Regulation Roundup: All of MACo’s Public Comments on Draft Paid Leave Regulations

This article is part of MACo’s Deep Dive series, where expert analysts explore and explain the top county issues of the day. A new article is added each week – read all of MACo’s Deep Dives.

The Time to Care Act (TCA), passed by the Maryland legislature earlier this year, requires employers with at least 15 employees in the state to offer State-mandated paid family leave benefits beginning in 2025. All 24 of Maryland’s counties — as employers — fall under the TCA requirements to offer the future paid leave benefit.

The 2023 legislative session ushered in a wave of operational and implementation updates to Maryland’s Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FAMLI) program passed in 2022. These updates include a new timeline for employers to implement the benefit and/or apply for a private plan of equal benefits opt-out.

To implement the benefits program, the Maryland Department of Labor (DOL) established the Division of Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FAMLI), tasked with establishing and administering Maryland’s paid family and medical leave insurance system. Its website calls the office “a new and growing team within the Maryland Department of Labor.”

A large part of the Division’s work in 2023 will be drafting the regulations that will govern the system. In doing so, the FAMLI Division has held a series of public stakeholder meetings accompanying several discussion documents and draft regulations.

Public engagement has helped inform the Division’s regulation drafting, and MACo has been pleased to participate extensively in the process on behalf of all 24 Maryland counties.

Informal regulatory and stakeholder engagement process

There will be six “phases” to the process, corresponding to six policy areas the Division has identified as benefiting from substantive public engagement. For each phase, the Division will first release a discussion document that lays out areas for discussion and comment. One week after the release of each discussion document, the Division will hold a public meeting by video conference where members of the public can sign up to provide comments on or responses to one or more of the topics covered in the discussion document. Several weeks after each meeting, the Division will circulate a draft that pertains to the policy area under discussion in that phase.

The first public meeting for the informal regulatory engagement process was held (virtually) at 1:00 pm on June 6, 2023. This was a preliminary session in addition to the six policy phases. During the meeting, stakeholders reviewed the process for these informal regulatory engagement sessions and provided comments on the engagement process and the regulations as a whole.

MACo’s public comments

MACo has submitted a series of public comments and feedback on the Division’s draft regulations. Below are MACo’s comments and their corresponding stakeholder meeting.