Agenda Item 1
January 29, 2015
Robert H. Drummer, Senior Legislative
Bill 60-14, Human Rights and Civil Liberties - Earned Sick and
Bill 60-14, Human Rights and Civil Liberties - Earned Sick and Safe Leave, sponsored by
Council Vice President Leventhal and Councilmembers Navarro, Branson and Eirich, was
introduced on November 25, 2014. A Health and Human Services Committee worksession is
tentatively scheduled for February 12 at 9:30 a.m.
Congress enacted the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) in 1993. The FMLA
requires an employer with 50 or more employees to provide 12 work weeks of unpaid leave in a
12-month rolling period. An employee must have worked at least 1250 hours during the preceding
12-month period to be eligible for unpaid leave under the FMLA. One ofthe reasons an employee
may take unpaid FMLA leave is for the employee's "serious health condition" or to take care of
an immediate family member with a "serious health condition." An employee must be unable to
perfonn anyone of the essential functions ofthe employee's position in order to use FMLA leave
for a serious health condition. The U.S. Department of Labor FMLA Fact Sheet is at ©14-17.
In 2008, Maryland enacted the Flexible Leave Act (MFLA), codified at Labor
Employment Art. §3-802. This law requires an employer who has 15 or more employees to pennit
an employee to use paid leave earned by the employee under an employer's paid leave benefit for
the illness of an immediate family member.
Both the FMLA and the MFLA were designed to pennit an employee to miss work due to
the employee's illness or the illness of an immediate family member without risking the loss of
employment. However, both of these laws leave several large holes in employee protection. The
FMLA does not apply to an employer with fewer than 50 employees, does notprotect an employee
who has not worked at least 1250 hours in the preceding 12 months, and requires an employee to
have a "serious health condition." The FMLA does not require the employer to pay the employee
for time missed under the FMLA. The MFLA does not mandate any leave. It requires an employer
to pennit an employee to use paid leave already provided by the employer for the illness of an
immediate family member.