Different Versions of Paid Leave on the Move in Legislature

The General Assembly moved two versions of paid family leave, also known as FMLA, this week. The path forward and which version will ultimately be the the compromise remain to be seen.

The Senate Finance Committee passed a version of the “Time to Care Act of 2022” on Wednesday, March 16, that is now up for consideration on the Senate Floor. The day before, the House Economic Matters Committee passed a very different of the same bill. Both are up for consideration by the full chambers in the coming days, but which version will ultimately persevere remains unclear at this moment.

Both bills would allow Marylanders to take 12 weeks of paid leave to care for themselves or a family member, with a potential additional 12 weeks for specific circumstances. The two versions on the move split on implementation details and timeline, however.

Here, we outline the differences in the two versions.

Senate Finance Committee version (SB 275)

  • Requires the Maryland Department of Labor to study and determine the cost of maintaining the Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program (FAMLI);
  • Codifies the FAMLI program into law;
  • Sets contribution rates at 25% employer contribution, 75% employee contribution; and
  • Would allow Marylanders to start claiming benefits in 2025 (a nine-month delay to the originally drafted timeline).

House Ecomonomic Matters Committee version (HB 496)

  • Establishes a commission to work out the specific program and funding mechanism, with the goal to implement the program in 2023 with a benefit start date of June 2024; and
    • The commission would the commission would make recommendations on employment eligibility, when contributions should start, the cost-sharing formula between employers and employees and any other aspects that the commission deems relevant.
  • Does not establish the FAMLI program into state law, and would instead set the foundation for the state to do so next legislative session, as indicated by Chair CT Wilson, who sponsored the bill: “This is just for our information and knowledge so that we can move forward next year with alacrity, determination and in the right direction.”

Both chambers are expected to take up the respective bills in the coming day or two, before Crossover Day (Monday, March 21), in which bills must be passed by one chamber and “crossed over” into the opposite chamber to have the best chance at passage.

Stay tuned to Conduit Street to see where the General Assembly lands on paid leave.