All Employers with MD Employees
October 1, 2023
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Maryland recently passed the Time to Care Act, requiring all employers to provide eligible Maryland employees with paid family and medical leave. The following is a key summary of the Act’s requirements.
Covered Employees: A covered employee is any employee that has worked at least 680 hours over the 12-month period immediately preceding the date they start eligible leave.
Reasons for Leave: Covered employees may take leave:
- To provide care during the first year after a child’s birth or after placement through adoption, foster placement, or kin care;
- To care for a family member experiencing a serious health condition;
- To care for their own serious health condition;
- To care for a service member who is next of kin; or
- For qualifying exigency due to a family member’s deployment.
Leave Benefit: Covered employees can use up to 12 weeks of leave benefits in an application year. The application year begins on the first day of the calendar week when the employee applies for benefits. Covered employees may use an additional 12 weeks of leave only if their initial 12 weeks was either to care for a new child or due to their own serious health condition and the additional leave is for the opposite. Eligible employees may start receiving benefits on January 1, 2025.
Payroll Contributions: Both Employers and employees make payroll contributions towards the cost, with payments starting on October 1, 2023. The contribution rate and cost-sharing between employer and employee will depend on a study conducted by the MDOL. The initial rate and cost-sharing will be set no later than June 1, 2023 and will be in effect from October 1, 2023 through December 31, 2025. Employers with fewer than 15 employees will not be required to contribute but the employee share must be paid.
Employers who already offer paid family leave can avoid the required payroll contributions if their plan meets all the following requirements:
- The plan must be offered to all eligible employees.
- The plan must meet or exceed the rights, protections, and benefits of the Act.
- The plan must be filed with and approved by the Maryland Department of Labor (MDOL).
Employers may also not be responsible for contributions if they are community-based agencies or programs funded by specific state programs.
Leave Benefits: In 2025, the weekly benefit amount payable will be at least $50, but not more than $1,000, based on wages earned. By September 1st each year, the MDOL will announce whether the maximum benefit will increase based on the Consumer Price Index. Any increase shall only apply for claims filed after the date the increase becomes effective on January 1st following the announcement.
Other Benefits: Employees are required to exhaust all employer-provided leave that is not required by law before they can receive paid benefits under the Act. Leave taken under the Act will run concurrently with leave that would also be eligible under federal FMLA. Similar to the protections provided in the federal FMLA, employees will also continue to receive health benefits at their same cost while on leave.
Job Protection: Generally, employees must be restored to an equivalent position when they return from leave. An exception exists if necessary to prevent “substantial and grievous economic injury” to the employer’s operations, the employer notifies the employee, and the employee elects not to return to employment after receiving the notice.
Required Notices: Employers must provide a notice of rights to employees when they are hired and at least annually thereafter. Within five days of a request for leave, employers must also provide a notice that explains their rights to benefits, claims procedures, and other required information. The MDOL will develop standard notices.
The MDOL is required to adopt regulations by June 1, 2023, which will hopefully clarify certain provisions that were not detailed in the text of the law.
- Prepare to update payroll processes for employer and employee contributions.
- Have leave policies updated.
- Implement required leave procedures for compliance.
- Have appropriate personnel trained on the new requirements.
- Provide required employee notices once available from the state.
- Subscribers can call our HR On-Call Hotline at (888) 378-2456 for further assistance.
Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser. © 2022 ManagEase