What is family and medical leave insurance (FAMLI)?
Family and medical leave insurance (FAMLI) will ensure eligible Maryland workers can take up to 12 weeks away from work to care for themselves or a family member and still receive income of up to $1000 a week. This program is often referred to as “paid family and medical leave” or simply “paid leave.”
Who will be able to receive paid family and medical leave benefits?
There are two groups of workers who will be able to receive FAMLI benefits: employees based in Maryland and self-employed Maryland residents who opt into the program.
How will an employee qualify for benefits?
Any employee with a qualifying event who works at least 680 hours in a position based in Maryland in the 12 months before they need to take leave will be eligible for benefits.
What qualifying events could a worker use leave for?
- To welcome a child into their home, including through adoption and foster care
- To care for themselves, if they have a serious health condition
- To care for a family member’s serious health condition
- To make arrangements for a family member’s military deployment
Will I be required to provide paid leave?
Yes, all employers will be required to provide paid family and medical leave insurance. You may choose whether to provide insurance through the State Plan, a commercial plan, or a self-insured option.
Employers will be automatically enrolled into the State Plan administered by the Maryland Department of Labor, which will provide a seamless way to be in compliance.
Alternatively, a business may apply to use a commercial or self-insured plan. More information about the selection process is forthcoming.
Self-employed individuals can also elect to participate.
If you are an insurance provider or interested in obtaining alternative coverage:
The FAMLI team is working closely with the Maryland Insurance Administration to create a smooth process for reviewing and approving commercial plans. More information is forthcoming.
How is FAMLI funded?
FAMLI is funded through contributions that employers will remit to the State on a quarterly basis. The contribution amount is based on payroll. You may withhold up to 50% of the total contribution rate from your employees’ paychecks.When will contributions begin?
The General Assembly is currently considering legislation proposing that contributions begin in July of 2025. This means payroll deductions would begin in July and you would remit your first payment to the State after the quarter ends in October of 2025.
When will workers begin receiving benefits?
The General Assembly is currently considering legislation proposing that benefits begin in July 2026.
Why will contributions begin before benefits?
The contributions employers will remit to the State will create a trust fund. The fund will grow over time and be ready to pay out benefits to Maryland workers starting in 2026.
What reporting requirements will there be?
You will be responsible for filing quarterly wage and hour reports with the Division. These reports will be the basis for calculating the amount due each quarter. Even if you participate in a private plan, you will be required to file these reports.
How will a worker apply for paid family and medical leave? How will employers remit payments?
An online portal that workers, employers, and the FAMLI Division can access is under development.
How is Maryland's family and medical leave insurance (FAMLI) program different from the Federal Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
FAMLI and FMLA are similar in many ways, however the biggest difference is that FAMLI offers paid time off while FMLA ensures workers have access to unpaid time off. Also, FAMLI’s eligibility rules include more employees and the self-employed.
When an event qualifies for leave through both FMLA and FAMLI, the leaves should run at the same time. There will be limited cases when an event only qualifies for FAMLI. In that case, an individual does not use any FMLA time while taking FAMLI.
Maryland already requires paid sick days. How is FAMLI different?
Paid sick days and FAMLI serve different purposes. It's not a perfect comparison, but one way to think about it is that paid sick days are for everyday colds. FAMLI is for battling a serious illness.
When will I be required to notify employees about paid family and medical leave?
You will be required to notify employees about paid family and medical leave:
- six months before benefits begin,
- when the employee is hired,
- once a year,
- when the employee requests paid leave, and
- when you know that an employee's leave request may qualify.
What if I already offer paid family and medical leave?
If you offer a plan with benefits that are equal to or better than the State Plan, you will be able to seek approval for your self-insured plan. More information about this process is forthcoming.
How much will I contribute?
For those enrolled in the State Plan:
For employers with 15 or more workers: The rate will be 0.90% of covered wages up to the Social Security cap, and will be equally divided between workers and employers.
For employers with 14 or fewer workers: Employers are not required to contribute but will still collect the 0.45% payments from their workers.
Employers may choose to cover part or all of their workers' contributions.
While the Department of Labor sets the contribution rate for the State Plan, private plans will set their own rates.
Workers cannot be charged more in a private plan than they would be through the State Plan.
If I select the State Plan, do I have to make contributions for workers who are not eligible for benefits?
Yes, contributions to the State Plan are required for all workers in Maryland, regardless of whether they are currently eligible for benefits.
How does FAMLI benefit employers?
- Research shows that employers will benefit from reduced turnover, increased productivity, greater workplace attachment, and boosted morale. Because FAMLI is insurance, it also provides employers with cost predictability while a worker is away, compared with the unpredictable cost of paying a worker’s wages while they are out.
- FAMLI levels the playing field so small businesses can compete for top talent with this valuable and affordable benefit, which historically has been offered far more often by only large employers.
- With FAMLI, Maryland will remain an attractive place to live and work, especially as several nearby jurisdictions, including Washington, D.C., Delaware and New Jersey, administer paid family leave programs of their own.
How can I prepare now?
- Keep an eye out for information about how to register for an account on the online portal. After registration, all employers will automatically be enrolled in the State Plan. You can alternatively explore private plans.
- Sign up to receive emails from the FAMLI team
Invite the FAMLI team to share information at an upcoming meeting or event
- Include contributions in future budget planning and consider whether to cover a portion or all of your employees’ contribution.
- Begin including FAMLI contributions in future budget planning
- Start thinking about how your existing benefits may interact with FAMLI
- Begin discussing any payroll/administrative adjustments you may need to make
- Evaluate whether you may need policy and handbook changes.
- Begin talking with your employees, so they understand their future FAMLI benefits and contributions.
I still have questions, where can I learn more?
Here are responses to the most frequently asked questions from employers about contributions, claims and private plans:
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