ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Some Maryland lawmakers are seeking relief for families in need of paid medical leave.

The Time to Care Act establishes a partial wage replacement for up to 12 weeks if a person is sick, caring for a child or caring for a family member with a serious illness.

It applies to new moms who need more time with their child, but cannot afford time off from work.

“Nearly 25 percent of American women take 10 or fewer days of maternity leave, putting them and their children at risk physically and emotionally,” Antonio Hayes, a state senator from Baltimore and the sponsor of the bill, said.

The sponsors of the Time to Care Act have first-hand experience juggling work and caregiving.

Delegate Kris Valderrama, a Time to Care Act sponsor, said the bill applies to virtually everyone in need.

“For a newborn, an adoptee, to care for yourself, to care for a family member — like my mother who was diagnosed with early Alzheimer’s — is why I support this measure wholeheartedly,” Valderrama said.

There are more than 70 organizations supporting the Time to Care Act, which requires an estimated $3-5 a week in payroll deductions.

Advocates of the bill cite a poll showing 79 percent of Maryland voters would support such a plan.

“Everybody can use a program like this and it’s intended to benefit everybody with all our different family situations,” Delegate Ariana Kelly said. “It’s also intended to help small business employers and employees across the board.”

Eight states and the District of Columbia have similar programs in place.

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