The segments below provide a brief overview of MACo’s work in the area of employee benefits and relations in the 2022 General Assembly.
MACo advocates for fair state laws governing employment practices, labor representation, and employer-employee relationships. MACo becomes particularly engaged when a proposal has a disproportionate or unique effect on public sector employees – frequently those affecting public safety employees or other public workers who engage in sensitive and essential functions.
The unique circumstances surrounding the 444th legislative session, including necessary health and safety measures, posed a challenge for lawmakers and advocates alike. Yet, despite the unusual circumstances, MACo’s advocacy still led to more positive outcomes for its members.
Paid Family and Medical Leave
MACo opposed legislation that would establish a Family Medical Leave and Insurance Program in the State and require employers and employees to contribute to the insurance fund. The bill was heavily amended, however, into a Commission on the Establishment of a Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program to study and make recommendations for establishing a Family Medical Leave and Insurance Program in the State; providing that the intent of the General Assembly is to establish a certain statutory framework for a family medical leave and insurance program in the State that is effective not later than June 1, 2023; etc. The amended bill, HB 496 Commission on the Establishment of a Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program, passed the General Assembly and awaits the Governor’s signature.
MACo opposed legislation that would establish the Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program in the Maryland Department of Labor to provide certain benefits to individuals who take leave from employment for certain purposes; establishing the Family and Medical Leave Insurance Fund as a special, non-lapsing fund; requiring, beginning October, 2023, employees, employers with at least 15 employees, and self-employed individuals to contribute to the Fund in a certain manner; etc. HB 8 / SB 275 Labor and Employment – Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program – Establishment (Time to Care Act of 2022) passed the General Assembly and awaits the Governor’s signature. Conduit Street previously reported on the bill in its amended form and its implications for counties.
Hiring and Job Requirements
MACo opposed legislation that would prohibit an employer from developing or implementing an application or hiring process that uses an applicant’s or employee’s lack of achievement of a certain level of education in employment decisions unless a minimum educational qualification is required to obtain an occupational license; authorizing an employer to inquire as to an applicant’s academic achievement after an initial offer of employment, but may not rescind the offer based on the applicant’s response; providing certain penalties under certain circumstances; etc. SB 66 Labor and Employment – Hiring – Education Requirements (Give Me a Chance – Job Opportunities Act of 2022) failed in the General Assembly.
MACo opposed legislation that would authorize the Workers’ Compensation Commission, if there is no compensation other than a medical benefit payable to a covered employee, to order that a fee of not more than $2,000 for legal services rendered on behalf of the covered employee be payable by the covered employee, an employer or its insurer, a self-insured employer, or the Uninsured Employers’ Fund; exempting the ordered fee from the requirement that a fee approved by the Commission be a lien on compensation awarded; and applying the Act prospectively. HB 501 / SB 433 Labor and Employment – Workers’ Compensation Claims – Fees for Legal Services failed in the General Assembly.
MACo opposed legislation that would establish that first responders, public safety employees, and health care workers are presumed to have an occupational disease that is compensable under workers’ compensation law after a positive test or diagnosis for COVID-19; and applying the Act retroactively. SB 10 Workers’ Compensation – Occupational Disease Presumptions failed in the General Assembly.
MACo opposed legislation that provide that a 9-1-1 specialist who is diagnosed by a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist with post-traumatic stress disorder is presumed to have an occupational disease that was suffered in the line of duty or course of employment and is compensable under the workers’ compensation law. HB 439 / SB 374 Workers’ Compensation – Occupational Disease Presumptions – 9-1-1 Specialists failed in the General Assembly.