In the summer of 2015, Montgomery County became one of only 23 jurisdictions in the country to pass a paid sick leave law requiring many employers to provide employees who work in the county with paid time off.

To give employers more time to implement the law, the County Council made it go into effect Oct. 1, 2016.

Here’s what employers and employees should know:

1. A business that employs five or more employees in the county must provide its workers with one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours that employee works, up to a maximum of 56 hours of earned paid sick leave annually.

2. A business with less than five employees is also required to provide workers with one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours the employee works, up to a maximum of 32 hours in a year as well as 24 hours of unpaid sick leave.

3. Many employers who already offer their full-time employees at least 56 hours of paid leave per year won’t be affected by the legislation—this includes many of the major employers in the county.

4. An employee is allowed to use up to 80 hours of sick and safe leave in a year. Up to 56 hours can be carried over into the next year if it is not used by the employee, unless the employer awards the full amount of leave an employee would earn at the beginning of the year.

5. All employees who work in the county more than eight hours each week are covered by the legislation and employers are expected to provide them with paid sick and safe leave. However, seasonal workers as well as salespeople who are paid exclusively by sales commissions were exempted from the law and employers do not have to provide them with paid sick leave.

6. An employee who takes earned paid sick time off must be paid at the same rate with the same benefits as that employee normally earns.

7. Paid sick leave can be used for a number of reasons including illness, to care for a family member, or for child care if a school or day care is closed.

8. The county’s Office of Human Rights will be enforcing the law and employees can file a complaint with the department if they believe an employer is not providing them with the minimum amount of paid leave required.

The county provides more information about the law in a fact sheet on its website.

The law drew criticism from some business leaders while it was being debated by the council who said it may hurt the competiveness of local small businesses. Council members cited President Barack Obama’s call for paid sick and family leave during his 2015 State of the Union when they unanimously passed the legislation last year.

Montgomery County Earned Sick and Safe Leave Poster by AJ Metcalf on Scribd