By Martha J. Cardi, Chief Compliance Officer, and Megan G. Holstein, Senior Counsel, Compliance and Employment Law
The governor of Maryland has signed into law a new leave of absence that entitles eligible employees a one-day leave of absence for the day that the employee’s immediate family member is leaving for or returning from active duty. This law is effective October 1, 2013. Here are more details:
- An employee is eligible after the employee has worked for a covered employer during the 12 months preceding leave and for at least 1,250 hours during the preceding 12 months.
- Employers who have 50 or more employees are covered by this law.
- An “immediate family member” means a spouse (including same-sex spouse), parent, stepparent, child, stepchild, or sibling.
- The family member for whom the employee seeks leave must be leaving for or returning from active duty outside of the United States as a member of the U.S. Armed Forces.
- An employer can request documentation verifying the leave.
- An employer cannot require an employee to use compensatory, sick, or vacation leave for the day the employee seeks Maryland family military leave.
- An employer can choose to run an employee’s absence under the Maryland family military law concurrently with qualifying exigency leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Even though this day may not meet one of the defined exigencies under the FMLA, there is an “additional activities” catch-all provision that allows an employer and employee to agree that the employee’s absence qualifies under the FMLA qualifying exigency leave provision (29 C.F.R. § 825.126(b)(9)).
A link to the text of the bill can be found here. Further information, including the bill’s history, can be found in Reed Group’s Leave of Absence Advisor™ under the Pending Legislation tab by choosing Maryland, Pending Bills, Family Military, and locating Maryland Senate Bill 12.
What Employers Must Do Now
Maryland employers are responsible for compliance with this new law beginning October 1 of this year. In the meantime, employers should:
- Update handbooks or employment policies to reflect this new Maryland leave of absence right;
- Train appropriate personnel (Human Resources, Benefits, etc.) on how to manage leaves under the law;
- Train supervisors and managers on the new type of leave so they can help spot covered absences and enlist HR assistance; and
- Communicate the new law to Maryland employees.
Reed Group Will Be Ready for Maryland by October 1!
If you are using Reed Group’s leave management services or software we will be ready to manage your Maryland employees’ family military leaves on October 1. We will:
- Update our signature LeavePro™ leave management software to encompass the new Maryland family military leave law;
- Create a new chapter to address the Maryland law in Leave of Absence Advisor™;
- Update eligibility letters and packets for Maryland employees to reflect the parameters of the law; and
- Train staff and update scripts to be ready to administer the Maryland law in time for its October 1st effective date.
Have you tried Reed Group’s Leave of Absence Advisor ™?
Did you know that Maryland also has an adoption bonding leave and a flexible leave law?
Keeping up with existing and new leave of absence laws is a full time job! But help is available: Reed Group’s Leave of Absence Advisor™ (LoAA) is a current and reliable reference tool that provides analysis, helpful tips, examples, and notes on best practices to administer the FMLA and state leave of absence laws. Reed Group’s LoAA also tracks pending legislation so that you are on top of what new laws or amendments are on the legislative horizon that might impact your employees. By using Reed Group’s LoAA, you don’t need to memorize all fifty states’ leave of absence laws or the FMLA; rather, you can have access to current information at your fingertips when the need arises.
When it comes to complying with leave of absence laws and regulations, you don’t have to go it alone. Contact Reed Group with questions about any leave issue:
- Outsourced Case Management Services: 866.218.4650 or email@example.com.
- LeavePro™ Software: 866.218.4650 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Leave of Absence Advisor™, an on-line resource for authoritative guidance to federal and state LoA management: 866.889.4449 or email or check it out: http://leaves.mdguidelines.com/
- MDGuidelines™, web-based return-to-work toolkit: 866.889.4449 or email.