Today’s episode of the Maryland Construction Network includes newly released information from two Maryland government agencies.
First, the Department of Assessments and Taxation unveiled on March 12th the Maryland Business Express, a new website that will make it easier for Maryland’s small business owners and entrepreneurs to plan, start, manage, and grow their business. Accessible at businessexpress.maryland.gov, the new site combines information previously spread across many state agencies into one, easy-to-navigate site, while also providing a clear outline of the steps involved in starting a business.
Maryland Business Express also features a digital assistant designed to communicate with and deliver guidance to Marylanders 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
“Since taking office, our administration has been committed to ensuring Maryland is Open for Business, and since that time, we have become one of the top states in the country for entrepreneurial business growth,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “Now, Maryland Business Express will make it easier than ever to start a business, and will provide quick access to the many tools and resources that Maryland agencies have to offer to support our small business job creators.”
“Our Department’s goal is to allow Marylanders to interact with the state any time it’s convenient for them, and the new Maryland Business Express will move us closer to that goal than ever before,” said SDAT Director Michael Higgs. “This new website will be a tremendous benefit to Maryland’s business community, and the feedback we receive will allow us to continually update content to better suit their needs.”
Over the past few years, SDAT has focused on making government services more accessible to the hundreds of thousands of Maryland businesses that interact with the Department annually. Recent efforts to provide more services online have resulted in dramatic improvements in processing times, including a reduction from 10 to four weeks to start a business. Today, more than 50 percent of all documents are filed online, 40 percent of which occur outside of normal business hours and 20 percent of which are done through a mobile device. SDAT’s online services process more than 250,000 transactions annually.
Second, on March 10th, the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR) released Additional Guidance including Model Policies and Updated FAQs to the recently implemented Maryland Healthy Working Families Act.
To date, the Office of Small Business Regulatory Assistance received more than 2,000 emails from employers and employees with specific questions about complying with the law. The most common of these questions have been compiled into a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) document, available at www.dllr.maryland.gov/paidleave.
In addition to the updated FAQs, the department has provided an updated employee notice poster for your place of business, and model policies for your employee handbook or other employee benefits documents. These resources are also available on the paid leave website.
These documents will assist employers with compliance as well as facilitating a discussion with employees regarding their rights under the law. Responses are preliminary and subject to change. Please note that the department cannot provide legal advice regarding specific employer leave policies or employee exemptions under the law. These documents are for informational purposes and are intended to provide general guidance to employers and employees about the requirements of the law.
Further, Governor Larry Hogan issued Executive Order 01.01.2018.04 creating the Office of Small Business Regulatory Assistance to assist small businesses in complying with the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act. Questions can be sent to this office at firstname.lastname@example.org.