Overview of Family Leave Laws in the United States:
Maryland

Updated on March 27, 2024

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Maryland
What purposes can leave be used for?

Family and medical leave can be used: (1) for a worker’s own serious health condition; (2) to bond with a child within one year of the child’s birth, adoption, or placement for kinship or foster care; (3) to care for a family member with a serious health condition; or (4) to address certain military family needs.

Maryland’s law also specifies that leave can be taken to care for a loved one who is the covered individual’s next of kin who has a serious health condition as a result of the loved one’s military service. This purpose may also be covered under other paid family and medical leave laws.

Benefits begin Jan. 1, 2026.

Who is covered? California, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Washington State, Massachusetts, and Connecticut also provide some coverage for previously covered workers who have a qualifying need for family or medical leave while they are unemployed, while New York and Hawaii also provide some coverage for previously covered workers who have a qualifying need related to the worker’s own health. Details vary by state. States that aren’t currently implementing their programs will also likely provide some coverage for previously covered workers during unemployment, though final regulations will be needed to specify details

All employees are covered.

Are public sector workers automatically covered? Note that no state law covers federal employees. Yes.
Are domestic workers covered? Yes.
Can self-employed workers opt-in to coverage? Yes.
What are the requirements to qualify for benefits?

Workers must have worked at least 680 hours in the qualifying period.

The qualifying period means the 12-month period immediately preceding the date on which leave begins.

What family members are covered? A family member includes a worker’s child, parent, parent of a spouse, legal guardian, spouse, domestic partner, grandparent, grandchild, or sibling.
How is the program funded?

Workers and employers share the cost of all leave. Employers can withhold up to 50% of the contributions from workers’ wages; employers cover the remaining cost. Employers with fewer than 15 employees are not required to pay the employer portion.

The Secretary of Labor will set the total contribution rate based on a cost analysis of the program and not to exceed 1.2% of wages (with premiums not applying to wages above the Social Security contribution base). A self-employed individual who elects coverage is required to pay the full contribution.

Initially, the total contribution will be 0.9% of wages.

Contributions do not apply to wages above the Social Security contribution base.

Contributions begin October 1, 2024.

What percentage of wages do workers receive? 90% of a worker’s average weekly wage up to an amount equal to 65% of the statewide average weekly wage, and 50% of a worker’s average weekly wage above an amount equal to 65% of the statewide average weekly wage
What is the maximum weekly benefit? $1,000 per week initially, adjusted annually based on inflation
For how long can a worker receive benefits?

Own health: Up to 12 weeks in an application year.

Family leave: Up to 12 weeks in an application year.

Total: Up to 12 weeks in an application year.

Prior to receiving paid family and medical leave benefits, workers must exhaust all of their employer-provided leave that is not required by law. However, while workers exhaust their employer-provided leave ahead of receiving paid family and medical leave benefits, they are entitled to job protection, continuation of health insurance benefits if received through their employer, and protections against discrimination and adverse action.

Workers who, in the same 12-month period, take leave to bond with a new child and for a worker’s own serious health condition may receive up to an additional 12 weeks of benefits, up to a combined total of 24 weeks in a 12-month period.

Is there an unpaid waiting period? No
Are workers entitled to have their jobs back when they return?

Yes, subject to certain narrow exceptions.

Except for workers with an employer who has a developmental disability and who self-directs services under the Maryland Medicaid Home- and Community-Based Services Waiver Program, a worker returning from leave must be restored to an equivalent position of employment. However, under narrow circumstances, workers may not be entitled to restoration following a period of leave. Note that workers who receive health insurance through their employers are entitled to continuation of those benefits while on leave. Additionally, workers who exercise their rights to paid family, medical and safe leave are protected against retaliation or discrimination.

How is the insurance provided? By default, workers are covered by the state fund. Employers can apply for approval of a private plan, which must provide benefits at least equivalent to those available through the state.
Statutory Citation Md. Code Ann., Lab. & Empl. § 8.3-101 et seq.
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