Maryland Enacts New State Paid Family and Medical Leave Entitlement
Maryland recently joined nine other states (and the District of Columbia) in providing employees in the state with a right to paid family and medical leave. Although employer contributions to the paid family and medical leave program will not begin until 2023 and employees may not apply for benefits until 2025, when the law goes into effect, it will dramatically expand the leave rights available to Maryland employees because the law applies to employees and employers who are not covered by the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
Starting on October 1, 2023, all employees working in Maryland, self-employed individuals, and employers with 15 more employees participating in the Program must begin contributing to a new paid sick-leave fund. Based on the new law, an eligible employee will receive a weekly maximum payment of $1,000.00 for up to 12 weeks. An eligible employee is one who has worked at least 680 hours over a 12-month period immediately preceding the date on which leave is to begin.
When the new paid family and medical leave program goes into effect, Maryland employees will be entitled to take use of paid leave for the following reasons:
- To care for a newborn child or a child newly placed for adoption, foster care, or kinship care.
- To care for a family member with a serious health condition.
- To attend to the employee’s own serious health condition that prevents the employee from performing the functions of his or her position.
- To care for a military servicemember with a serious health condition resulting from military service.
- Due to the deployment of a family member for military service.
Ordinarily, under FMLA, an employee is entitled to a total of 12 weeks of leave per year, but now if an employee takes leave for both the birth or placement of a child and the employee’s own serious health condition, the leave entitlement expands to a maximum of 24 weeks. Any leave the employee takes will run concurrently to their FMLA leave entitlement, if any.
Employer and employee payroll tax contributions will fund the paid leave fund. Although all employers in Maryland must provide leave, only employers with 15 or more employees must contribute to the state fund. Alternatively, employers may establish self-funded private employer plans to provide paid leave, in which case they need not contribute to the state fund.
Freedman Law, LLC will closely monitor expanded guidance and new regulations that are published in the coming year. Contact our firm today if you need assistance with an employer leave policy or have questions regarding your workplace rights.