Compliance Watch:
What are my rights as a salaried employee in Maryland?

April 9th 2024

It is crucial for salaried employees in Maryland to have a clear understanding of their rights to build a successful path for their careers. Your compensation and your daily dedication to your job play a significant role in your standing in the workplace. It’s important to note that workplace customs and agreements can differ greatly from one U.S. state to another. You may have questions about your employment rights and how to assert them effectively.

This article provides the information and resources you need to navigate your work environment and fully know your rights in the workplace.

This Article Covers

Defining a Salaried Employee in Maryland
Common Questions About Salaried Employee Rights in Maryland
Understanding Exempt vs. Non-Exempt Status in Maryland
Wage and Hour Regulations in Maryland
Deductions, Benefits, and Protections in Maryland
Taking Action Against Violations in Maryland
Case Studies and Real-Life Scenarios of Salaried Employee Rights Violations in Maryland

Defining a Salaried Employee in Maryland

What is Salaried Employment in Maryland?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and labor regulations in Maryland define salaried employees as individuals who receive a fixed pay at regular intervals.

Unlike hourly employees who are paid based on the number of hours they work, salaried employees receive a consistent salary, often on a monthly or bi-weekly basis.

While some salaried employees may qualify for benefits like sick leave pay and coverage under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), certain job roles, such as executives, administrators, professionals, computer professionals, outside sales representatives, and highly compensated employees, can be exempt from specific benefits under labor regulations.

It’s also important to note that while many salaried employees are exempt from overtime pay regulations, not all salaried positions are exempt, and certain criteria must be met to qualify for exemption under state and federal law.

What are the Key Differences Between Salaried and Hourly Employees in Maryland?

Aspect Salaried Employees Hourly Employees
Minimum Wage Laws Paid a fixed amount regardless of hours worked. Subject to the minimum wage in Maryland $15 per hour. 
Overtime Laws Overtime eligibility varies. Workers are classified as exempt under FLSA for certain positions. Eligible for overtime for work hours exceeding 40 hours in a workweek.
Paid Sick Leave & FMLA Salaried pay may include sick leave; specifics vary by employer. May earn paid sick leave and use it with unpaid FMLA leave.
Paid Vacation Salaried pay may include vacation; specifics vary by employer. May earn paid vacation based on hours worked and employer policies.
Maternity/Paternity Leave May have unpaid provisions; duration and specifics vary by agreement with the employer. No guaranteed paid leave; terms depend on the employer’s policies.
Job Security Salaried employees typically enjoy more job security. Less job security as the work schedule can change.

Read more about Maryland labor laws with our guides on your rights as an hourly employee and salaried employee laws.

Common Questions About Salaried Employee Rights in Maryland

What are the Basic Rights of Salaried Employees in Maryland?

  • Minimum Wage: Salaried employees in Maryland who are non-exempt are entitled to receive the state’s minimum wage. However, this baseline isn’t consistent across all of the counties in the state and is dependent on the size of the business.
  • Overtime Pay: Non-exempt salaried employees are entitled to receive overtime pay at a rate of 1.5 times their regular hourly rate for any hours worked beyond 40 hours in a single workweek. 
  • Meal and Rest Breaks: Labor laws in Maryland do not require employers to provide meal or rest breaks for adult employees. 
  • Family and Medical Leave: Qualified employees have the right to take unpaid leave for specific medical and family-related reasons under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
  • Equal Pay: Maryland prohibits employers from engaging in discrimination among employees by either offering a lower wage to employees of a specific sex or gender identity compared to other employees under specific conditions. Employers are also prohibited from offering less advantageous employment opportunities, as defined by the law, on the basis of sex and gender identity.
  • Whistleblower Protection Laws: Maryland Whistleblower Law safeguards salaried workers from facing reprisals when they disclose their employers’ unlawful actions or breaches of state and federal regulations. This protection encompasses offenses such as felonies, actions that endanger public health, and requests for donations from employees.
  • Anti-Discrimination Laws: All employees are safeguarded against workplace discrimination based on the following protected characteristics: disability, national origin, ancestry, race, color, religion, gender, and military veteran status.

Is Overtime Pay Applicable to Salaried Employees in Maryland?

Yes, some salaried employees in Maryland qualify for overtime pay. This applies to various roles like office clerks, landscapers, fast-food staff, certain healthcare employees, dishwashers, construction workers, factory workers, daycare staff, and maintenance personnel. Overtime is paid at a rate of one-and-a-half times the regular hourly rate.

For a comprehensive understanding of this topic, you can access our guide on Maryland overtime laws.

Can Employers Deduct Wages from Salaried Employees in Maryland?

Employers are not permitted to deduct wages from an employee’s wages other than for items required and specifically permitted by federal law and state law. Wage deductions in Maryland are rare and usually prohibited, except under certain circumstances.

Are Salaried Employees Eligible for Breaks and Leaves in Maryland?

In Maryland, there are no state-mandated regulations regarding breaks for regular employees, except for minors who are entitled to a break of 30 minutes after working continuously for 5 hours. However, salaried employees enjoy a range of leave entitlements.

Employers are required to provide sick leave, allowing non-exempt employees to accumulate 1 hour of sick or family leave for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 40 hours per year. Paid sick leave is mandatory for employers with 15 or more employees, while smaller businesses are exempt from this law.

Maryland also safeguards various forms of leave rights. Employees are protected from repercussions when called for jury duty. Registered voters receive 2 hours of paid time off during elections. The state’s Healthy Working Family Act extends earned sick leave to victims of domestic abuse. Private and state employees have provisions for organ and bone donation leave, and emergency responders are entitled to leave during a crisis.

Additionally, Maryland provides 15 days of paid military leave for reserve members and recognizes Deployment Leave for immediate family members of armed forces personnel, allowing them a day off on deployment days.

Can Salaried Employees Request Flexible Work Arrangements in Maryland?

The State of Maryland acknowledges the advantages of remote and telework and imposes a teleworking requirement for specific State personnel. Teleworking refers to an agreement between an employee and their supervisor, granting the employee the option to carry out their duties from home, a remote office, or a designated telework location on specified workdays.

Under state legislation, every agency within the Executive Branch of state government must strive to reach a target where 15% of all eligible employees have the option to telecommute. Eligible employees are those whose job roles are best suited for remote work. Eligible employees include those in jobs like data analysis, writing reports, and making telephone calls.

Understanding Exempt vs. Non-Exempt Status in Maryland

What is the Definition and Implications of Exempt Status in Maryland?

Exempt workers are employees who are not entitled to receive extra compensation for working overtime hours. In Maryland, the classification of whether an employee is exempt or non-exempt follows the categories established by the FLSA, where an employee’s salary, compensation structure, and job duties are used to determine their classification.

An employee is considered exempt if they meet the following conditions:

  • Compensation level: Exempt status applies to salaried employees earning more than $684 per week or $35,568 annually. It’s important to emphasize that even though exempt salaried employees do not have a right to receive overtime pay, they may be eligible for bonuses and stipends.
  • Type of compensation: Employees should consistently receive a consistent regular salary within a designated pay period.
  • Job responsibilities: Employees who may be exempt from overtime pay include executives or managerial personnel, administrators, skilled professionals, computer employees, and highly compensated employees.

What are the Differences Between Exempt and Non-Exempt Salaried Employees in Maryland?

Aspect Exempt Employees Nonexempt Employees
Entitlements Exempt employees entitled to overtime pay. Non-exempt employees have rights to overtime pay.
Overtime Compensation Exempt employees do not qualify for overtime pay. Non-exempt employees receive overtime pay at 1.5 times their regular rate for specific hours.
Meal and Rest Breaks There are no state-mandated regulations regarding breaks for regular employees. Non-exempt employees are entitled to specified meal and rest breaks as per the labor laws in Maryland.
Salary and Status Interaction Exempt status often necessitates a salary surpassing the minimum wage. Non-exempt status involves adherence to minimum wage laws and other legal protections.

How to Determine if You're Exempt or Non-Exempt in Maryland?

Maryland has specific exemptions for certain categories of workers. These exemptions mean that these workers may not be entitled to overtime pay under certain conditions. The categories for exempt workers include: 

  • Salaried workers who earn more than $684 per week.
  • Employees at caregiving institutions for the elderly, ill, and disabled, but only if they work more than 48 hours per week.
  • Workers in bowling establishments, provided their workweeks exceed 48 hours.
  • Individuals who are 62 years of age or older and work 25 hours or less each week.
  • Taxi drivers.
  • Employees in recreational sites, theme parks, hotels/motels, and cinemas.
  • Executives who supervise two or more employees, perform administrative tasks related to business operations, are engaged in management or administrative training, and perform professional duties that require advanced education, such as artists, certified teachers, and IT professionals.
  • Salespersons who work outside the company premises.

Wage and Hour Regulations in Maryland

What are the Minimum Wage Requirements for Salaried Employees in Maryland?

Previously, the minimum wage in Maryland was dictated by the size of an organization and also varied by county. However, state laws now impose a uniform rate of $15, irrespective of location or the size of the company.

For tipped employees who earn more than $30 per month in tips, they must earn at least the state minimum wage rate per hour, which is set at $3.63 per hour by their employers. This base wage plus tips must add up to at least meet the state minimum wage rate.

How is Overtime Compensated for Salaried Employees in Maryland?

In Maryland, when a salaried employee that qualifies for overtime works more than 40 hours in a single workweek, they’ll receive overtime pay at a rate of one and a half times their usual wage.

Deductions, Benefits, and Protections in Maryland

What are the Permissible Deductions from Salaried Employee Pay in Maryland?

Wage deductions in Maryland are rare and usually prohibited, except under the following conditions:

  • Court Orders: Deductions can be made if a court orders or allows it, such as for wage garnishments or child support.
  • Commissioner Approval: The Maryland Division of Labor and Industry’s Commissioner may permit deductions to offset items of value received by the employee, like long-distance phone calls on the employer’s phone or personal loans.
  • Government Laws: Deductions mandated by government laws or regulations, such as state and federal taxes, are permissible.
  • Employee Authorization: Deductions require express written consent from the employee in a separate statement, but even with consent, the employer must ensure the employee still receives at least the minimum wage.
  • Offsets: Deductions can be made to offset items of value received by the employee from the employer, even if they temporarily reduce the employee’s wage below the minimum wage.

Having considered the above-mentioned points, it’s important to note that an approved deduction could become void if it goes against any existing federal or state laws and regulations.

What are the Provided Employee Benefits and Protections Under Maryland State Law?

Maryland laws offer several key protections and advantages for employees:

  • Non-discrimination and Anti-retaliation: Employers are prohibited from discriminating against or seeking retaliation against workers in protected categories. They are also required to ensure equal pay and safeguard whistleblowers.
  • Equal Pay and Retaliation Protection: Employees are assured of equal pay and protection against retaliation when reporting instances of discrimination or violations of labor laws.
  • Leave Entitlements: Employees have rights to various types of leave, including domestic violence leave, jury duty leave, witness leave, and military leave.
  • Earned Sick Leave: Eligible employees are entitled to earned sick leave benefits under the Earned Sick Leave Law.
  • Minimum Wage and Overtime Pay: The Fair Labor Standards Act mandates that all hours worked must be compensated at a minimum wage rate, and extra hours should be compensated at one and a half times the regular rate as overtime pay.

Taking Action Against Violations in Maryland

How to Report Violations to Authorities or Labor Departments in Maryland?

If you suspect that you’ve been a victim of unfair and unlawful workplace discrimination, based on factors such as race, color, religion, gender, marital status, pregnancy, national origin, age, disability, or citizenship, you can take action by submitting complaints to the following authorities:

Workers in Maryland who have a belief that their employer has illegally held back their earnings, which includes bonuses, commissions, fringe benefits, overtime pay, or any other form of compensation for their services, have the option to file a claim for unpaid wages.

Additionally, you can also report other suspected violations like a child labor violation complaint, or a credit check complaint.

Case Studies and Real-Life Scenarios of Salaried Employee Rights Violations in Maryland

1. Employee Disability Discrimination: Maryland Employer Sued by EEOC for Disability Discrimination.

Verizon Maryland, LLC, a prominent telecommunications company, has been sued by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for violating federal law by refusing to provide reasonable accommodation to a disabled employee. In the EEOC vs Verizon Maryland case, the lawsuit alleges that a management-level employee, who had hypertension, requested to be transferred to a field position or an alternative management role to better accommodate his disability. 

Although there was an open field position that he had previously held, Verizon denied him the opportunity to compete for it, insisting that he must resign and reapply after six months. The company did not offer any other accommodation options, ultimately leading the employee to resign due to medical necessity. Furthermore, he was not given the chance to compete for available management positions. This conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits disability-based discrimination, and the EEOC has filed a lawsuit against Verizon Maryland, LLC after attempting to settle through conciliation.

The EEOC emphasizes the importance of employers being flexible and cooperative in addressing ADA accommodation requests. Instead of forcing an employee to resign and reapply later, as in this case, employers should consider alternative assignments when an employee’s current role is incompatible with their disability. This lawsuit underscores the need for companies to approach disability accommodations with a problem-solving mindset and cooperation, adhering to the ADA’s requirements. 

Lessons Learned From the Case

  • Employers should actively seek reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities.
  • Resignation followed by reapplication is not a reasonable accommodation.
  • Employers should consider alternative assignments when the current role is incompatible with an employee’s disability.
2. Employee Discrimination: Maryland Employer Pays Settlement for Discriminating Against Non-U.S Citizen Employees.

In the Department of Justice vs PMM case, the Department of Justice has reached a settlement agreement with Professional Maintenance Management (PMM), a Maryland-based cleaning and janitorial services company, following an investigation into allegations of discrimination against its non-U.S. citizen employees in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). 

The investigation revealed that PMM had a practice of demanding specific documents from newly hired non-U.S. citizens to verify their eligibility to work in the United States. For instance, lawful permanent residents were required to produce their permanent resident cards, while asylees and refugees had to present employment authorization documents. In contrast, U.S. citizens were given more flexibility in choosing the types of acceptable documents. 

Under the settlement terms, PMM will pay a $300,000 civil penalty to the United States, undergo staff training on the INA’s anti-discrimination provision, adjust its policies, and be subject to departmental oversight for a three-year duration. The INA’s anti-discrimination provision unequivocally prohibits employers from mandating specific documents based on an employee’s citizenship, immigration status, or national origin.

Lessons from the Case

  • Employers should treat all employees, regardless of their citizenship or immigration status. Discriminatory practices that require specific documents can lead to legal consequences.
  • Employers should be aware of and comply with anti-discrimination provisions in immigration laws, such as the INA.
  • Employers should recognize that various forms of documentation can establish work eligibility for employees, and employers should not restrict the options available to non-U.S. citizens.

Final Thoughts

As a salaried worker in Maryland, possessing a grasp of your legal entitlements and safeguards is imperative. This knowledge not only enables you to shield yourself against potential violations but also empowers you to advocate for your well-being.

Keeping up-to-date with changes in labor laws is essential for ensuring a positive workplace experience. Given the complex nature of employment regulations, seeking professional advice by consulting an employment attorney, contacting The U.S. Department of Labor, or consulting the Office of the Labor Commissioner can offer invaluable information and direction.

Important Cautionary Note

This content is provided for informational purposes only. While we make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information presented, we cannot guarantee that it is free of errors or omissions. Users are advised to independently verify any critical information and should not solely rely on the content provided.