Q: What is Maryland’s FAMLI Act?
A: The Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FAMLI) program is a new program created by the state legislature in 2022 and updated in the 2023 legislative session that grants eligible employees in Maryland the right to 12 weeks paid leave to care for a family member, or for that employee to take leave for their own serious medical condition. Maryland joins 10 other states—California, New York, Connecticut, Colorado, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington, as well as the District of Columbia—that offer some sort of paid, long-term family leave to workers to help care for a worker’s family member. Marylanders may begin using the benefit January 1, 2026.
Q: Who is an eligible employee?
A: Any employee in the state who has worked at least 680 hours over the preceding 12 month period is eligible for FAMLI benefits.
Q: When does the program begin?
A: Employees may use FAMLI benefits starting January 1, 2026. In October 2024, employers and employees will begin to make contributions to the FAMLI fund.
Q: As an employee, what will my contribution be?
A: At this time, the exact amount that will be withheld from each employee’s paycheck is unknown. Maryland Department of Labor (MDL) will determine the amount contributed per employee, and it will be announced in October 2023.
The law requires an employer to pay no less than 50% of the employee contribution amount. An employer may cover more than the 50% of the contribution from each employee, thus lowering the employee’s contribution, if the employer so chooses or agrees to through collective bargaining.
Testimony on the bill during the 2023 legislative session estimated that for an average employee making $72K per year, the weekly contribution would be $6.38 per week. This is based on half of roughly 0.91% an employee’s weekly pay (see this link, at the 4:23:35 mark).
MDL will provide annual updates on the pool of contributions to the fund to keep Maryland informed of the program’s solvency, and may recommend adjustments to contribution levels accordingly.
Q: For employees making use of the benefit, how much will they be paid?
A: The precise amount that an employee will be paid is still being determined by MDL. The law caps the amount an employee on the benefit can be paid to $1,000 per week. The law also allows employers and employees to come to an agreement on using a combination of employer-offered sick or vacation leave in order to recuperate 100% of an employee’s weekly salary while on the benefit. MDL will provide the specifics as to how that will work.
Q: Do I have to use up all of my accrued leave before I can use FAMLI?
A: Employers cannot force an employee to use their vacation or sick leave before they are eligible for FAMLI benefits.
Q: What if my employer already offers some type of family and medical leave?
A: If the Maryland Department of Labor finds that an employer’s existing paid family leave program is substantially similar to the provisions of the state’s FAMLI plan, MDL may offer an exemption for making the required contributions.
As of right now, the specifics of how MDL would determine a current paid family leave plan to be similar enough to the state’s FAMLI plan, or what the state will require of employers and employees looking for an exemption, has not been determined.
Q. How may I be more informed about this plan as decisions regarding it are made?
A: The Maryland Department of Labor hosts regularly scheduled stakeholder meetings regarding the implementation of the plan via zoom. Any member of the public may register to attend, hear what is being discussed, and provide comments and feedback to the administrators.
To sign up for the email listserv announcing these meetings, and for materials from pervious stakeholder discussions, visit https://www.labor.maryland.gov/famli/
- Chapter 48 of the 2022 Maryland Legislative Session Fiscal and Policy Note.
- House bill 988 of the 2023 Maryland Legislative Session Fiscal and Policy Note.
- State Family and Medical Leave Policy Brief of the National Conference of State Legislatures.
- University of Baltimore and Millman actuarial study (based on 2022 assumptions).