Thank you for this opportunity to submit written testimony concerning an important priority of the Woman’s Democratic Club of Montgomery County (WDC) for the 2018 legislative session. WDC is one of the largest and most active Democratic Clubs in our County with more than 600 politically active women and men, including many elected officials.
WDC urges the passage of HB0775. This bill provides that employees in the legislative and executive branches of state government may be entitled to a maximum of 60 days of paid parental leave during the period of one year following the birth or adoption of a child.
Passage of HB0775 will fill an important gap in current policy for working families in the State of Maryland. Although Maryland state employees are covered by the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), this Act provides for up to 12 work weeks of unpaid leave. Many families cannot afford unpaid leave. State employees may use accrued paid annual and up-to-30 days of accrued sick leave following the birth or adoption of a child. However, many employees have inadequate accrued paid leave. Furthermore, using accrued sick leave for the birth or adoption of a child leaves families with little or no accrued sick leave to subsequently care for a sick child or themselves.
This bill will benefit women who work for the State of Maryland, as well as their children and families. In recent decades, the composition of the workforce in Maryland’s state government has changed significantly with many more working parents struggling to balance the responsibilities of work and family. Maryland lags behind several other states that provide paid family leave to state employees. A recent report prepared by Maryland’s Office of Policy Analysis found that five states—California, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Washington—have passed paid family leave legislation that includes coverage options for state government employees.
A growing body of research demonstrates the positive effects of paid family leave on child well-being, family economic security, maternal health, and national economic growth (AEI Brookings Working Group on Paid Family Leave 2017).
We ask for your support for HB0775 and strongly urge a favorable Committee report.