ANNAPOLIS (WJZ) — Maryland State Del. Kris Valerrama said she knows what it’s like to be questioned for taking leave to care for her children and aging mother.

“Even though I had to leave. Both vacation and sick and had put in the proper forms and documentation and had received approval at one point not just myself, but other colleagues of mine at my job or questioned as to why I used such an extensive amount of leave,” said Del. Kris Valderrama, (D-Prince George’s County).

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Valderrama is joining Sen. Antonio Hayes (D-Baltimore City) to sponsor the “Time to Care Act” which establishes a family and medical leave insurance program that employees may take up to 12 weeks of paid leave in Maryland.

“Unpaid leaves forces too many Americans, especially those whose needs are the greatest, to choose between income and family self needs,” Sen. Hayes said.

A recent poll shows a high level of support amongst voters.

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“It’s unusual in today’s climate to see a level of support this high. 61% of people strongly support this proposal,” said Steve Raabe, from OpinionWorks.

The funding would come from both the employer and employee. It’s estimated to cost the employee $3 to $6 a week which would come as a payroll deduction.

“That’s reason one this has good support, because the cost is reasonable,” Raabe said.

Lawmakers said the pandemic only increases the need for this type of legislation.

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The Time to Care Act will be introduced in the 2021 legislative session.

Sean Streicher