The Obama Administration and U.S. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez have challenged us to become leaders on paid leave programs for workers. This is because we currently lag far behind almost all other nations in terms of workplace protections for paid time off for family emergencies, illness, and childbirth and caregiving. I have been working with my colleagues in Maryland and Montgomery County to move us forward so Maryland can #LeadOnLeave.
There are two ways Maryland can #LeadOnLeave right now!
Paid Sick Days
In Maryland, the Paid Sick Days legislation, SB 40 and HB 385 sponsored by Del. Luke Clippinger and Sen. Catherine Pugh, would provide employees of businesses with 10 or more employees with the right to earn up to seven days a year of paid sick time, and provide employees of the smallest businesses the right to earn 7 days of job-protected (but unpaid) time off. This legislation did not move out of Committee during the 2015 session. However, nearly 100 legislative cosponsors and more than 135 organizations and businesses have joined the Working Matters campaign to support the bills. The coalition of supporters is growing stronger in preparation for the 2016 Legislative Session. Meanwhile, In Montgomery County, Council President George Leventhal introduced a similar bill, Bill 60-14 which would require all County employers operating and doing business in Montgomery County to provide earned sick and safe leave to their employees. The bill would ensure that all employees in Montgomery County could earn leave to care for themselves or family members if they become ill or suffer from domestic violence. There is a Montgomery County Council
Paid Family & Medical Leave
This type of paid leave is different from paid sick days. It is intended for longer-term absences, such as the birth or adoption of a child, recovering form a serious illness, or caring for a gravely ill relative. These absences are less frequent than sick days, but can be financially devastating for a family. While federal law guarantees many workers up to 12 weeks unpaid time off in these situations, many modern economies depend on government run systems, similar to unemployment insurance or social security, to ensure workers don't fall into poverty when they need to take family or medical leave. Some states, including New Jersey, Rhode Island and California have set up their own programs to protect their workforce during these times. The Obama Administration has challenged Maryland and the other states to find a creative solution to the problem of how to pay workers who need time of to give birth, or for other family and medical absences.
In 2014, I passed HB 1026 that ensures job protected leave at the birth or adoption of a child for small business employees. In 2015, I passed HB 564 which expands Family and Medical Leave Act benefits for married state employees. Last session I was proud to introduce HB 776, which, if passed, would establish a paid family and medical leave fund in Maryland. These bills are building blocks in a larger campaign to ensure every worker in Maryland has access to Paid Family & Medical Leave. I am meeting regularly with representatives of Maryland’s business community, government agencies, and other stakeholders, working to develop a plan that will work for our state. We are also building a large coalition of advocacy groups and supportive businesses and individuals to make the case for Paid Family & Medical Leave in Maryland. If you would like to join us, please contact Holly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, I have listed several important events below scheduled to take place in the coming weeks and I encourage you to attend to both learn more about the paid sick days and paid family leave initiative taking place in our community and state, and to learn how you can helpadvance this important effort.
Thank you for the privilege of representing you in Annapolis,
Delegate Ariana Kelly
Upcoming Important #LeadOnLeave Dates:
Support Paid Sick Days at a MoCo Working Group Meeting
The Health and Human Services Committee will debate the policy on Thursday, June 11th at 9:00 am at the Montgomery County Council, 7th Floor Hearing Council.
Showing up will speak volumes, especially for the 700,000 Maryland workers who need MoCo to set an example for the state.
Come Hear Delegate Ariana Kelly speak about Paid Family & Medical Leave
Thank you to Delegate David Moon (D20) for including Paid Family Leave in his "2016 Justice Agenda" to be highlighted at his fundraising reception on Wednesday, June 24th from 6:30-8:30 pm at Silver Spring's Bump 'n Grind Café. This is a wonderful opportunity to hear from lead sponsors of important bills (like this one!), as well as Paid Sick Days, Marijuana Reform, Police Brutality, and the effort to Terminate Parental Rights of Rapists. For more information and to RSVP click HERE.
Delegate Ariana Kelly joined by advocates from AFSCME and Maryland Women's Law Center at the bill signing for HB 564 - expanding family and medical leave for Maryland state employees.