Maryland passes bill for paternity leave

The federal government has sent its request for legislative language needed to amend a bill it wants Congress to pass by the end of the week. The extension of paternity leave to both married and single parents of children under two was the highlight of the legislation unveiled Thursday in Maryland.

Under the current bill, President Donald Trump would have to issue a presidential memorandum to issue it. But the deadline is approaching and the administration indicated it wanted language in the act.

The White House said the intent behind the extension of the earned sick time legislation is to cover not only new mothers and fathers and their children, but all Americans who want to balance work and family responsibilities. The bill would give Maryland workers up to 80 percent of their normal weekly wages — to $300 per week for single parents and $600 for married workers with children under two — when they are not working or when they have to stay home with a child. A parent would have to stay home from work at least half the time, and then be back at work by five days later. Maryland business would have to grant leave to employees at least one day per week and pay them at least 80 percent of their normal wage.

“The higher threshold that requires employers to be remunerative does not cost Maryland taxpayers an additional dime,” said Democratic Gov. Larry Hogan, who endorsed the bill. “It simply gives all workers a real choice.”

Republicans in the Maryland General Assembly have blocked the proposal from getting a vote.

“It was always just a holiday leave proposal,” said Alex Mooney, a Republican. “If it’s good for moms and kids, they should have paid sick leave.”

Nuala Daly, Maryland’s executive director of Family Values @ Work, which supported the legislation, said she believes Hogan, and Republican leaders in the Maryland General Assembly, do want the bill to pass, but they want to tweak it to minimize costs to businesses.

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