A Deeper Dive Into Maryland’s New Paid Family Leave Law

Kollman & Saucier
Kollman & Saucier

As Eric Paltell blogged about earlier this month, Maryland is now the 10th state to offer paid family leave to employees.  Likely, many other states will follow suit.  Below is a Q&A to unpack further what is required by the “Time to Care Act.”

  • What Employers Are Covered?
    • Any public or private entity that employs at least one individual in Maryland.
    • Employers may be eligible for an exemption under the Act if they can establish that they offer eligible employees with benefits and/or insurance that meets or exceeds the benefits and protections under the Act.  Employers will be required to submit  their plan for review and approval from the Maryland Department of Labor (MDOL).

  • Who Gets Paid Leave?
    • A part-time or full-time employee who has worked 680 hours over the 12-month period immediately preceding the date on which the employee’s leave is to begin.  The 680-hour work requirement is roughly 13 hours per week of work.

  • What Are The Benefits Of The Act?
    • Paid Leave: The Act offers up to 12 weeks of paid time off per year to care for a new child (birth, adoption, fostered); an employee’s medical condition; or a family member’s serious illness or military deployment.
      • There are certain instances when an employee may get up to 24 weeks of paid leave, such as if medical leave is needed during pregnancy followed by parental leave after childbirth.
    • Job Protection: Employers may not discriminate or take any adverse employment action against an individual who has filed for, applied for, and/or received benefits under the new law; inquired about rights and responsibilities under the new law; communicated an intent to file a claim, complaint or appeal under the new law; or testified (or intends to) in a proceeding under the new law.
      • Employers also have to ensure that employees have job protection while out on leave and the employer will “restore the covered individual to an equivalent position of employment” upon return from leave.

  • How Are The Paid Leave Benefits Funded?
    • The Family and Medical Leave Insurance Fund (the Fund) will source the paid leave.
    • The Fund is financed by a payroll tax paid by both the employer (if the employer has 15 or more employees) and the employee.  
    • The payroll tax will go into effect on October 1, 2023.  The rate has not yet been determined/announced.
    • The Fund is administered by the Maryland Secretary of Labor. 

  • How Do Employees Receive The Paid Leave Benefit?
    • Eligible employees will be required to submit an application for benefits to the administering agency, similar to the process for seeking unemployment.

  • How Much Pay Will Employees Receive?
    • The benefits replace 90% of weekly wages for the lowest-income wage earners.  There is a decreasing percentage of wages paid as an employee’s income increases.  The lowest paid workers get a minimum of $50 per week.  The highest paid workers are capped at $1,000 per week.

  • How Can Employees Take The Leave?
    • The leave may be taken continuously or intermittently.  If intermittently, leave must be taken in no less than 4-hour increments.

  • Is There A Notice/Posting Requirement?
    • Yes, employers are required to provide written notice to each employee of their rights and duties under the Act.  This includes the right to receive benefits, the procedures for filing a claim for benefits, the employee’s responsibilities during leave, the employee’s right to file a complaint for alleged violations, the employee’s right to job protection, and a description of prohibited acts and related penalties.
    • The MDOL is expected to issue a model poster in the next few months.

  • What Dates Should Employers Keep In Mind?
    • The Maryland Secretary of Labor has been tasked with adopting regulations for the Fund by June 1, 2023.
    • Employees, employers with 15 or more employees, and self-employed individuals may begin contributing to the Fund on October 1, 2023.
    • As of January 1, 2025, employees taking leave under the Act will be paid partial wage replacement from $50 to $1000 per week, depending on their regular rate of pay.
  • What Should Employers Do Now?
    • Review your current paid leave policies to assess if you already provide benefits that meet or exceed those required by the Act.  If you do not, assess whether you want to change your policies to qualify for an exemption.
    • If you will not be participating in the Fund, be ready to submit your policies to the MDOL with sufficient time to get exempted before the October 1, 2023 payroll tax contribution obligation begins.
    • If you will be participating in the Fund, remain abreast of all updates and developments, including the contribution rates, notice and posting requirements, and contents and requirements of the soon-to-come regulations.
    • If you will be participating in the Fund, be ready to implement the payroll tax on October 1, 2023, and provide timely notice to employees of their benefits, rights and responsibilities under the Act.

We will continue to monitor and blog about updates with the Act.


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