A new bill has been introduced into the House and the Senate, called the Working Families Flexibility Act. The law would require all employers with at least 15 employees to work with employees who ask for flexible working conditions. For example, employees who need to limit hours, limit on-call hours, work closer to home, or request time off for school meetings are allowed to ask for such modifications without fear of retaliation
Then, just as with the Americans with Disabilities, Act, the employer and employee are supposed to discuss the matter and try to work out an accommodation. A denial requires a written decision. This requirement would make the employer consider the request sufficiently to frame a denial, which could lead to some compromise. An employee with more than one supervisor could go to the other supervisor if the first one denied permission. The bills are with committees now.
Maryland is also considering a family-friendly bill, SB329, this one to mandate short periods of unpaid leave for parents to go to school conferences. This is especially important to children needing individual education plans. Other than a disruption of the schedule for no more than four meetings per year, the bill would not inconvenience employers or add to their costs.