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Maryland Leave of Absence (FMLA): What you need to know

The Maryland Parental Leave Act (MD Code Lab. and Empl. Sec. 3-1201et seq.) guarantees eligible employees 6 workweeks of unpaid parental leave during any 12-month period for the birth of the employee’s child or the placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care. The Maryland law is similar to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) except that it covers smaller employers and applies only to family leave, not medical leave.
Coverage. The law applies to private employers that employ at least 15 but not more than 49 employees in Maryland for each working day during each of 20 or more calendar workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year. State and local government employers are not covered by the law.
Employee eligibility. In order to be eligible for the parental leave, the employee must have been employed by the employer for at least a 12-month period and have worked 1,250 hours during the previous 12 months. The employee must also be employed at a worksite at which at least 15 employees work within a 75-mile radius. Independent contractors are not eligible for leave under the law.
Notice. Employees must give at least 30 days' notice of the need for parental leave. However, no notice is required in the case of a premature birth or an unexpected adoption or placement for foster care.
Denying leave. An employer may deny parental leave only if the denial is necessary to prevent “substantial and grievous economic injury” to its operations, as long as it notifies the employee of the denial before the leave begins.
Paid leave substitution and benefits. Any paid leave provided by the employer may be substituted for the unpaid parental leave at either the employer’s ...

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