Maryland Lawmakers Voice Support for Paid Family Leave Bill – CBS Baltimore

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) – Maryland Democrats expressed their determination on Thursday to pass a paid family and medical leave insurance program in the state this year, with Senate President Bill Ferguson saying emphatically: “It will pass this year.”

The measurealso has support in the House, which would provide 12 weeks of paid leave to Maryland workers with specific family or personal circumstances, such as caring for a sick loved one or giving birth.

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While the proposal has stalled over the years, supporters say the COVID-19 pandemic has shown just how bad the program is. Weekly benefits will be based on an individual’s average weekly salary, with a cap.

Senator Antonio Hayes, a Baltimore Democrat who is sponsoring the bill, said Maryland and many other states have struggled with complicated workarounds and confusing administrative leave policies needed updated.

“While a number of states and corporations and nearly every other developed nation globally have taken a purposeful and strategic approach to family leave, Maryland is still far behind – lagging behind. stuck in a framework from the past that ignores the realities that the modern workplace and workforce have. ,” Hayes told most of the Senate Democrats at his side.

Lisa Barkan talks about how lucky she was to be able to take time off work when her young son Alex suffered from a rare liver disease. Time allowed her to care about him and be with him when he passed away at the age of two and a half.

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“No one, no one has to choose between having a job and taking care of themselves or their loved ones,” says Barkan. “I can’t imagine it’s going to take me that long and no one should.”

The plan will include an employee taking time off to care for family members, or with their serious health conditions. It will also apply to a qualifying need that is the result of a family member’s military deployment. The law will create a fund and contributions will be shared between the employer and the employee, based on the employee’s salary.

Senator Joanne Benson, a Prince George County Democrat who is sponsoring the bill with Hayes, said paid leave should not be seen as a privilege, but as a necessity.

“Single parents in particular have experienced economic and physical stress. Many are forced to choose to work and cover basic needs or take time off to care for sick family members, but at the risk of losing their jobs,” says Benson.

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Seven states and the District of Columbia have paid for medical and family leave plans, including California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Washington. Colorado and Oregon have approved programs that have not yet begun. Maryland Lawmakers Voice Support for Paid Family Leave Bill – CBS Baltimore

Jake Nichol

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