Maryland Time To Care Act
Starting in 2025, Maryland employees will be entitled to qualified paid sick leave under the Time to Care Act of 2022 (TTCA). Under the TTCA, most employees will be able to apply for partial wage replacement ranging from $50 to $1,000 a week to cover family and medical leave. The pay scale will vary depending upon the employee’s income, with lower income employee’s receiving up to 90% of their normal wage rate.
The TTCA creates the Maryland Family and Medical Leave Insurance Fund (FAMLI), which is to be administered by the Maryland Secretary of Labor. The FAMLI will include contributions by both employers and employees as well as self-employed individuals who choose to participate in the benefit. The Maryland Department of Labor is expected to adopt regulations no later than June 1, 2023. Employers with fifteen or more employees can expect to begin making contributions to the insurance fund on October 1, 2023.
The TTCA has provisions that are similar to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Under the FMLA, Employees may receive up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave for certain medical reasons or to care for a family member with certain medical needs. But while leave taken under the FMLA is unpaid time off, Maryland’s new law ensures that employees who qualify under the TTCA will be paid at least a portion of their wages from the FAMLI.
The key provisions of the TTCA include:
- Up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave following the birth of a child, to care for the employee’s own serious health needs, to care for a family member with serious health needs, or to deal with the needs of the family in connection with military deployment;
- An additional 12 weeks of paid family leave (up to 24 weeks annually) if the employee takes leave for the birth of a child and needs additional time to care for a serious health condition;
- The leave may be taken continuously or intermittently in at least four-hour increments;
- The law applies to both full-time and part-time employees provided that the employee has worked at least 680 hours in a twelve-month period;
- The applies to both private and public sector employees; and
- The law also allows self-employed individuals to participate.
Employers must also ensure that employees’ jobs are protected while they are on family or medical leave and must restore the employee to an equivalent position when they return to work. Employers may be eligible for an exemption under the TTCA if they can show that they provide eligible employees with benefits and/or insurance that meets or exceeds the benefits and protections required under the law.