On January 1, 2026, the Maryland Family and Medical Leave Insurance (“FAMLI”) program will go into effect. This program provides all Maryland employers and employees with updated paid family and medical leave procedures. This new leave shall be utilized either concurrently or intermittently when an employee is healing from or caring for a family member with a serious medical condition, when welcoming a child into their family, or when preparing for a family member’s military deployment. Employees will be able to use this leave for up to 12 weeks (about 3 months) in a 12-month period.
Who is eligible for FAMLI leave?
All employers must provide FAMLI leave to employees who have worked 680 hours or more in the past 12 months. These 680 hours, the equivalent of 85 eight-hour workdays, do not have to be with the same employer.
How should an employer prepare for the use of FAMLI leave?
All employers will automatically be enrolled in the FAMLI state plan unless they provide a comparable private plan for their employees. This private plan will need to be approved by the Department of Labor (“DOL”). Unless a private plan is approved, beginning October 1, 2024:
- Employers with 15 or more employees are required to contribute 0.90 percent of covered wages up to the Social Security cap. The amount contributed will be equally divided among the company’s workers when FAMLI leave is used.
- Employers with 14 or fewer employees are not required to contribute but will be required to withhold 0.45 percent of their employees’ earnings to pay into their FAMLI reserves.
Is FAMLI leave the same as the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”)?
No. The FMLA is a federal law which provides unpaid leave to employees who work for eligible employers. The FAMLI program is a state program which provides paid leave to eligible employees. FAMLI leave will run concurrently with an employee’s time away that is covered by FMLA. Employees who utilize FAMLI will enjoy the same legal protections that FMLA provides. This means an employee may not be retaliated against for taking FAMLI leave.
Why is this relevant now?
While benefits only become available in January 2026, employer, and employee contributions toward FAMLI will begin on October 1, 2024. It is important that employers be prepared to implement these new legal requirements in their regular business practice. If an employer does not appropriately follow these legal requirements, they open themselves up to potential legal vulnerabilities such as employee complaints, litigation, and government intervention.
To make sure that you stay within legal compliance of the new FAMLI program, you must consult with an expert employment attorney here at Thatcher Law Firm to discuss your FAMLI plan. Contact our office at 301-441-1400 to schedule a consultation appointment today. www.ThatcherLaw.com.
Follow us on: