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As we previously reported last year, Maryland passed their own paid family/medical leave income replacement program in April 2022 (called “A Time to Care Act of 2022” and hereinafter referred to as “MD PFML”). The program was initially scheduled to become effective on January 1, 2025 with employee contributions scheduled to begin on October 1, 2023.
Maryland Governor Wes Moore signed an amendment on May 3, 2023 modifying certain aspects of the MD PFML program. The highlights of these modifications include:
Read on for specific details on the MD PFML program.
Employers covered under MD PFML include all private companies and governmental entities that employ at least one individual in the state of Maryland, except for individuals who are the sole owner and the only employee of a sole proprietorship, limited liability company, C corporation, or S corporation.
Employees covered under MD PFML include employees who have worked at least 680 hours over the 12-month period immediately preceding the date on which leave is to begin.
Self-employed individuals may opt into MD PFML by contributing to the program.
Covered employees will be able to take MD PFML for a total of 12 weeks for the different types of leave events outlined below.
Covered employees may receive 12 weeks of family leave for parental bonding purposes in addition to up to 12 weeks of medical leave in the same benefit year under certain circumstances.
Intermittent leave may be taken under MD PFML as long as the employee provides reasonable advance notice and takes intermittent leave in increments of at least four hours at a time.
January 1, 2026 (initially scheduled to begin January 1, 2025)
Weekly benefits will range from $50 to $1,000, based on an employee’s average weekly wage.
Contributions to MD PFML, now scheduled to start October 1, 2024, will be split 50% / 50% between those employers with 15 or more employees and their employees. Employers are prohibited from deducting any portion of the employer contribution from employees’ wages.
Employers with less than 15 employees are not required to contribute to the program but their employees must still contribute.
An employee’s job must be restored after taking MD PFML unless the employee is terminated for cause or restoration would cause substantial and grievous economic injury to the employer’s operations and prescribed advance notice is provided to the employee. Employers are prohibited from taking adverse action against employees for taking or even inquiring about MD PFML.
Employers are required to maintain an employee’s existing health benefits at the same employee contribution amount while taking MD PFML.
When the need for leave under MD PFML is foreseeable, employers may require employees to provide notice 30 days before taking leave. When the need for leave is not foreseeable, employees must provide notice to their employer as soon as practicable and in accordance with the employer’s notice requirements for requesting other leave.
Employers may satisfy their MD PFML obligations and opt-out of collecting and remitting required premium contributions by applying for approval of a private plan from the state. The private plan must provide all of the same benefits, rights, and protections to employees as the state program at the same employee contribution rate.
Employers cannot require employees to exhaust paid vacation, sick, or other employer-provided paid time off prior to taking MD PFML. However, an employer may require that benefits payments under MD PFML run concurrently with leave provided under an employer-provided parental care, family care, military leave, or disability leave policy.
Employers and employees can mutually agree to supplement employees’ MD PFL benefit payments with paid vacation, sick leave, or other employer-provided paid time off in order to receive 100% of the employee’s average weekly wage.
If the qualifying reason for taking MD PFML benefits also qualifies for unpaid leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), both MD PFML and FMLA leaves will run concurrently with each other.
The Maryland Department of Labor (MD DOL) will develop and issue a MD PFML standard notice for employers to provide to all employees upon hire and annually as well. This standard notice will detail employees’ rights, protections, and responsibilities under MD PFML.
The Maryland Secretary of Labor will be responsible for enforcing the MD PFML program requirements by conducting investigations, imposing penalties, and bringing civil actions against employers for alleged violations of the program.
These recent MD PFML delays provide additional time for covered employers to begin preparations to implement the program, including:
Implementing regulations and model standard notices are anticipated to be released from the Maryland DOL in the next several months. Risk Strategies will continue to follow developments and provide updates when available.
The compliance landscape around state PFML regulations is complex and changing rapidly. Risk Strategies will continue to work diligently to provide our clients with the most up-to-date information. Contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
 The definition of “family member” under MD PFML is expansive and includes spouses, children (biological, adopted, foster, and step), parents, parents-in-law, grandparents, grandchildren, and siblings, among other individuals.
 Premium contributions were initially scheduled to begin October 1, 2023.
 Provided the employer’s notice requirements for other leave do not interfere with the employee’s ability to take MD PFML.