There’s new support to pass House Bill 8, known as the Time to Care Act of 2022, which would give workers up to 12 weeks paid time off to take care of a newborn, themselves or a loved one who has serious medical conditions.
The issue is personal for the bill’s sponsor, Prince George’s County Delegate Kris Valderrama, D-District 26, who met resistance from a former employer when she needed time off to take care of her mother.
“It was disheartening to me that my previous employer, it’s been some time now, questioned my motives as to why I was taking such an amount of leave, which I really found personal and hurtful because I earned that leave. I was using vacation, I was using sick (time) to do so,” she said.
Nearly everyone confuses this with the Time to Care Act of 2022 with the federal Family Leave Act. The difference is the Time to Care Act of 2022 uses paid time off that works like an insurance policy in that employees and businesses split the cost. Employees would contribute $3.50 per paycheck.
“It gives you up to 12 weeks that you could take leave and receive a portion of what you would normally get paid as if you were going to go to work every day. So, essentially it is a safety net,” said Baltimore City Sen. Antonio Hayes, D-District 40, the bill’s sponsor in the Senate. “What we are saying is that when families have life-changing events like this, they should be compensated.”
House Speaker Adrienne Jones considers the issue a priority this session, but Senate President Bill Ferguson said the bill needs more work.
“We have to figure out the funding mechanism that (involves) employees and employers working together. That is a hard conversation that we will be having this year, and we will see where we get at the end of the session,” Ferguson said.
A new Opinion Works poll shows the bill has broad public support: 88% of respondents favor the bill while 9% oppose it.
The Maryland Chamber of Commerce opposes it; however, the bill does have the support of some business owners.
Supporters said the bill would also be a great benefit to employers seeking to attract and retain workers who want good benefits.
“As a business person, it makes perfect sense. In this effort to try to attract the best, brightest people, you need to have benefits,” said Andy Shallal, a Maryland business owner.
The legislation has failed to pass in the past.