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MD Legislative Update on the Senate Bill #275 “The Time to Care Act”

    February 3, 2022

    On February 10th, Christine Walters and other members of our community will again be testifying in opposition to SB 275, Time to Care Act. This bill is back from last year and is a paid family and medical leave bill, including military leave (with only some similarities from FMLA). The bill is a payroll tax on employers and employees.  It would work like unemployment insurance but, as currently drafted, without any input from the employer.  An employee would file with the state if s/he needed family or medical leave and the state would approve or deny the application. With no input from the employer, this could include approval even if the employee was concurrently receiving any form of paid leave from the employer (sick leave, WC, STD, PTO, vacation, SSL, etc.).  As drafted, it is also unclear, and some have suggested this IS a new bank of leave.  We cannot support this bill in any way unless, at a minimum, the language makes clear that this is ONLY payment for leave that is already available to the employee and not in addition to FMLA, HWFA, MD parental leave, MFLA, paid military leave, or anything else.

    1. The bill sponsors and committee members need to hear from employers about any concerns.

    Sponsors: Senator Benson Senator Hayes 

    Senate Finance Committee: Senate Finance Committee Members

    1. Perhaps, even more importantly, they need to hear from employees (particularly non-exempt) who do not want more money taken out of their paycheck without their consent (this is not an opt-in bill).
    2. The bill will be heard in the Senate Finance Committee.  The Chair, Senator Kelly and Vice Chair Feldman represent Baltimore and Montgomery County, respectively.  An outpouring of concerns from their local businesses and constituents may be very helpful.