HAGERSTOWN, Md. (WDVM) — House Bill 8, an act concerning labor and employment, is causing quite a stir for local companies who say the bill in its current state is not business-friendly.

The bill, called the Time to Care Act of 2022, establishes a family and medical leave insurance program in the Maryland Department of Labor to provide certain benefits to individuals who take leave from employment for certain purposes.

Maryland state delegate, Kriselda Valderamma, said it’s not the same as paid sick leave. Instead, it’s a partial wage replacement for Marylanders.

The partial wage replacement could range from $100-1,000 per week depending on the wage that is being replaced and weekly deduction for the program.

“Employees always want to know that they have a job that will always have their job and security,” said democratic delegate for Maryland’s 26th district, Kriselda Valderrama.

Paul Frey, president of the Washington County Chamber of Commerce, says the chamber isn’t happy with the new legislation saying it would cost too much for employers at a time when they can least afford it.

“One of our concerns is we believe companies are should have the ability to provide the benefits and wages that are fair to them and the employees they need to make that decision. When our elected officials do this, they cause an undue burden on our employers. We think there’s already a strong enough impact on the economy businesses. We don’t need one more piece of legislation to add costs,” said Frey.

Delegate Valderrama says while it may be new to Maryland, it is not groundbreaking legislation.

“I may not be a business owner, but I do support my businesses in my community, said Valderrama.

Delegate Valderamma said the house speaker, Adrienne Jones, expressed interest in the bill and that it is a priority of hers on her agenda. The hearing for the bill is planned for Feb. 15 at 1 p.m.

The bill, if passed, would be enacted on Oct. 1.