- Associated Press - Monday, February 24, 2020

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland workers would be able to take 12 weeks off of work to care for a new child or an ill family member through a new state-administered insurance pool that would provide partial wage replacement, under legislation that received a hearing in a House committee Monday.

The measure would create a fund supported by weekly employer and employee contributions. Each would contribute half, based on a sliding scale.

An employee with the state’s average wage would contribute $3.62 a week, said Del. Kris Valderrama, a Democrat sponsoring the bill.

“It is limited in its scope, but it will allow people a brief respite and help to make ends meet, at least temporarily,” Valderrama said.

But opponents said it would create the potential for up to 24 weeks off in some circumstances. Opponents said while they were not fully opposed to the concept, the Maryland measure was too burdensome.

“It creates undo financial and administrative burdens on HR professionals, for small business employers and nonprofits,” said Cheryl Brown, of the Maryland Society for Human Resource Management.

Eight states, including California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Washington, and the District of Columbia have enacted legislation for state-paid family and medical leave programs.

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