Mini-Warn Law poses threat to Maryland businesses amid pandemic
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – In a time where businesses are already struggling to keep their doors open amid the coronavirus pandemic a new bill that’s expected to go into effect in Maryland on October 1st could make things that much more difficult.
“This adds a layer of complexity and frankly frustration to employers that are trying to survive during the economic time that we’re in,” said Delegate Chris Adams (R-District 37B).
Before the end of legislative session Maryland lawmakers passed a bill making revisions to Maryland’s Mini-WARN Act. Which would now require industrial, commercial, or enterprise businesses to give 60 days notice before shutting down a workplace or reducing their staff. Or face up to a $10,000 fine per day.
“It impacts so many Maryland businesses with 50 or more employees,” said President of the Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce, Bill Chambers.
“These bills, looking back now, seem like they’re poorly timed,” said Adams.
But the main problem? This bill was passed before anyone knew how much of an impact the coronavirus pandemic would have on businesses and the economy.
“When businesses are going month to month, in some cases making payroll week to week, this is not the time for a bill like this to be signed into law,” said Chambers.
That’s why the Department of Labor sent out a statement saying that given the conditions this law won’t fully go into effect until April of 2021 after they make some regulatory adjustments.
“We don’t want to find ourselves fining companies for these violations that don’t speak to the world we live in today,” said Adams.
Meanwhile, some leaders here on the Eastern Shore say more needs to be done and more questions need to be answered before anything gets implemented.
“I think a study group needs to be done. Why are we not mimicking federal law right now? And what was the problem with voluntary reporting to begin with,” said Chambers.
To be more specific the legislation would apply to employers with at least 50 employees that have been doing business in the state for at least one year.