The Maryland state legislature delivered a victory to employees throughout the state by overriding the governor’s veto of Senate Bill 275, also known as the Time to Care Act of 2022. The law will provide Maryland workers with temporary paid leave benefits, provided they have qualifying medical situation that prevents them from working. Only nine other states and the District of Columbia maintain similar programs.
A Wide Net of Protections
Maryland workers will have to wait until 2025 for the law to fully go into effect, but once it does, its protections will prove fairly robust. Some of the situations under which employees may seek paid leave benefits are:
- Childcare during the first year of a child’s life or after an adoption
- Providing care for a family member who suffers from a serious medical condition
- Attending to the needs of the qualifying individual him- or herself arising from a serious medical condition
- To cover the health care needs of a family member whose injury or medical condition is related to military service
The law provides up to 12 weeks for most Maryland employees and up to 24 weeks in some situations, such as the birth of a child followed by a serious medical setback.
“Do I Qualify?”
Anyone who works in Maryland qualifies for the program, provided they have worked a minimum of 680 hours in the 12 months prior to the beginning of the leave. Employed and self-employed workers are included, but the self-employed must agree to opt into the system.
Beginning on October 1, 2023, the program will begin to draw funding through payroll deductions and from self-employed workers who opt in. The state will administer the program and directly provide funds to participating individuals.
Legal Complications May Ensue
In addition to providing funding for paid family and medical leave, the Time to Care Act also provides workers with legal protections against retaliation by their employers. Employees who need to use this leave but face threats of termination and other adverse treatment should know that the law is on their side.