Maryland will soon have a new unpaid leave requirement for small employers. Effective October 1, 2014, the Parental Leave Act (PLA) will apply to employers with at least 15 and not more than 49 employees in the state of Maryland. Eligible employees must be allowed to take up to six weeks of unpaid leave for the birth, adoption, or placement for adoption or foster care of a child. An employee is eligible if they have worked for their employer for at least 12 months, for at least 1,250 hours in the previous 12 months, and at a work site with at least 15 employees within 75 miles.
Similar to leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the employer must continue group health plan coverage under the same terms as during active employment. If the employee does not return to work, the employer may recover their premium expense from the employee. When the employee does return to work, the employer must restore them to their previous position or to an equivalent position with equivalent benefits, pay, and other terms.