Maryland

Below you will find any recent or upcoming changes to the family and medical leave and/or leave income replacement benefit law(s) within this state.

Last Updated: 03/08/2024

Maryland Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program (MD FMLI)

What is the Update?

Maryland recently passed a new paid family and medical leave law, the Time to Care Act, with updates after the passing of Senate Bill 828. Here is what we know about the law thus far:

Update (03/08/24):

  • The law rollout and benefits under the program will become available to covered employees on 01/01/2026 (however, there is legislation being considered that would push the date back to July 2026).
  • The law applies to employers with just one employee in Maryland.
  • Employees will qualify if they work 680 hours for any employer in the state in the 12-month period prior to the start of a leave.
  • They will be eligible to receive up to 12 weeks of paid leave for parental, family care, medical, military service member care, and qualifying exigency leave. Plus, an additional 12 weeks of paid leave when an employee requires both medical and parental leave. A birthing parent, for example, who is disabled due to their pregnancy could receive up to 12 weeks of medical leave and have an additional 12 weeks to bond with their child.
  • Leave is generally job-protected, and maintenance of group health insurance benefits is required.
  • There is an expansive list of family members covered under the law: child, parent, parent-in-law, spouse, grandchild, grandparent, sibling, and domestic partner.
  • 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.
  • Private plans are allowed as long as they meet or exceed the requirements of the law.
  • Employee and Employer contributions will begin 10/01/2024 (however, there is legislation being considered that would push the date back to July 2025)
  • The weekly benefit amount for the 12-month period beginning 01/01/26 will not exceed $1,000, with annual determinations each subsequent year.
  • Contribution rates would be 50/50 between employer and employee, and would remain the same from 10/01/2024 through 06/30/2026. The total contribution rate of 0.9% will be split evenly (0.45% each) unless the employer chooses to cover their employee’s share, up to a maximum of the current social Security wage base ($168,600 in 2024). Employers with 15 or more employees must contribute, and those with 14 or fewer employees are exempt from employer contributions, but must still collect employee contributions.
  • Employers will have the option to select a private self insurance plan or an insured plan through a carrier.
  • Employees will not be required to exhaust employer-provided accrued paid leave prior to claiming benefits under MD FMLI (this was previously a requirement under the law). However, employees and their employer can agree to use employer-provided accrued pay (e.g. vacation, sick, PTO) to top up benefits received.
  • Employers can still manage benefit coordination with their own employer-provided pay (such as salary continuation and STD).

The Maryland Department of Labor has also finally made available a website for the FMLI program. The “Employers” page has an expansive Q&A list discussing topics such as contributions, claims, and private plans.

Handbook/Policy Updates

The law does not state any requirements for updating employer handbooks currently. However, you may wish to add information in your handbooks about this law as the live date of the program draws nearer. It is generally our recommendation to include any leave benefit information in your handbooks, where you have an employee population in a particular state. We will also keep our clients posted regarding any updates.

Notice Requirements

Employers will be required to provide a notice to new hires and annually thereafter. The notice is not released by MD at this time. We will provide this to our clients, once published.

Larkin Action

The Larkin Company will consider any law changes carefully, and update our internal resources and processes, as well as our employee leave information packets, if necessary.

We will continue to monitor any updates regarding the law and will keep our clients updated.

Further Company Considerations

N/A

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Disclaimer

The Larkin Company has taken reasonable steps to ensure the accuracy of the information on this page, however we make no representation or warranty of any kind as to its accuracy or completeness. These resources should not be construed or substituted for legal advice. Accordingly, before taking any actions based upon such information provided herein, we encourage you to seek competent legal advice from a licensed attorney or appropriate professionals.