Last month the Maryland Legislation voted to pass a paid family and medical leave insurance program. Called the Time to Care Act, the new legislation establishes a state-administered fund (the Family and Medical Leave Insurance Fund) to which employees, employers, and self-employed individuals will make contributions. It guarantees nearly all Maryland employees the right to up to 12 weeks of paid, job-protected leave to bond with a new child, care for a seriously ill loved one, deal with their own serious health needs, or address needs in connection with military deployment.
The Act goes into effect on June 1st 2022. However, major substantive provisions do not begin until October 23, 2023 (payroll tax) and January 1, 2025 (benefits).
Maryland joins 10 states, including the District of Columbia, to require some level of paid family leave. Other states have already passed family leave laws that will take effect soon.
WHAT THE NEW LAW COVERS:
- Covers nearly all employees in Maryland, regardless of employer size, including full-time and part-time workers and private and public sector workers.
- Provides up to 12 weeks off leave (or up to 24 weeks in certain situations) when workers or their loved ones are seriously ill, when welcoming a new child (for parents of any gender, including foster and adoptive parents), or to address the impact of military deployment.
- Generally ensures the right of employees to get their job back following leave and keep their health insurance during leave.
- Provides benefits through an insurance system that both employers and employees contribute to, ensuring the program is stable, solvent, and affordable for both workers and businesses.
- Pays workers on a sliding scale of up to 90% of their income, with lower-income workers receiving the highest portion of their income, up to cap.
A few things could change between now and full implementation of the law: the Department of Labor is directed to issue regulations by June 1, 2023, and there may be legal challenges to the law.
WHAT SHOULD I DO NOW?
For business leaders it is important to understand that the Time to Care Act appears to apply even if you only have one employee in Maryland. You should be on alert for updates as they are rolled out. In the near future, each employer will be required to provide notices to employees and new hires, review their current benefit and leave offerings to determine how they coordinate with the new law, work with their payroll vendor to prepare for a new tax withholding, and update their employee handbook.
HOW BLUESTONE SERVICES CAN HELP
Employment challenges and human resources issues are time-consuming and complicated. Let our Outsourcing Human Resources Consulting team handle the details so you can focus on what’s most important: your business.
Our program offers project-based support for this change in legislation including, but not limited to:
- HR Compliance Reviews
- Employee Handbook Development and Revisions
- HR Infrastructure Development and Redesign
- Employee File Audit