Maryland to Roll Out Paid Family Leave Benefits in 2026
I. Maryland "FAMLI" Benefits Begin in 2026:
Maryland has further refined the forthcoming system for statewide paid family health leave, under Maryland’s Time to Care Act, first passed in 2022. The Maryland legislature through Senate Bill 828 has delayed its rollout until January 1, 2026. The amendment, at SB 828, was signed into law on May 3, 2023.
Passed as part of the Maryland and national conversation about the difficulties of raising children among two-earner families—the norm really—Maryland's paid family health leave is on the cutting edge. It recognizes that families need leave-time from work for family care reasons, including their own, while not losing their jobs. How will this work out?
First, Maryland paid family health leave will apply to employers with 15 or more employees in Maryland. It will be funded by a payroll tax, as with unemployment benefits insurance. Plus, this tax will come from employers and employees. The benefit will provide up to 12 weeks of leave time.
The rate of employee or employer contribution is not yet entirely determined, but the 2023 amendment caps the employee contribution at 1.2% of wages. The rate shall be set at 50% / 50% (employee / employer).
Contributions begin in Oct. 1, 2024, in advance of the 2026 rollout. The above delay also gives Maryland more time to finalize the entire system. When it does roll out, Maryland paid family health leave will be called, “FAMLI benefits.”
II. More on FAMLI Benefits in 2026:
FAMLI benefits in Maryland cover caring for one’s own serious health condition, or that of one’s immediate family, and also for bonding with a child during the child’s first year of life (regardless of health conditions), under the amended definitions. Immediate family includes one’s children, spouse, parents, and a domestic partner, under SB828, reviewed for this article.
There are special provisions covering military service members for “qualifying exigencies” and to support them in one’s immediate family. These details are not covered here.
III. Maryland Benefits Compared to the FMLA:
While there is overlap with U.S. Family Medical Leave, known as FMLA leave, there are some differences.
First, FMLA is mandatory for employers with fifty or more employees. Maryland FAMLI benefits cover employers with 15 or more, and those smaller who opt in.
Second, FAMLI leave in Maryland provides some paid weekly wages, while the U.S. FMLA simply provides a right to unpaid time off with health insurance coverage. That’s a big difference.
Legally mandated “FAMLI benefits” will be mathematically calculated according to one’s rate of pay and range between $50 at the lowest to $1000 at the highest end. It is likely less than full pay. This being said, employers can choose to pay the difference between this FAMLI rate of pay and full pay. Further, employers can permit employees to use accrued sick, vacation and other pay to make up the difference.
Third, FAMLI benefits will cover many more half-time plus workers. Under Maryland law, it covers individuals with “at least 680 hours over the 12–month period immediately preceding the date on which leave is to begin.”
Under U.S. law, 29 U.S.C. §2611, the employee must have worked “1,250 hours of service with such employer during the previous 12-month period,” which is close to but not exactly matching typical full-time work.
Notably, an employee is not eligible under either Maryland's new law or FMLA until 12-months of work is accomplished.
IV. Closing Remarks:
Maryland FAMLI health leave rolls out in 2026. It covers employers with 15 or more employees, and provides some payment during up to 12-weeks of permitted leave.
The Maryland legislature through Senate Bill 828 has delayed rollout to 2026. Stay tuned.
Gregg H. Mosson, Esq.
Mosson Law, LLC
ABOUT: Our founder and experienced attorney, Mr. Mosson, focuses on representing employees in claims of illegal discrimination, illegal retaliation, disability rights violations, FMLA interference, wrongful terminations, and when seeking owed wages. He also serves people seeking disability benefits from Social Security. His experience and knowledge in these areas of the law are vast and helpful to the clients he represents. For more details, visit the Web site at www.mossonlaw.com. To contact us, you can click here or call 443-226-0601.