws: A Complete Guide to Wages, Breaks, Overtime, and More (2024)

In this article, we’ll dive deep into Maryland’s labor laws, with details on all the important aspects of the state’s regulations on your employees.

Are you a business owner in Maryland? Have you been thinking about starting a business in Maryland?

If that’s the case, this guide can help you ensure you remain fully compliant with the state’s labor laws.

Labor laws in the Free State, as Maryland is sometimes called, can create a steep landscape with winding passages, through which a wrong turn can lead you straight into civil lawsuits, big-money fines, or even imprisonment. As such, it’s important to become familiar with at least some of the many different state-specific employment regulations the Maryland state government uses to oversee its labor force.

The objective for this article is a simple one: to provide you with everything you need to understand labor laws in Maryland, ensuring a healthy, conducive, and productive work environment. If you’re looking for the laws of another state, this is just one of our 50-part guide to U.S. labor laws from all the states.

Let’s get started and explore Maryland’s labor laws.

Meals and Breaks in Maryland

62% of American workers say they eat lunch at their desks.

Maryland has no specific state regulation concerning employee breaks. However, there is special mention of a law that protects employed minors. This law states that minors must be provided a 30-minute break for every five consecutive hours worked. 

Without a state-specific law governing worker break times in Maryland, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) reigns supreme. Per the federal law on break time, employers must abide by two rules:

Employers must be aware of federal regulations and any industry-specific standards that may impact break policies. Additionally, individual employment contracts or collective bargaining agreements may address break requirements, so employers and employees should review applicable documents for any specific provisions.

Maryland also abides by the Healthy Retail Employee Act, which specifies that an employer must provide (un)paid breaks if they own a retail establishment that:

  • Primarily sells goods to customers on-premises (physical retail);
  • Has 50 or more retail employees; and
  • Has been open and operational for the past 20 or more calendar weeks

The breaks must adhere to the following rules:

Leave and Paid Time Off in Maryland

In 2021, more than one–third of private industry workers received 10 to 14 days of paid vacation after one year of service.

Leave and PTO laws in Maryland follow federal leave laws and The Maryland Healthy Working Families Act (MHWFA), which took effect on February 11, 2018.

The MHWFA requires all employers with employees whose primary work location is in Maryland to provide earned sick and safe leave, regardless of where the employer is located in the state.

According to the MHWFA:

Maryland Required Leave

In Maryland, the leaves an employer is expected to provide are categorized into required leave and non-required leave.

Required leave in Maryland includes:

Sick and Family Leave

A sick and family leave is one that an employee can request for:

Employers in Maryland must provide for sick leave accrual where non-exempt workers can earn 1 hour of sick or family leave for every 30 hours worked. This amounts to up to 40 hours of sick leave per year.

Additionally, employers with 15 or more employees must provide paid sick leave, while employers with 14 or fewer employees aren’t required to pay for sick leave.

Starting in 2026, the new Time To Care Act recently passed by Maryland empowers the Maryland Division of Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FAMLI) system to provide workers with the opportunity to take time away from work to care for themselves or a family member and still receive up to $1,000 a week for up to 12 weeks. FAMLI was established through the Time To Care Act.

Jury Duty Leave

The Maryland Code under Court and Judicial Proceedings states that employees summoned for jury duty have full legal protection and coverage in case of employer retaliation.

As such, an employer cannot:

Voting Time Leave

Maryland election law requires employers to provide employees who are registered voters with 2 hours of paid voting time off. However, employees are required to provide proof of voting on a form as determined by the State Board.

Domestic Violence or Sexual Assault Leave

The Maryland Healthy Working Family Act offers coverage for employees who have been victims of domestic abuse or whose family members have been victims of domestic abuse.

As a result, employers are required to provide earned sick leave after an employee or their family member has suffered domestic violence, sexual violence, or stalking.

This leave is provided for employees to seek medical attention, pursue legal proceedings, obtain services from a protective organization, or address other issues that may have arisen due to the assault, such as settling temporary relocation.

Emergency Response Leave

Employees who are members (volunteers or not) of The Civil Air Patrol, any Civil Defense Organization, a volunteer fire department, or a rescue squad are entitled to adequate time off to respond to emergency events declared by the Governor. Consequently, employers are not allowed to discharge, demote, or punish in any form an employee who is eligible for this leave.

Any eligible employee is permitted to receive up to 15 days off per year under this leave as long as they meet two conditions:

Organ and Bone Donation Leave

Employees employed by private organizations are allowed up to 60 days of unpaid leave when undergoing organ donation, and up to 30 days of unpaid leave when undergoing bone marrow donation.

For state employees, the leave counts to 30 days for organ donation and up to 7 days for bone marrow donation.

Military Leave

Employers must provide up to 15 days of paid leave for employees who are members of a reserve unit of the armed forces or organized state militias. However, other days of deployment or military training after this 15 days of leave may remain unpaid.

The state of Maryland also recognizes Deployment Leave for families of armed forces members.

Additionally, for businesses with 50+ employees, any employee who has worked full-time or part-time for at least 1,250 hours in the past 12 months is entitled to a day off work on the day of their immediate family member’s deployment.

Maryland Non-Required Leave

Non-required leave in Maryland are those an employer is not required to provide, although they may choose to provide them as a sign of goodwill to create a healthy work environment.

Bereavement Leave

In the case of death in the family:

Employers with 15 or more employees must provide paid bereavement leave. Employees can only use earned leave (accrued days) for these instances.

Vacation Time

Employers are not obligated to provide paid leave for vacation time. However, if they do, it should be in line with the established policies of the company.

Holiday Leave

Private employers are not required to provide (un)paid holiday leave for employees, while individuals employed by the state of Maryland have the right to 11 paid holidays per year.

Overtime Regulations in Maryland

Maryland mandates that employees must be paid 1.5 times their usual hourly rate for work over 40 hours. This is under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

For some occupations in Maryland, overtime is calculated based on a different period of time. Certain farm workers, for example, receive overtime for hours worked over 60 a week. 

According to the FLSA, any time worked over 40 weekly hours is considered overtime. However, it’s important to note that working over 8 hours per day does not necessarily count as overtime – it’s only the hours totaling over 40 hours per week that count.

Since employers must calculate overtime pay at 1.5 times the employee’s usual hourly rate, an employee earning the state minimum wage of $13.25 can receive overtime wages of $19.87 per hour.

Some exceptions to Maryland’s overtime laws include:

Keeping up with employee work time is typically daunting for businesses, particularly as workforces grow. Want to ensure you keep accurate payroll records for every employee at your construction company? Give them the Workyard time-tracking mobile app!

With Workyard, you can…

Keep the most accurate payroll records with Workyard

Wages and Benefits in Maryland

Minimum wage (15+ employees)


Minimum wage (<15 employees)


Minimum wage (tipped employees)


By January 1, 2024, the minimum wage in Maryland is set to increase to $15 per hour regardless of business size. 

For tipped employees (who regularly receive tips amounting to $30 or more monthly, the minimum wage is $3.63 as long as the employee earns at least the minimum wage of $13.25 every hour with tips included in this total.

It is important to note that minimum wages can differ by county in Maryland.

For example:

In Montgomery County, the hourly minimum wage is…

  • For businesses with 51+ employees: $16.70
  • For businesses with 11-50 employees: $15.00
  • For businesses with less 10 or fewer employees: $14.50 

In Howard County, the hourly minimum wage is…

  • For businesses with 15+ employees: $15.00
  • For businesses with <15 employees: $13.25

Frequency of Pay

Employees in Maryland must be paid at least once every two weeks or twice in a month. However, executive, professional, and administrative employees may be paid less frequently

Additionally, employers are required to provide employees with a statement of earnings, including hours worked, rates of pay, and deductions.

Final Paycheck

As stipulated by the Maryland Department of Labor, employers must pay all final wages to employees by their next scheduled payday, regardless of the cause of termination.

Employee Benefits

Maryland does not mandate employers to provide specific benefits beyond what federal law requires. However, many employers in the state offer benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off to attract and retain employees.

Many employees working with the state of Maryland are eligible for various benefits such as:

Prevailing Wages in Maryland

Prevailing wage assists prime contractors and subcontractors who perform work on state or political subdivision construction contracts including school construction where the contract value is \$250,000 or greater with state funding of 25% or more. It regulates the hours of labor, rates of pay, conditions of employment, obligations of employers, and duties of certain public officials under contracts and subcontracts for public works in Maryland.

For the prevailing wage law to be applied:

The law requires employees on a public works contract to be paid overtime for any time over 10 hours worked in a single day, and for work performed on a Sunday or any legal holiday.

For prevailing wage determination, A wage determination issued for a project specifies the wage and fringe benefit rates for each classification of worker determined to prevail in that locality for that type of construction.

Employers, particularly construction companies looking to comply with prevailing wage laws, can find current prevailing wage rates in Maryland by consulting the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR).

The DLLR website typically provides up-to-date information on prevailing wage rates for various trades and occupations involved in public works projects.

Hiring Practices in Maryland

Hiring laws in Maryland follow the same federal regulations as in the rest of the US. They operate with the fundamentals of anti-discrimination laws, ensuring every job applicant is granted an environment free of bias.

An employer cannot discriminate against

As such, an employer cannot publish job advertisements with discriminatory information/conditions or ask discriminatory questions during job application, or circulate information that could affect potential employment. This guarantees equal employment opportunities.

Maryland also follows The Job Applicant Fairness Act, which prohibits employers from asking an applicant for their credit report to decide whether to hire, discharge, or change their pay rate.

Background Checks

Maryland follows the Ban the Box law, which states an employer is not allowed to ask about or look into an applicant’s criminal history until their first-person interview. This legislation applies to businesses with 15 or more employees regardless of employment type.

The only exception to this law applies to occupations or hires involving schools, security, and financial institutions.

Drug Testing

Unless the employee falls into a safety-sensitive position, such as a bus driver subject to regular and random testing, all other employees can be tested upon reasonable suspicion.

Drug testing in Maryland operates with the following regulations:

Health and Safety Standards in Maryland

Maryland requires its employers to act per the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), and its secondary legislation titled Maryland Occupational Safety and Health (MOSH).

Employers are required to provide a safe working environment and comply with MOSH standards.

To report unsafe working conditions in Maryland, employers and employees can contact MOSH directly or submit a complaint through the Maryland Department of Labor website. MOSH investigates complaints and conducts inspections to maintain workplace safety and health standards.

Employers and employees can find additional resources and information on workplace safety regulations on the Maryland Department of Labor website and the MOSH’s website.

Regular training and communication about safety protocols are essential for maintaining a secure work environment in compliance with Maryland’s workplace safety standards.

Child Labor Laws in Maryland

In Maryland, minors under 14 are not allowed to work in any capacity or form. While minors between the ages of 14 and 17 are allowed to work, they need a signed and approved work permit issued by the Maryland Department of Labor.

Labor Laws for Minors Aged 14 and 15

For minors aged 14 and 15, work hours are restricted as follows:

  • On a school day:  3 hours
  • On a non-school day:  8 hours
  • On a school week: up to 18 hours
  • On a non-school week: 40 hours
  • Working hours: between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. (except from June 1st through Labor Day, when they can work until 9:00 p.m.)

Labor Laws for Minors Aged 16 and 17

For minors aged 16 and 17, the rules guiding work hours are more flexible – the main difference is they cannot spend more than 12 hours per day at school and work combined. This is because they must get at least 8 consecutive hours of rest per day while not at work or school.

Prohibited Occupations for Minors in Maryland

Regardless of age group, all minors have the same prohibited occupations. These occupations include:

The exemptions to child labor laws include situations in which the minor’s occupation isn’t considered employment, and the activities are performed outside a school day and don’t involve any hazardous work.

These include:

Employee Termination and Resignation in Maryland

Maryland follows the employment-at-will doctrine, allowing employers to terminate employees at any time and for any reason, unless there’s a contract specifying otherwise. Similarly, employees can resign without notice for any reason.

However, exceptions exist, such as anti-discrimination laws prohibiting termination based on bias or retaliation. 

Maryland does not have specific state laws mandating notice requirements for termination. Employers and employees may have contractual agreements specifying notice periods. Additionally, state law does not mandate severance pay unless specified in an employment contract.

Right-to-Work Law

Maryland is not a right-to-work state – employees cannot be required to join or support a union as a condition of their employment. They also can’t be barred from joining one if they want to, and can’t be required to end their union membership to obtain employment, either.

Unemployment Benefits in Maryland

Unemployment insurance benefits range from a minimum weekly benefit amount (WBA) of $50 per week to a maximum WBA of $430 per week. The employee’s WBA is determined by their wages during a base period. 

An unemployment benefit claim is effective on the Sunday immediately before the date that the claim is filed and will remain in effect for one year. The law offers up to 26 weeks of total unemployment insurance benefits if all requirements of the Maryland Unemployment Insurance Law are met.

To qualify:

Eligibility for unemployment insurance cannot be determined without filing a claim.

Unemployment Benefit Application

Unemployment applications in Maryland may be submitted by telephone or by internet. Claims can be filed by telephone through a claim center Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., in English or Spanish, or online 24 hours a day 7 days per week at

The regional claim centers and their phone numbers are as follows:

Penalties for Noncompliance in Maryland

Violations of Maryland labor laws can result in various penalties and fines, depending on the nature and severity of the infraction. Penalties may include fines, back wages, and other corrective actions. Repeated or willful violations may lead to more severe penalties such as imprisonment. 

Enforcement of labor laws in Maryland is carried out by various agencies, including the Maryland Department of Labor. Inspections and audits may be conducted to ensure compliance with wage and hour laws, workplace safety standards, and other regulations.

Violations can be reported through channels provided by the Maryland Department of Labor, including through online complaint forms. 

Other Essential Information About Labor Laws in Maryland

Whistleblower Protection Laws

Maryland protects employees who report violations of state laws, ensuring they are shielded from retaliation. Maryland Whistleblower law differentiates between whistleblowers in the public and the private sector.

In the public sector, an employer is not allowed to fire, threaten, or discriminate against an employee if they report:

Coverage typically varies with:

Use Of Social Media

An employer cannot ask employees to provide their username and password for their private social media accounts for any reason. This is in accordance with  the Username and Password Privacy Protection Law.

However, an employer can legally:

Employee Monitoring

Employers in Maryland can conduct phone call surveillance in cases where it is essential for the job being performed (such as customer service calls). However, employers are generally prohibited from recording or tapping into employees’ personal calls or in-person conversations unless they have permission from all participants.

Expense Reimbursement

Public employees are eligible for reimbursement for meals and incidental expenses. Each year, new rates are calculated and published on the official website.

Reimbursements include:

The Bottom Line on Maryland Labor Laws

Navigating Maryland’s intricate labor laws is essential for employers and employees to foster a fair and compliant work environment. From minimum wage requirements to break regulations and overtime provisions, understanding these laws is paramount. 

Employers must stay informed, ensuring they meet their obligations and promote the well-being of their workforce. Likewise, employees should know their rights, contributing to a workplace where fairness and respect prevail. 

As the employment landscape evolves, staying updated on labor laws remains a cornerstone for a successful and harmonious work environment in Maryland. 

For many businesses, the only real solution to compliance challenges is great software. The right business-management software tends to come with built-in compliance and recordkeeping rules, regardless of your industry, how many employees you have, what they do, or how widely they’re dispersed across the state (or country).

If you operate a construction or field services company, we humbly suggest trying Workyard for your compliance needs.

Workyard is built around the industry’s most accurate GPS tracking and geofencing technology, which ensures payroll accuracy across your workforce, no matter which job site you send them to or when you need them to work there. Workyard’s timesheet tracking system also comes with built-in federal and state overtime rules, as well as adjustable break rules you can customize at the employee level.

Workyard’s intuitive scheduling dashboard makes it easy to direct your workforce to the jobs you need done, based on their skill sets, their locations, their availability, and (of course) their weekly time worked – so you can avoid unnecessary overtime payments and reduce reimbursible travel expenses.

All of these tools work together to save you money. Minimize payroll waste, ensure regulatory compliance without lifting a finger, accurately assess project costs in real time, and pay your team with ease thanks to seamless payroll processing integrations.

And best of all, you can try it free for 14 days, so you can be sure it’s the right solution for your company. Just click here (or the buttons below) to get started today!

Did you find this post helpful? Please rate it!

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)Loading...


Ensure Labor Law Compliance With Workyard

Free for 14 days. No credit card required. Cancel anytime.

More On This

U.S. Labor Laws: What They Are & Why They Matter

Labor laws protect employees and prevent employers from risk. Learn what the U.S. labor laws are in this guide designed for every business.

Read More

Texas Labor Laws: A Complete Guide to Wages, Breaks, Overtime, and More (2024)

In this article, we’ll dive deep into Texas’s labor laws, with details on all the important aspects of the state’s regulations on your employees.

Read More

How To Calculate Overtime Pay (2024 Update)

In this article, we'll show you how to calculate overtime pay, which employees are entitled, and tips for saving thousands on overtime costs.

Read More