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 5th of the 10 commandments 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, a family you have created with your partner(s) and child(ren), or a chosen family of friends – 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 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.
- 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.
- Senate Finance (FIN), Chair: Delores Kelley (Baltimore County)
- House Economic Matters (ECM), Chair: CT Wilson (Charles County)
- There are two paid family and medical leave bills currently being heard in the General Assembly: HB8/SB275 and HB496
- Marylanders need a paid family and medical leave program that will
- Be affordable for all, with employers contributing at least as much as employees
- Cover all working people equally, regardless of gender, for all types of families
- Be available for all of the reasons people need paid family and medical leave
- Provide up to 12 weeks of substantially paid leave
- Protect workers against job loss for taking leave
- 88% of Maryland residents across political affiliation support Paid Family and Medical Leave.
- The bills’ sponsors are Senator Antonio Hayes (Baltimore City), Delegate CT Wilson (Charles County), Delegate Kris Valderrama (Prince George’s County), and Delegate Ariana Kelly (Montgomery County).
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)