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

    February 26, 2020

    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.