What will this bill provide to those working in Maryland? As with many other states, the available benefit under the new paid family and medical leave insurance program is 12 work weeks of partial pay and job protection; however there are certain scenarios where it could provide up to 24 work weeks of leave and wage replacement. As with other PFML programs, covered leave reasons include an 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 work weeks 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 work weeks).
- 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.
Employers, sit tight, as we’ve learned from State after State, the roll out of these benefits tends to be a bumpy ride. 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 be 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
Through October of 2023, ensure to review your current absence policies and procedures to see if they might conflict with the new MD TCA and/or require updates.
Guardian 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 an employer seeking solutions for disability, leave and accommodation administration, reach out to us for more information!