Maryland and Canada Updates

April 8, 2022

There are quite a few Paid Family and Medical Leave bills working their way through state legislatures – some of which have already died in committee. We discuss one below that is close to the finish line.

Maryland Family and Medical Leave Insurance

The Old Line State may be next in line as far as a paid family leave program is concerned. Earlier this month, lawmakers sent SB 275 to Governor Hogan for his signature. Here are the high-level details as they currently stand:

  • Employees will need to work 680 hours (for any employer, similar to Washington’s PFML program) in the 12-month period prior to the start of a leave to be eligible.
  • 12 weeks of paid leave for parental, family care, medical, military service member, and qualifying exigency leave.
  • An additional 12 weeks of paid leave when an employee requires both medical and parental leave.
  • Leave is generally job-protected and maintenance of group health insurance benefits is required.
  • Expansive list of family members covered under the law: child, parent, parent-in-law, spouse, grandchild, grandparent and sibling.
  • Will be funded by both employers and employees (no details yet) and administered by an “outside contractor” (the company to be determined).
  • Contributions begin October 1, 2023 for employees and employers with 15 or more employees. The rate has not yet been determined.
  • Benefit amount: 90% for those earning 65% or less of the state average weekly wage; for those earning greater than 65% of the state average weekly wage, 90% of the employee’s average weekly wage, up to 65% of the state average weekly wage plus 50% of the employee’s average weekly wage that is greater than 65% of the state average weekly wage. The maximum benefit for the first year of the program is $1,000 per week.
  • Employees must exhaust all employer-provided paid leave that is not required to be provided under law before receiving benefits under this program. In other words, employer-provided paid leave would not run concurrently with this program.
  • Private plans are allowed as long as they meet or exceed the requirements of the law.

We’ll monitor the bill to see if it crosses the finish line and will definitely keep you posted.

Canada – Federally Regulated Employers

Medical/Sick Leave

Last December, we provided an update regarding Bill 3-C, which is an Act that amends the Canada Labour Code (CLC). The CLC applies to federally regulated employers. Bill 3-C enables employees to take up to 10 days of paid medical leave per year. This bill has now received royal assent and so will amend the CLC. The date on which the change in the law will go into effect is yet to be determined. We will provide an update once the date is known.

The number of days an employee will be entitled to take will depend on their tenure with the company.

  • After 30 days of continuous employment – an employee may take 3 days of paid medical leave.
  • After 60 days of continuous employment – at the beginning of each month, an employee earns 1 day of paid medical leave, up to 10 days per year maximum.
  • In each subsequent calendar year, at the beginning of each month, the employee earns 1 day of paid medical leave, up to 10 days per year maximum.

Employers may require a certificate issued by a healthcare practitioner certifying that the employee is incapable of working during their leave, when the employee has been absent for at least 5 consecutive days.

Bereavement Leave

Effective September 29, 2021, the CLC was updated to extend bereavement leave (from 5 days) to 10 days of bereavement leave for federally regulated employers, the first 3 days of which are paid. The employee must have 3 continuous months of employment with the employer to be eligible.

Bill C-3 (the same bill as mentioned above related to medical leave) amends the bereavement leave provisions under the CLC, giving up to 8 weeks of leave if an employee has experienced the death or stillbirth of their child or their spouse or common-law partner’s child. The leave may be taken during the period that begins on the day of death or stillbirth and ends 12 weeks after the funeral, memorial, or burial, whichever is later.

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