The Legislature Passed Paid Family Leave. Here’s What Counties Need to Know.

On March 31, the Maryland Senate gave the final approval to establish a statewide paid family and medical leave program, also known as FMLA. The bill passed was significantly amended after a series of major strategic changes in in the House. Here, we outline what counties need to know.

Conduit Street previously reported that the House and Senate were seemingly taking two very different approaches to paid leave, with the House taking a step back and establishing a commission to study the policy while the Senate took a more bold approach, passing a bill outlining the program details.

In a surprise move, just days after passing its commission bill, the House decided to  pass the Senate’s plan, SB 275, establishing a full FMLA policy, but making some significant changes to the bill. On March 31, the Senate gave the final “okay” to the amended bill and concurred with House with a vote of 31-15.

Where does this leave counties?

The now fully passed, amended bill does the following (among other things):

  • Establishes a statewide paid leave program in law;
  • Requires the Department of Legislative Services (DLS) to study several factors ahead of implementation, including setting the employee and employer contribution rates for the Family Medical Leave Insurance Program (FMLI), and the contribution rate for employers must be between 25-75%;
  • Starts contributions in October 2023, with the benefit starting January of 2025;
  • Exempts employers with fewer than 15 employees from contributing to the insurance fund, but still requires those employees at the same institution to contribute;
  • Gives workers 12 weeks of paid leave, plus an additional 12 weeks for new births and adoptions; and
  • Requires contribution rates and fund solvency, among other factors of the program, to be studied every two years.

The bill is now with Governor Hogan for consideration, who is expected to veto the legislation. Notably, the General Assembly passed SB 275 with enough time to override a veto, should the Governor choose to do so.

Stay tuned to Conduit Street for more on paid leave and other hot topics as the 2022 legislative session comes to a close.

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