MARYLAND FINDS “TIME TO CARE”

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Patricia Tsipras

April 20, 2022

On April 9, 2022, Maryland’s House of Representatives and Senate passed Senate Bill 275, known as the Time to Care Act, overriding Governor Hogan’s veto of the Bill.  With this Act, Maryland joins nine other states and the District of Columbia in offering paid leave to workers that expands on the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).  The Act creates an insurance program that will allow workers to take up to 12 weeks (or up to 24 weeks in instances when new parents suffer a serious health condition in the same year) of leave and receive up to 90% of their income, capped at $1,000 per week.

Covered Reasons for Leave
The Act provides for leave to Maryland workers:

  • 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 worker’s own serious health condition that prevents the worker from performing the functions of their position
  • to care for a military service member with a serious health condition resulting from military service
  • to deal with the military deployment of a family member

The Act Broadly Defines “Family Member”
“Family Member” is defined broadly under the Act to include:

  • the biological, step, adopted, or foster child, sibling, grandparent, or grandchild of the worker
  • the worker’s spouse
  • a biological, step, adoptive, or foster parent of the worker OR the worker’s spouse
  • a child for whom the worker has legal or physical custody or guardianship
  • a child for whom the worker stands in loco parentis (regardless of the child’s age)
  • the legal guardian of the worker or the ward of the worker OR the worker’s spouse
  • an individual who acted as a parent or stood in loco parentis to the worker OR their spouse when they were a minor

The Act Expands on the FMLA
Maryland employers of one of more workers are covered by the Act, whereas the FMLA is applicable only to employers of 50 or more.  Workers must be employed for 12 months and work 680 hours in those 12 months to be eligible for paid leave under the Act, whereas the FMLA has a 1,250-hour threshold.  In addition, under the Act, workers may take intermittent leave for each type of covered leave, whereas the FMLA permits intermittent leave for the birth or placement of a child only with the employer’s agreement.

Additional Workplace Protections
Under the Act, Maryland workers on leave will retain their health insurance, and may be terminated only “for cause.”

Penalties for Violations
In the event of a violation of the Act, workers may recover up to three times the value of their lost wages and other compensation, as well as their attorney’s fees.

Effective Dates
Beginning on October 1, 2023, workers, employers, and the self-employed must begin to make financial contributions to the program.  Covered workers can begin to receive benefits on January 1, 2025.

 

 

*Special thanks to Ava Petrellese, our Pre-Law Intern through Temple University’s Fox School of Business, and Brooke Palma, our Office Administrator, for their contributions to this article.

 
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