If you plan to hire employees who live and work in MD, your Maryland employee handbook must comply with federal and state-specific employment laws. No organization is required to have an employee handbook, but it’s a good way to introduce workers to the company, set expectations for employees, describe company policies and procedures, and mitigate your legal risk. An employee handbook can act as a helpful resource—but if your Maryland employee handbook fails to comply with Maryland state employment laws, you could leave your business open to legal liability.

SixFifty’s Employment Docs platform helps employers generate state-specific employment handbooks in a faster, cost-effective manner. Here’s what you need to know about creating your own Maryland employee handbooks.

Required Maryland employee handbook policies

Maryland requires employers to implement and comply with 15 state-specific policies:

  • Bereavement Leave (for companies with 15 or more employees)
  • Civil Air Patrol and Emergency Response Leave (for companies with 15 or more employees)
  • Court Proceedings Leave
  • Domestic Violence Leave
  • Family and Medical Leave
  • Jury Duty Leave
  • Meal and Rest Breaks (minors only)
  • Military Service Leave
  • Organ and Bone Marrow Donor Leave (for companies with 15 or more employees)
  • Paid Sick Leave (for companies with 15 or more employees) (separate policy for Montgomery County)
  • Parental Leave (for companies with 15 to 49 employees)
  • Pay Transparency Policy
  • Pregnancy Accommodations (ADA Policy)
  • Voting Leave
  • Witness Duty Leave

Note that several of these policies have thresholds, such as companies with 15 or more employees or companies who hire minor employees. Furthermore, there is a special, Montgomery-County-specific paid sick leave policy, so when you hire employees in that county, your handbook will need to comply.

Optional Maryland employee handbook policies

In addition to Maryland’s 15 required policies, employers are welcome to include optional employee handbook policies like:

  • Affinity Group Policy
  • Arbitration Policy
  • At-Will Employment Policy
  • Background Check Policy
  • Business Expense Policy
  • Company Property Policy
  • Confidentiality and Trade Secrets Policy
  • Desk Hoteling Policy
  • Direct Deposit Policy
  • Dress Code Policy
  • Drug and Alcohol Abuse Policy
  • Electronic Devices While Driving Policy
  • Employee Benefits Policy
  • Employee Classification Policy
  • Employee Dating Policy
  • Employee References Policy
  • Employment of Relatives Policy
  • Exit Interview Policy
  • Gifts Policy
  • Health and Safety Policy
  • Holidays
  • Immigration Law Compliance
  • Lactation Accommodation Policy
  • Marijuana Policy
  • Off-Duty Use of Facilities
  • Overtime Policy
  • Payment of Wages Policy
  • Payroll Deductions Policy
  • Performance Review Policy
  • Personnel Files Policy
  • Pets in the Workplace Policy
  • Progressive Discipline Policy
  • Public Relations Policy
  • Punctuality and Attendance Policy
  • Salary Pay Policy
  • School Activity Leave
  • Social Media Policy
  • Solicitation and Distribution of Literature Policy
  • Technology Systems Policy
  • Telecommuting Policy
  • Temporary Relocation Policy
  • Timekeeping Policy
  • Video Conferencing Policy
  • Workers’ Compensation Policy
  • Workplace Violence Policy
  • Workplace Visitor Policy
  • Workweek and Work Schedules Policy

Whether you include any of these policies can depend on your company and employment type, organizational structure, industry, and more. For instance, if you’re hiring remote workers you probably don’t need a “pets in the workplace” policy, but telecommuting and video conferencing policies might be helpful.

Required federal employee handbook policies

If you create your own Maryland employee handbook, you must also include the following required federal employee handbook policies:

  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Policy
  • Equal Employment and Anti-Discrimination Policy
  • Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Policy (for companies with more than 50 employees)
  • Jury Duty Leave Policy
  • Military Service Leave Policy
  • Sexual Harassment Policy
  • Lactation Accommodation Policy
  • Religious Accommodation Policy

Federal law supersedes state law so these policies remain the same in all 50 states. All of your employee handbooks, regardless of state, should contain these policies. Keep in mind that while there’s a 50-employee threshold for FMLA policies, Maryland’s parental leave policy gives some similar benefits to employees in smaller companies.

How to create a Maryland employee handbook

Creating state-specific employee handbooks requires careful research and drafting. If your written policies accidentally violate federal or Maryland state employment laws, you could expose your company to legal risk.

Organizations have a few options to ensure compliance of their state-specific handbooks. You could hire an attorney to draft a handbook for you. This is a safe way to ensure compliance, but when you’re hiring employees in multiple states, those billable hours add up fast.

Some companies turn to one-size-fits-all online templates. That’s not advisable—there’s no guarantee the templates you use will have all the required state-specific policies.

SixFifty understands how difficult it can be to quickly and cost-effectively create Maryland employee handbooks, so we’ve done the hard work for you. Our employee handbook creator is designed to support employers through every stage of the employment life cycle, starting with offer letters all the way through separation and offboarding. It’s easier than ever to create top-tier employment documents, like Maryland employee handbooks. Plus, our legal team keeps a close eye on any developments in employment law nationwide. If there’s any new legislation, we’ll notify you so you can regenerate your handbooks as necessary.

Ready to learn more? Schedule a demo today!

Looking to create an employee handbook for a different state? View our interactive map for required employee handbook policies by state.