New Law Guarantees 30 Hours of Pay to Custodians in Large Buildings

Controversial law will increase hours for some workers but result in layoffs for others

November 12, 2019

Legislators in Montgomery County, Maryland, passed a bill last week that requires employers to provide at least 30 hours of work a week to custodial staff in office buildings that are 350,000 square feet or larger, Bethesda Magazine reports.

The Service Employees International Union Local 32BJ endorsed the legislation, which is limited to buildings with an occupancy rate of 50% or more to minimize its impact on new or transitioning offices. The law will begin January 2021 and will affect about 30 buildings, a small portion of the county’s commercial space.

Proponents of the bill say it allows custodians in charge of large properties to earn a living wage without needing to find additional part-time work. Opponents of the bill argue that while it will benefit many janitorial workers by giving them additional hours and benefits, it will hurt other workers who are laid off as a result of employers paring down staffing. They say the bill may also increase operation costs for commercial buildings and raise facility vacancy rates across the county.


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