As 2020 ushers in a new decade, it brings with it many changes to paid family and medical leave laws throughout the U.S.—a cause for celebration for workers and their families. Washington State’s paid family and medical leave program officially went live on January 1. Workers can now receive benefits for up to 12 weeks for medical leave or family leave, up to a total of 16 weeks of benefits in a 52-week period. Nearly all employees in the state are covered, including both public and private sector workers, and self-employed workers can opt in to coverage.
January 12th marked a tremendous victory for Maryland workers, as the State Legislature voted to override Governor Hogan’s veto of the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act (HWFA) passed by the Legislature last year. This makes Maryland the ninth state and 41st jurisdiction in the U.S. to guarantee workers the right to earn paid sick time to care for themselves or a family member when ill or in need of preventive care.
Beginning on February 11, 2018, workers will have the right to begin earning sick time under the HWFA. The law will allow workers who work for employers with at least 15 employees to earn up to 40 hours of paid sick time per year (based on an accrual rate of 1 hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked). Those who work for employers with fewer than 15 employees will be able to earn unpaid, job-protected sick time. The HWFA also allows workers to earn “safe time”—time off to address situations related to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking committed against the worker or the worker’s family member. For more information about the law, see the Working Matters HWFA fact sheet.
We congratulate our partners in Maryland’s Working Matters coalition who worked tirelessly to ensure that the HWFA would become law. We are looking forward to continuing our work with advocates around the nation to add to the ever-growing list of cities and states that guarantee workers the right to paid sick and safe time in 2018.