Businesses react to passage of Maryland Paid Family Medical Leave bill
MARYLAND- A measure to implement paid family medical leave in Maryland passed the state senate and now moves to Governor Larry Hogan’s desk with a veto-proof majority.
The measure would allow for up to 12 weeks of paid leave, funded by having employees and businesses pay into an individual businesses fund every pay cycle.
Bill Chambers of the Great Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce tells us this way of funding the program amounts to a payroll tax, and will only hurt take-home pay at a time when consumer prices and inflation are on the rise.
“This program is basically being shoved down the throats of businesses and employees with little consideration for the economic environment right now,” he said.
He tells us he supports the bill in theory but feels the way the law is written will hurt the people it wants to help as it could see up to a thousand dollars a month subtracted from paychecks to pay for it.
“We do feel that the house version which did not pass was the correct version that would have studied this issue further and come up with bipartisan recommendations to make any program common sense and workable for employees and employers,” he said.
Among the provisions in the failed house version, was an exemption for small businesses with less than 15 employees. Jeff Merritt of Minute Man Press in Salisbury tells us, that with 6 employees, his business would have fallen under the exemption.
He says with the measures implemented all but certain, he expects his businesses to take a hit.
“If we are mandated to put this program in place we are going to have to see how much it is going to affect our financial situation and if we can’t absorb the cost we are going to have to increase our prices,” he said adding “we are very disappointed that this wasn’t paused until they thought through all the steps of what this will look like when it hits the road.”
They tell us they are also worried about fraud and abuse of the paid family leave, as an employee would have no way to verify if a family member of an employee was in fact in need of care.
They tell us the measure would be implemented in 2023, but for highly specialized employees that many small businesses rely on, it may still not be enough time to find replacements.