MD Essential Workers Bill of Rights

August 19, 2020

Maryland’s essential workers deserve pandemic protections! 

Sign on to the Maryland Workers Bill of Rights today:

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its many devastating effects on Maryland’s working families, we demand that the Maryland General Assembly adopt the following conditions to provide better aid and relief to workers during any and all declared pandemics in the state of Maryland. These rights must be afforded to all workers on the basis that they work in Maryland, and therefore, the state should provide safeguards and rights to all workers. These rights will ensure safety and humane treatment for both workers and employers.

We demand:

  1. The Right to Work in Safe & Hygienic Conditions:

    Every worker regardless of role, responsibilities, or work location, shall be given and afforded safe working conditions. All workers shall conduct their roles and responsibilities in an environment that does not put their lives in danger of physical harm, psychological and mental risk, biological damage, and any threat of medical detriment. Every employer must maintain routine hygienic practices at their worksite. During all pandemics of any magnitude, all employers shall provide abundant personal protection equipment to every worker assigned to work at their worksite.
  2. The Right to Obtain Hazard Pay & Healthcare

    During pandemics, all workers shall be required to be compensated with their current pay and hazard pay. All workers who do not have health insurance shall receive healthcare coverage assistance through their employer. These measures will ensure that workers are healthy enough to properly and safely serve the public.
  3. The Right to Emergency Action Plan

    With lessons learned from COVID-19, every employer with the input of all employees shall proactively develop, practice, and implement an emergency action plan so that employers and workers can safely execute their responsibilities and roles during a pandemic. This emergency action plan shall outline what steps a worker can take if they face management retaliation or other forms of worker abuse. Lastly, each employer shall include the following in their emergency action plan: PPE procedures, work hours and shifts, sanitation procedures, teleworking capabilities if applicable, and any changes in pay and benefits. This plan shall be displayed in a common area where it is visible to all workers.
  4. The Right to Universal Pandemic & Bereavement Leave

    Every employer shall provide their workers with paid pandemic and bereavement leave. Workers shall have a total of fourteen days of emergency paid pandemic leave provided by their employer, which can be used to mitigate all pandemic-related emergencies. All workers shall also be given at least three days of paid bereavement leave, should workers need to take time off work due to reasons of a family death.
  5. The Right for Housing Vouchers during Pandemics

    During a pandemic, workers who either lease a rental property or pay a mortgage and have filed for unemployment due to a pandemic-related occurrence shall be given government vouchers to give to their landlord or mortgage entity in lieu of monetary payment.
  6. The Right to Refuse Dangerous Work

    If any worker fears for their life or health during a pandemic due to the nature of their work or due to a work responsibility that is either required or encouraged by management, that worker shall have the right to refuse to fulfill that responsibility without employer/management retaliation. Employer/management retaliation is categorized as the firing, disciplinary action, or adverse action to a worker due to an informal or formal complaint filed by a worker to management.
  7. The Right to Free Testing

    In order to decrease the risk of spreading the ailments of any pandemic, every employee shall have access to free of cost, rapid-result testing.


Read the full Maryland Workers Bill of Rights and sign on today at