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Legislative News

    2020 Legislative UPDATE

    1. ALERT:  HB 839 & SB 539 - Family & Medical Leave Insurance Bill Proposed

    MD SHRM State Council is acutely aware that family and medical leave laws are on the rise and paid time off to care for family and serious health conditions can be a rewarding benefit.  MD SHRM is not opposed to family and medical leave.  However, MD SHRM does have significant concerns with the implementation and compliance with HB 839 and SB 539, legislation that would establish a state Family & Medical Leave Insurance (FAMLI) Program to be administered under the supervision of the Department of Labor’s Unemployment Insurance (UI) Division.

    The proposed program generally provides up to 12 weeks of benefits to an employee who is taking partially paid or unpaid leave for certain reasons, except that an additional 12 weeks for benefits appears to be provided in certain circumstances.  The bill establishes the FAMLI Fund, which will consist of contributions from employees and employers. Beginning January 1, 2021, each employee and employer shall contribute to the fund at a rate to be set by the Maryland Department of Labor. Self-employed individuals may also participate.

    MD SHRM opposes the bills for the following reasons: 

    • Undue financial burden, particularly for small employers and non-profits
    • Expanded definitions of eligibility; does not align with federal FMLA or sick and safe leave
    • Length of leave up to 24 weeks in one calendar year
    • Implementation/administrative complexity 
    • Mandate for all employers, regardless of size, makes it difficult to support.

    ACTION REQUESTED: In advance of these hearings, we urge you to contact your legislators to share how this legislation would impact your business or organization. Feel free to use any of the talking points attached. If you wish to participate in either hearing in opposition, please contact Cheryl Brown (  

    • HB 839 has a hearing scheduled in the House Economic Matters Committee on Monday, February 24, at 1 p.m.
    • SB 539 has a hearing scheduled in the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday, February 27, at 1 p.m.



    HB 126 passed unanimously by the House (130-0) on February 13.   Christine Walters, Greta Engle and Cheryl Brown testified before the House Judiciary committee with the sponsor Del. Vanessa Atterbeary in support of the bill.  The MD Hospital Association and MD Nurses Association also testified in support of the bill. 

    SB 846 (Senator Sydnor) - The Senate Judicial Proceedings committee is scheduled to hear testimony on the cross filed bill on March 11 at 12:00pm.   Christine, Greta and Cheryl will be joined by Christine Miller and Joseph Pettiford to testify in support of the bill. 

    ACTION REQUESTED:  Please reach out to your Senators who are on the JPR committee and ask for their favorable vote of SB 846!!!  And share with your A-Team members.   Click here for committee members:




    On January 30, 2020, the Maryland General Assembly voted to override Governor Hogan’s veto of the 2019 SB839 (“Ban the Box”) that states all employers with 15 or more employees are prohibited from asking applicants about their criminal background or criminal accusations before the first in-person interview.   The bill eliminates the criminal history question on job applications but allows employers to require applicants to disclose criminal records during the first in-person interview.  

    The Bill does not (1) prohibit an employer from making an inquiry or taking other action that the employers is required to take or is expressly authorized to take by another applicable Federal or State law; or (2) apply to an employer that provides programs, services, or direct care to minors or to vulnerable adults.”  Employers may not “retaliate or discriminate” against applicants or employees claiming violations of the Act.

    The Bill does not preempt a local jurisdiction from enacting or enforcing laws that are more restrictive of employers in the local jurisdiction.  In other words, employers in Baltimore City, Montgomery County and Prince George’s County all must comply with the more restrictive local Ban the Box laws. 

    Update your employment applications and train your hiring team.  There is a fine up to $300 per incident for an employer’s noncompliance.

    If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Cheryl Brown, MDSHRM Governmental Affairs,