Maryland House Bill 581

May 3, 2021

Maryland House Bill 581 has been voted on favorably by  state delegates with amendments by the House Economic Matters Committee and is expected to pass. The bill was very extensively and heavily amended after significant debate and lobbying.


It is expected that HB 581 will be acted upon favorably by the full House of Delegates.


The highlights of House Bill 581, as amended, are as follows:


  1. The term emergency, which is the basis and circumstances that brings into play and application of this proposed law, is a catastrophic health emergency as defined in the Public Safety Article of the Code Section 14-3A-01. The section of law is attached for your reference.
  2. The bill only applies to “essential employers” who employ “essential workers” all defined in the bill.
  3. The bill no longer lists nor enumerates all of the business, occupations and professions that had been listed in the bill as introduced but instead only applies to essential employers, industries and sectors that are identified as and when an emergency occurs as identified and described by a governor or federal or state agency as critical to continue operation during such emergency.
  4. During any emergency, such essential employer shall – Provide required safety standards adopted by a federal or state agency – Provide necessary safety equipment recommended for use during such emergency at no cost to the essential worker – Adopt, maintain and post written applicable protocols – Provide other measures or requirements established by the governor or federal or state agency for essential workers;
  5. An essential worker has the right to refuse to work as provided under §5-604;
  6. If essential worker has contracted a communicable disease at a worksite – Essential employer shall take steps to minimize transmission risk; and pay for cost of testing if essential employee’s insurance does not cover. Essential employer is not required to pay if essential employee is tested free of charge – Essential employer has to report to the health department – demographic info about employee, redacted info on identification of employee – Commission can adopted regulations to carry out
  7. Bill defines “family member” as used in the bill –
  8. New term called “Public Health Emergency Leave” see details in the bill.
  9. An essential employer is required to pay an essential employee public health emergency leave: – Only to an essential employee – Only if either the federal or state government provides the funding that can be used – Payment of any public health emergency funds is in addition to any other leave or benefit including earned sick and safe leave under current law.
  10. The amount of money to be paid as public health emergency leave shall be either – As specified in the state or federal law or regulation; or – For full time essential workers – who regularly work 40 or more hours per week, 112 hours – For part-time essential workers – see page 16A, subsection (B).
  11. Every essential employer shall allow an essential employee to use public health emergency leave in relation to the emergency as provided and set forth in the bill.
  12. An essential employer shall compensate an essential employer for unused public health emergency leave if and when the essential employer leaves employment.
  13. An essential employer can require an essential employee who uses public health emergency leave to provide documentation of the need to use such leave. If submission of document not done essential employer can refuse payment for such leave.
  14. The Labor Commissioner by regulation shall adopt regulations as to the forms of documentation an essential employer can require.
  15. Essential employer cannot misclassify an essential employee as an independent contractor or other classification to avoid any benefits being paid to an essential employee during the emergency period.
  16. On pages 20-21 of the reprint section 3-1608 the rights and enforcement provisions for an essential employee against an essential employer are set forth.
  17. Pages 21-23 set forth requirements the Maryland Department of Labor and its agencies have to do to implement this new law. Also the law only applies prospectively not retroactively.
  18. The law is an emergency measure and takes effect on day of enactment


Legislative Updates May 2021

May 3, 2021

The Alliance for Construction Excellence (ACE) has been working diligently for the past four months following legislative activities in Maryland, Virginia, and the Washington, D.C. area.

In Maryland efforts were successful in opposing House Bill 581 and Senate Bill 486 which would have required contractors to pay hazard pay to all construction workers. If passed as originally proposed, it would have been made retroactive to March of 2020.

House Bill 64 was also defeated. This would have required contractors to provide handwashing stations at every job site.

On a positive note, a new bill relating to prevailing wage looks like it will be passing. This will lower the threshold on school construction projects from $500,000 to $250,000.

In Virginia ACE worked on several bills including House Bill 2137 which was a mandatory paid sick leave bill. While this was approved, it was significantly paired back to affect only health care workers.

Unfortunately, House Bill 2288-Public Procurement Act;  failed to pass. More often referred to “bid listing” this bill would have required general contractors to use the subcontractors who bid on the contract and not given the option of rebidding the work following the awarding the job.

House Bill 1996 was also being followed but did not make it out of the General Laws and Technology Committee. Had it passed this bill would have allowed localities to include in the Invitation to Bid criteria that may be used in determining whether any bidder is a responsible bidder. Under current law, a locality may only include such criteria for bidders who are not prequalified by the Virginia Department of Transportation.


The SMACNA Mid-Atlantic Chapter is an active member of ACE and regularly submits testimony and testifies on its behalf. Other members of ACE are NECA Washington, NECA Maryland, MCAMW, MCA Maryland, ASA Metro Washington, and Iron Workers Employers Association.

Virginia Legislative Update

April 29, 2020

What have we accomplished?

  • As of July 1, 2020 “offset” language in a contract that allows a prime contractor to withhold funds on one job because of a dispute on another job is void and unenforceable.
  • Legal protection for subcontractors by preventing a prime contractor from requiring an advance waiver of a subcontractor’s lien and bond rights prior to work starting.
  • Laws penalizing contractors who misclassify their employees as independent contractors.
  • Access payments  made by Virginia’s Department of General Services to prime contractors, HERE.

What can we accomplish:

  • A payment transparency website will list all payments by agencies of the Commonwealth to prime contractors.
  • ACE is monitoring legislation that would eliminate construction contract “condition precedent” language (GC will only pay you when GC gets paid, even if the subcontractor has properly completed its work).

Maryland Minimum Wage Increase

April 5, 2019


On March 20th, the Maryland House of Delegates and the Maryland Senate reached an agreement on a Conference Committee Report on HB 166 and SB 280. Both Chambers subsequently voted to approve the Conference Committee Report, thus finalizing the legislation.  It will now be on its way to the Governor’s desk for further action.

As reported in The Washington Post, the minimum wage in Maryland will go to $15 / hour.  In the final version there will be an increase of $1.00/year until reaching $15 on January 1, 2025 for employers over 15 employees.  Smaller employers will have additional time to reach the $15 maximum.



Testimony from DC Employment Services – Labor & Workforce Development



Full Video


“Testimony related to the District of Columbia Department of Employment Services (DOES) at the DC Council Committee on Labor & Workforce Development’s Budget Oversight Hearing on April 18th


Please note- testimony from Fred Codding and Vic Cornellier can be witnessed at time 2 hour 07 mins – 2 hour 27 mins.  

Staying Up To Date With Construction Requirements Under The Law

D.C. Politics

Audit: D.C. fails to enforce law requiring contractors to hire out-of-work residents











The renovation of Duke Ellington School of the Arts was among the projects reviewed by the D.C. Auditor’s office as part of an audit of the city’s local hiring requirement. (Photo by Michael Robinson Chavez/The Washington Post)


By Fenit Nirappil April 19 at 3:00 AM Email the author


The District government failed to make sure that companies with city contracts hired unemployed residents as required by law and rarely penalized those who didn’t, according to an audit released Thursday.

Between 2013 and 2016, the city failed to enforce local hiring requirements, even after lawmakers tightened the rules and added penalties in 2011, according to a report by D.C. Auditor Kathleen Patterson.

The 30-year-old “First Source” program is based on a simple principle: Private companies that receive public dollars should help city residents find work.