Action to Care: Time to Care Act – Paid Family Leave
As part of Maryland Nonprofits’ Action to Care advocacy program, we are celebrating nonprofit policy victories and highlighting the challenges ahead.
As Maryland’s economy faces a severe workforce shortage, workers are seeking a better balance between their home lives and their work. Whether it’s for a new baby or caring for an ailing family member, or another urgent need, the security of knowing that you can be there for your family without risking your job and your livelihood would be huge.
The 2022 General Assembly passed the “The Time to Care Act” (Senate Bill 275, Chapter 48 of the Laws of 2022). The General Assembly overrode Governor Hogan’s veto to enact the bill into law. It establishes the FAMLI Program and FAMLI Fund administered by the Maryland Department of Labor (MDL). The program provides up to 12 weeks of benefits and paid leave to eligible employees.
Nonprofit advocates broadly supported this bill. Many are concerned, though, about how financially-strapped nonprofits will be to meet the costs of providing the required leave while covering the workload through overtime or additional staff.
Christopher Dews, of the Job Opportunities Task Force testified that the “lack of paid family and medical leave drives families below the poverty level. Too often, the pay gap that occurs when a new mother must take unpaid leave after giving birth, combined with the increasing expenses of childcare, sets families back for years to come. One study found that a significant share of bankruptcies follow a worker missing two or more weeks of work due to illness, or the illness of a family member. The lack of paid family and medical leave threatens the employment security of millions of workers because it reduces the chances that an individual will stay employed at their current job. The reality is that most workers have caregiving responsibilities at one time or another but lack the workplace support to balance these obligations with work.”
Nonprofit service providers are facing unprecedented vacancy levels and staffing shortages because of the pandemic and uncompetitive salary levels held at levels stemming from inadequate government funding. Maryland Nonprofits supported the Time to Care Act because it’s the right thing to do for Maryland’s for-profit and nonprofit workers. Now we call on the state to make more progress on adequate funding for nonprofit service providers. Nonprofit workers deserve paid family leave. Government contracts, grants, and provider rates should be increased to levels that are adequate for nonprofits to cover the costs.