Letter from Montgomery County Young Democrats in Support of SB 828/HB 988-Paid Family and Medical Leave Program-Modifications

March 13th, 2023

Senator Griffith, Vice Chair Klausmeier, members of the Senate Finance Committee:

The Montgomery County Young Democrats (MCYD) urge your support for SB 828/HB 988, which would strengthen Maryland’s Paid Family and Medical Leave Program. We are a group of young Democrats ages 14-35 working to make Montgomery County and Maryland a better place to live. MCYD supports the election of Democrats in public office and getting young people involved in state and local politics.

SB 828 with sponsor amendments, and HB 988 as introduced, strengthen the Maryland family and medical leave program by outlining guidance for implementation through the Maryland Department of Labor. The legislation most notably proposes to split the costs of the program 50/50 between employers and employees.

In 2022 the Maryland Legislature enacted a paid family and medical leave program which will immensely benefit Maryland workers. Studies show that paid family and medical leave improves family well-being, improves health outcomes for families, and reduces infant mortality. Parents who have access to paid family leave have more time to take care of and bond with their children, and also heal from childbirth–all of which results in improved mental health and closer family connections.

Moreover workers who are sick or are facing a medical crisis need ample time to recover. When these workers have paid medical leave they have greater chances making and attending doctors’ appointments, get properly diagnosed, receive treatment, and afford necessary medical care. Paid family and medical leave has major economic benefits. When paid family and medical leave is available, fewer workers end up living paycheck to paycheck, and they can take care of their loved ones without worrying about missing rent or not being able to afford groceries.

The best paid leave program is a program that treats workers and their employers equitably through shared responsibilities and benefits. A 50-50 cost-sharing split is necessary for this legislation as it keeps the paid family and medical leave program affordable for both employers and employees. We believe that the costs of the program should be equally shared because the benefits of the program are equally received. Additionally, equitable cost sharing benefits Black and Latino workers and low wage workers, who are most impacted by the lack of access to affordable paid family and medical leave.

We Montgomery County Young Democrats oppose attempts to weaken this paid family and medical leave by reducing the percentage of employer contributions and increasing the cost burden on employees. A 50/50 split is beneficial for both employees and employers.

We urge the Senate Finance Committee to support this bill. Please contact us at mocoyoungdems@gmail.com with any questions.

The Montgomery County Young Democrats