Maryland Labor Laws 2024 | Wage and Hour Laws in Maryland

Maryland Labor Laws

Maryland labor laws, including Maryland labor laws 2024, impact the daily lives of employees and employers in Maryland. Residents of Maryland have many questions that affect them every day regarding Maryland labor laws from minimum wage rates, overtime, wage payments, vacation and sick leave, child labor, meal and rest breaks, and more.

In addition to Maryland labor laws, employer must also comply with federal labor laws such as the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), and many other federal laws. And when federal laws are different from state Maryland labor laws, usually companies must comply with the law that provides their workers the best protection.

Below we provide comprehensive information and resources regarding your more pressing Maryland labor law questions to help you answer the question and help you make the right decision about you and your employment.

Minimum Wage

Under Maryland labor laws, Maryland’s current minimum wage is $12.50 for large employers (15 or more employees) and $12.20 for small employees (14 employees or fewer), except in Montgomery counties.

For large businesses, the minimum wage will increase every year. For example, in 2023, it will increase to $13.25 per hour; in 2024 to $14.00 per hour; and in 2025 to $15 per hour. The minimum wage for small businesses will increase to $12.80 per hour in 2023; $13.40 in 2024; $14.00 in 2025; and $15 in 2026.

If you are a worker who earns tips, your minimum wage is $3.63 per hour. You qualify as a tipped worker if you earn more than $30 per month in tips. Employees with disabilities may be paid a subminimum wage.

For more information on Maryland’s minimum wage laws, visit our Maryland Minimum Wage Laws page, which includes topics such as minimum wage, tip minimum wage, tip sharing and pooling, and subminimum wages.

Related topics covered on other pages include:


Maryland overtime law require employers to pay employees overtime at a rate of 1½ times their regular rate when they work 40 hours or more in a workweek, unless otherwise exempt or other rules apply. MD Statute, Labor and Employment 3-415, MD Regulations, MD Div. of Labor Wage & Hour Fact Sheet. See FLSA: Overtime for more information regarding overtime requirements.

Prevailing Wages

Under Maryland labor laws, Maryland law may require employers to pay residents wage rates established by the federal or state prevailing wage rates and rules. The prevailing wage rates may be different from the state’s standard minimum wage rates.

Employees may be eligible for prevailing wages if they work on federal or state government or government-funded construction projects or perform certain federal or state government services. See the Maryland Prevailing Wages, Davis-Bacon and Related Acts, McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act (SCA), and Walsh-Healey Public Contracts Act (PCA) for more information about prevailing wages.

Meals and Breaks

Maryland labor laws require employers to provide employees under the age of 18 with a 30-minute break for every 5 consecutive hours of work. MD Statute, Labor and Employment 3-210.

The Healthy Retail Employee Act requires certain employers in the retail industry to provide employees with breaks. The length of the break depends on the duration of the employee’s shift. The length of break requirements are as follows:

Shift: Break Required:
up to 4 consecutive hoursNone
between 4 and 6 consecutive hours15-minute break
between 6 and 8 consecutive hours30-minute break
8 or more consecutive hours30 minute break plus a 15 minute break for every additional 4 consecutive hours.

The Healthy Retail Employee Act does not specifically require that employees be paid for the breaks, however, the Maryland Division of Labor & Industry counsels that the FLSA generally requires employers to pay employees for breaks lasting less than 20 minutes. MD Statute, Labor and Employment 3-710, MD Div. of Labor & Industry FAQ.

Other than employers covered by the Healthy Retail Employee Act, Maryland labor laws do not require employers to provide breaks, including lunch breaks, for workers 18 years old or older. An employer who chooses to provide a break in excess of 20 minutes does not have to pay wages for lunch periods or other breaks if the employee is free to leave the worksite, in fact takes their lunch or break, and the employee does not actually perform work. According to federal law, breaks 20 minutes or shorter typically must be paid. FLSA.

Nursing Mother Breaks

Maryland labor laws do not require employers to provide nursing mothers with breaks to express breast milk. However, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act requires certain employees to provide nonexempt nursing mothers for one (1) year following a child’s birth with reasonable rest breaks to express milk and private spaces, other than a bathroom, to express breast milk.

Vacation Leave

Under Maryland labor laws, employers in Maryland do not have to provide unpaid or paid vacation benefits to their employees. However, if a business offers vacation benefits, it must adhere to the terms established in the employment contract or vacation leave policy. 

Moreover, an employer can create a contract or policy that denies workers compensation for accumulated leave hours at the end of employment. A business also has the right to set specific terms that will deny an employee payment for accrued vacation hours if the requirements are not met. 

However, an employer must pay employees accrued vacation time if the policy or contract stipulates it. An employer has the right to limit the number of accumulated vacation hours and may also implement a use-it or lose-it policy.

Information about Maryland vacation leave laws may now be found on our Maryland Leave Laws page.

Sick Leave

The Maryland Healthy Working Families Act requires employers with at least 15 workers to provide paid sick and safe leave to their employees. However, if they have 14 or fewer employees, they can provide unpaid sick and safe leave. A large business must give a worker one hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked, for up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per year.

Eligible employees may take sick and safe leave for the the following reasons:

  • to care for or treat the employee’s mental or physical illness, injury, or condition
  • to obtain preventive medical care for the employee or employee’s family member
  • to care for a family member with a mental or physical illness, injury, or condition
  • for maternity or paternity leave
  • if absence from work is due to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking committed against the employee or the employee’s family member and the leave is being used by the employee:
    • to obtain for the employee or the employee’s family member
      • medical or mental health attention that is related to the domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking
      • services from a victim services organization related to the domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking
      • legal services or proceedings related to or resulting from the domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking
    • during the time that the employee has temporarily relocated due to the domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking

Information about Maryland sick leave laws may now be found on our Maryland Leave Laws page.

Maryland Family and Medical Leave

Maryland has state medical leave and family leave laws that apply to most many employers. Some businesses may be covered by both Maryland labor laws and the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The Maryland medical and/or family laws employees may be entitled to include:

  • The Parental Leave Act – a place of business with between 15 and 49 workers must give all eligible employees up to six unpaid workweeks of parental leave in one year for the placement of a foster child, adoption of a child, or the birth of a child.
  • The Adoption Leave Law – requires employer that provide employees with paid parental leave after the birth of a child must extend the benefit to employees who have adopted.
  • The Flexible Leave Act – requires employer with 15 or more employees to provide employees unpaid time off to care for a close family member who is extremely ill or grieve for the death of an immediate family member.
  • Family Military Leave – employers with 50 or more employees must provided leave to an employee if a close family member leaves for or returns from active military service.

Holiday Leave

Under Maryland labor laws, private-sector employers are not required to provide unpaid or paid holiday leave for their employees. Moreover, a private-sector employer may force a worker to work on holidays. However, a private-sector employer does not have to compensate workers for work during holiday holidays unless such hours qualify for overtime hours under federal overtime mandates. 

If a business provides unpaid or paid holiday time off for its employees, it must adhere to the terms set out in the employment contract or established company policy. A retail sector employee may receive one unpaid day off per week for religious purposes if required.

Information about Maryland holiday leave laws may now be found on our Maryland Leave Laws page.

Jury Duty Leave

An employer in Maryland must allow an employee to attend jury duty if summoned, although they are not obligated to compensate the worker. An employer may not threaten, penalize, coerce, or discharge an employee for responding to a jury summons.

Information about Maryland jury duty leave laws may now be found on our Maryland Leave Laws page.

Voting Leave

Maryland labor laws hold that as long as a worker does not have at least two hours of off time during open poll hours, employers must allow their employees to take two hours to vote, which is paid leave. 

Information about Maryland voting leave laws may now be found on our Maryland Leave Laws page.

Severance Pay

Maryland labor laws do not require employers to provide employees with severance pay. Maryland Guide to Wage Payment and Employment Standards. If an employer chooses to provide severance benefits, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract.


Under certain circumstances, Maryland residents may be eligible for unemployment benefits while they search for another job. You are required to certify that you are unemployed on a weekly basis to receive these benefits. Employees may file claims with the Maryland Department of Labor – Division of Unemployment Insurance.

To qualify for unemployment benefits in Maryland, a worker cannot be unemployed due to their own fault. If the unemployment is the worker’s fault, they will not qualify. 

The worker must be unemployed and have earned wages during at least two of the first four of the last five quarters before filing the claim; they must have earned income during two of the four last completed calendar quarters. 

Moreover, applicants must be actively seeking work, available, and able to work. There are no income or set requirements regarding unemployment benefit eligibility in Maryland. Benefits in Maryland will range from $50 to $430 per month. Workers can earn unemployment benefits for as long as 26 weeks. 

See Maryland State Unemployment Benefits.

Other Maryland Labor Laws Topics and Resources

There are several other Maryland labor laws governing the employers and their workplaces. Below are those topics and resources:

  • Maryland Child Labor Laws covers topics including work during school hours and summer hours, school days and summer days, hour restrictions, and hazardous occupations.
  • Maryland discrimination and civil rights laws are enforced by the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights. Employees are also protected by federal discrimination laws enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commissioner (EEOC). The state and federal discrimination laws offer employees protections and violations based on the following:
Disability (a mental or physical impairment)Sex, including sexual harassmentGender expressionNational Origin
Race, including hairstylesSexual orientationReligionAncestry
CreedGender identityAge (40+)Pregnancy and related conditions
ColorMarital statusGenetic information

Other State’s Labor Law and Wage and Hour Information

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