Maryland Governor Wes Moore has signed a bill that further delays implementation of the Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program (also known as the Time to Care Act).

In 2022, the Maryland General Assembly passed the Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program (“Program”). Under the Program, Maryland workers will receive up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave through a state fund financed by employee and employer contributions. Contributions from employers and employees were originally set to begin on Oct. 1, 2023, and covered employees were to receive benefits starting on Jan. 1, 2025.

Last year, the General Assembly passed an amendment to the law that, among other things, delayed collection of contributions and benefit payments for a year. Jackson Lewis detailed that amendment’s notable changes. During the latest legislative session, lawmakers passed SB485, making additional modifications and setting new dates for contributions and benefits under the Program.

Delayed Start Dates

Contributions will begin on July 1, 2025, and covered employees will begin receiving benefits on July 1, 2026. The secretary of labor will set the rate of contribution by Feb. 1, 2025. The secretary of labor had set the rate of .90% for employers with at least 15 employees. However, this rate is likely to change due to the updated law. Once set by the secretary of labor, the rate will be in effect from July 1, 2025, to June 30, 2026.

Minor Changes Affecting Employers

There are two additional changes affecting employers and their compliance with the Program. First, the definition of “wages” now follows the Maryland Unemployment Insurance’s definition. Employers will not have to calculate two different sets of wages for the two programs. Second, employers who opt to use a private plan in lieu of the Program will have to pay application and renewal fees. The Department of Labor will set the applicable fee arrangement.

The secretary of labor issued draft regulations implementing the Program. Final regulations are expected to further clarify the law for employers.

Jackson Lewis attorneys are available to answer your questions about changes to the law and how they affect your existing leave and benefit policies.