General contractors in Maryland will be held liable for the failure of subcontractors to pay their employees in accordance with the state’s wage and hour law.
The new law will go into effect on October 1, 2018. GCs could be held liable for up to three times the wages owed, plus reasonable attorneys' fees and other costs.
Previously, responsibility for fulfilling wage laws had been solely the responsibility of the direct employer. The law does require that a subcontractor indemnify a general contractor for “any wages, damages, interest, penalties, or attorney's fees owed as a result of the subcontractor's violation.”
But, this protection may be meaningless if the subcontractor is unable to pay such damages. It is expected that general contractors will likely require subcontractors to obtain a bond or insurance to protect against the possibility of wage claims by subcontractor employees. This would likely increase the cost of construction projects in Maryland.