With Maryland’s legislative session in full swing, advocacy groups plan to hold a rally in Annapolis on Monday to push lawmakers to pass paid family and medical leave.
The Time To Care Act of 2022 would create a family and medical leave insurance program, allowing employees to take up to 12 weeks of paid time off from work to care for new children, respond to a medical a family member or take care of themselves.
Myles Hicks, executive director of Maryland Rise, one of more than 100 companies and organizations in the Time To Care Coalition, said workers should take time off without it affecting their ability to pay their bills.
“Too many Marylanders face the impossible decision of having to choose between family health issues or choosing to go to work and get a paycheck,” Hicks said. “This legislation would ensure that if you’re faced with a health issue, that you take that time and don’t have to sit down and say, ‘Dude, if I’m not going to work, I’m not going to have paid.’ “
Opponents argued that most large private employers already offer paid leave and said the measure would be a burden on businesses. Employees would receive a minimum of $50 to a maximum of $1,000 per week in partial salary replacement.
Among registered voters in the state, 88% support a paid family leave program.
Tammy Bresnahan, advocacy director for AARP Maryland, said the pandemic has amplified the need for workers such as nursing home workers and caregivers to receive benefits such as paid time off.
“What this bill would do is keep them in the workforce,” Bresnahan explained. “They would at least have the option to go back to work because it’s protected when they’re under FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) but they would have a bit of a salary replacement so they don’t have to. [become] poor themselves. »
Nine states and Washington DC have paid family and medical leave laws. The bill was introduced in the House and Senate and went through hearings in both chambers this month. The legislation was introduced in the last session, but never went to committee.
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