Maryland State

Whoever withholds an employee’s wages, it is as though he has taken the person’s life from them.

— Babylonian Talmud, Bava Metzia 112a 

Nobody should have to choose between their job and caring for their family. The commandment to honor your parents helps lay the groundwork in Judaism for the principle that family comes first. Today’s Jewish life is organized as much around the family and the home as around the synagogue or any other institutions. No matter what your family looks like – whether it is a family that you grew up in or a family you have created with your partner(s) and child(ren) – family is where we celebrate holidays, nurture, mourn, learn, and more.

Nearly everyone needs time away from work at some point to care for a relative, deal with a serious personal illness, or welcome a baby, but many Marylanders can’t afford to take unpaid leave. Our Torah understands this reality, and our sacred texts implore employers to do right by their employees. When working people lose the income they need to sustain and care for themselves or their families, that loss is a threat to their very existence. The Jewish sage Hillel taught that we can’t separate ourselves from our community; we all have a responsibility for each other’s wellbeing.

The 2023 legislative session has adjourned! We and our partners helped pass strengthening legislation to ensure fair and equitable coverage, especially for employees earning less than $15 per hour. To learn more, click here.

Who’s Impacted:

  • All Marylanders who work and who need time to care for relatives or themselves, especially new parents, people with chronic conditions, families of military personnel, low-income and part-time workers, small business employees, and self-employed people. Black and Latinx communities are disproportionately unable to take time off to care for themselves or family members.

Key Committees:

  • Senate Finance (FIN), Chair: Melony Griffith (Prince George’s County)
  • House Economic Matters (ECM), Chair: C. T. Wilson (Charles County)

2023 Legislative Details: 

  • Implement Paid Family and Medical Leave Strongly and Equitably (SB828/HB988)
    • During the 2022 session, we and our partners helped pass the Time to Care Act, establishing the Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FAMLI) Program, which will allow 2.5 million Maryland workers to take paid time off when needed. However, without strengthening legislation, the program could have been implemented inequitably, risking unfair contribution rates and potentially harming employees earning less than $15 per hour. 
    • Legislative goals for the 2023 session included removing the requirement for workers to exhaust all of their employer-provided leave before using the FAMLI Program, which will benefit not only employees, but also their employers; codifying a contribution rate that is fair for workers; covering the costs for Medicaid providers and employees earning less than $15 per hour; strengthening reporting requirements; and preventing any efforts to weaken the program. We pushed for this clarifying legislation to ensure that the program is implemented in the strongest form possible so that all workers have equitable access to the program. 
    • This bill passed out of the General Assembly. It was sponsored by Senator Antonio Hayes and Delegate Lily Qi.

Key Partners: Time to Care Coalition, including: AARP, Maryland Family NetworkSEIU, Catholic Charities, and Maryland Center on Economic Policy

As we build on our organizing and advocacy from the past few years, JUFJ prioritizes deepening relationships with existing partners and coalitions and honoring the commitments we have made in past years. To maximize our effectiveness, we engage in a full scope of work on a limited number of campaigns, and impact other campaigns in a more limited way by submitting official JUFJ testimony and/or signing JUFJ’s name to a list of supporters.

For more information about our additional legislative positions, click here.

For more information about our agenda setting process for the Maryland 2023 state legislative session, click here.

Additional Legislative Positions:

In addition to JUFJ’s key legislative priorities in the 2022 session, we are signing on to the following labor rights bill:

  • Collective bargaining rights for Maryland Public Defenders (HB90)

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