Paid family and medical leave is on the table in yet another state: Maryland. Although MD Governor Larry Hogan vetoed the bill, and despite the Governor’s arguments against the legislation, which establishes state paid family and medical leave program, the Time to Care Act passed with overriding votes in both the Senate and the House.
In his veto letter to President Ferguson of the Maryland Senate, Governor Hogan stated “While we share the goal of providing a healthy working environment and sufficient leave time for working Marylanders to care for themselves, their families, and bond with children, Senate Bill 275 is an irresponsibly crafted, rushed piece of legislation that unfairly penalizes the hundreds of thousands of hard-working men and women who own and operate small businesses in Maryland.” The full, most interesting letter can be found here.
What will this bill provide to those working in Maryland? There aren’t a lot of surprises, but there are a couple of twists. As with many other states, the available benefit under the new paid family and medical leave insurance program is 12 workweeks of partial pay and job protection. There are certain scenarios where it could provide up to 24 workweeks of leave and wage replacement. The benefit may be payable due to the employee experiencing a serious health condition, welcoming a new child (birth or placement through adoption, foster care, and kinship care), caring for a family member with a serious health condition, or managing all that comes with family members in the military (exigency leave and care for a covered service member).
A few things in Maryland that will differ from federal FMLA and some other states’ leave programs include:
- Employers with 15 or more employees are considered eligible employers.
- Eligibility requirement is only 680 hours worked in the preceding 12-month period, rather than 1,250 hours.
- Qualifying family member relationships include siblings, grandparents, and grandchildren (biological, adopted, foster, or step).
- An additional relationship for bonding leave will be recognized where a new child is placed for ‘kinship care’
- Eligible employees may receive an ADDITIONAL 12 workweeks of leave and benefits if the employee received benefits to care for a newly placed child and then receives benefits for their own serious health condition OR, in the reverse, receives benefits for their own serious health condition and then receives benefits to care for a newly placed child.
- Employees must exhaust all available employer provided leave that is not required to be provided under law before receiving benefits under the Time to Care Act. This time is to be treated the same as time under the Act (job protected, same reasons, and absence pattern) and does not reduce the total time available under the Act (12 or 24 workweeks).
- Employees making less than $15.00 per hour will have the employee portion of the contribution paid by the State from October 1, 2023 through June 30, 2026.
What Maryland Employers Can Do
Where does this leave those in Maryland? Much like with many other programs that pass, it’s time to sharpen your pencils, but hurry up and wait. Below are a few key dates to keep in mind. We will keep you informed as rates, posters, and forms are developed.
- June 1, 2022: Act takes effect
- October 1, 2022: Actuarial study findings are due to the Senate Finance Committee and House Economic Matters Committee
- June 1, 2023: MD Secretary of Labor sets the rate of contribution and percentage of the total to paid by employees and employers for the period of October 1, 2023 through December 31, 2025
- October 1, 2023: Contributions begin to be made to the fund, to be in effect through December 31, 2025, which will range between
- 75% Employer
- 25% Employee
- 25% Employer
- 75% Employee
- January 1, 2025: Benefits may begin being paid out for covered leaves
Until October of 2023, take the time to review current available pay absence policies and procedures to see if they have any restrictions for using the paid time that might conflict with the new MD TCA.
What Is ReedGroup Doing?
ReedGroup works with its compliance and product teams to ensure we are assisting our customers in meeting their legal obligations with respect to leave of absence and workplace accommodations. If you are a large employer seeking solutions for leave and accommodation administration, reach out to us for more information!
Information provided on this blog is intended for general educational use. It is not intended to provide legal advice. ReedGroup does not provide legal services. Consult an attorney for legal advice on this or any other topic.