Maryland General Assembly Passes Paid Leave Legislation
April 6, 2022
Following years of work by MS Activists and coalition partners, the Time to Care Act (SB 275) passed out of the Maryland General Assembly, which will establish one of the most comprehensive paid family and medical leave programs in the country. The measure now heads to the Governor, who will either sign it into law, let it pass into law without his signature, or veto the measure. Governor Hogan has until Friday, April 8 to indicate his decision, which leaves time for a veto override if needed before session ends on Monday, April 11.
MS Activists in Maryland have worked tirelessly for years to see this moment, making over 500 connections with lawmakers in the past two years alone. Rachel London, MS Activist and Executive Director of the Maryland Developmental Disability Council said of the passage of SB 275: “As a person living with MS, access to the intermittent leave made possible in this legislation is particularly critical. Maryland's new paid and family medical leave bill allows us, and all Marylanders, the much-needed time to seek the treatment we need and our families the time to provide the support we need.”
Dr. Shuvro Roy, a neurologist at Johns Hopkins and MS Activist, added, "Our patients are exactly who this piece of legislation can help the most. When our patients suffer relapses, they and their loved ones should be focused on maximizing their recovery, not worrying about whether they’ll be able to put food on the table or keep their job. Thankfully, this piece of legislation provides 12 weeks of paid leave, wage replacement, and job protections."
The Time to Care Act (SB 275):
- Covers nearly all employees in Maryland, regardless of employer size, including full-time and part-time workers and private and public sector workers.
- Provides leave up to 12 weeks (or up to 24 weeks, in certain situations) when workers or their loved ones are seriously ill, when welcoming a new child, or to address the impact of military deployment.
- Offers job protection by generally ensuring the right of employees to get their jobs back following leave and keep their health insurance during leave
- Provides benefits through an insurance system that both employers and employees contribute to, ensuring the program is stable, solvent, and affordable for both workers and businesses.
Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50. People living with MS or their family members may need paid leave to address their health needs without jeopardizing their financial security.
Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable disease of the central nervous system. Currently there is no cure. Symptoms vary from person to person and may include disabling fatigue, mobility challenges, cognitive changes, and vision issues. An estimated 1 million people live with MS in the United States. Early diagnosis and treatment are critical to minimize disability. Significant progress is being made to achieve a world free of MS.