Maryland’s Parental Leave Act (PLA) became effective October 1, 2014. The PLA requires small employers, with between 15 and 49 employees in Maryland, to provide an unpaid leave of absence to employees for the birth of a child or the placement of a child for adoption or foster care.
During a twelve month period, employers are required to provide six weeks of unpaid time off under the PLA. This is the main difference between PLA and the federally mandated leave of absence under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) which allows up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave.
Similar to FMLA, upon return to work under the PLA an employee must be given their previous position held before their leave of absence or a similar position with the same employment conditions (same pay, benefits, hours, etc.)
A violation of the PLA allows employees to file a civil suit against the employer. A civil suit can result in payment of lost wages and/or other benefits and also reasonable attorney fees and associated costs.