Maryland Changes Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program


About a year ago, the Maryland Legislature passed the Time to Care Act of 2022 (SB 275/HB8).Maryland became her 11th state1 Adopt a statewide (in addition to the District of Columbia) family and medical leave program (the “Program”). The Maryland General Assembly recently closed its 2023 session and passed program amendments. The Governor approved the amendment on May 3, 2023.

This program applies to all employers with at least one employee in Maryland and is funded by contributions from employers and employees. Eligible employees are entitled to up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave per benefit year for a single reason under the program. These reasons include: (2) Caring for family members with serious health conditions. (3) Pay attention to employees’ own serious health conditions that prevent them from performing their duties; (4) Military service care of close relatives with serious health conditions resulting from military service. (5) Pay attention to quality military emergencies.

Employees are generally limited to a total of 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave per benefit year. This brings her total possible paid leave to 24 weeks. The original law stipulated that contributions would begin on October 1, 2023, and that employees would be able to take advantage of program benefits on January 1, 2025.

The Maryland Legislature has made the following notable changes to the program:

  • delay in implementation: Donations to the program will begin both employer and employee October 1, 2024A qualified employee shall: January 1, 2026.
  • Split of contributions: Contributions to the program are split 50/50 between employers and employees.2 However, employers can choose to pay 50% or more (up to the full amount required by the employee).
  • Contribution rate cap: Contributions to the program cannot exceed 1.2% of an employee’s wages and applies to all wages up to the Social Security wage base.Contribution rate is set on or before the day October 1, 2023The first premium rate effective October 1, 2024 will apply until June 30, 2026. Thereafter, the premium rate will be set annually by February 1st and the rate will be in effect until June 30th, 2026. 12 months from July 1st of the same year.
  • Interaction with other laws and leaves: If any paid leave taken under the law is also recognized as protective leave under the FMLA, the taken paid leave shall be exercised concurrently with, and not in addition to, such protective leave. On the other hand, the amendments to the program clarified that covered employees are not required to use up or use certain paid leave (for examplevacation, paid vacation, sick leave, etc.) before or while receiving Program benefits.
  • Added definition of “wage”: The amended law added a definition of “wages” to include hourly wages or salaries. Fees; compensation; severance pay; standby pay; tips or gratuities; holiday or vacation payments;
  • Expanding the definition of “family”: Eligible employees’ domestic partners are now included in the eligible “family” of the program.

Recommendation

The implementing rules are expected to be published by January 1, 2024, giving employers more time to prepare their programs.

Employers should use this time to identify eligible employees, prepare their payroll systems to include additional payroll taxes, and consult with an experienced Maryland employment attorney to ensure that their current payroll Vacation, vacation, family and medical leave policies should be reviewed and explained. these new requirements.

Littler will continue to monitor the impact of this new law and the regulatory situation.



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