Maine Enacts Employee Paid Leave Law – Effective In 2021

Maine Governor Janet Mills signed an employee paid leave bill into law on May 28, 2019. Employers with over 10 employees for more than 120 days a calendar year will need to provide paid leave beginning January 1, 2021. Unlike other states with paid sick leave laws, this Maine law does not limit the time to be used for illness-only related reasons.

An Act Authorizing Earned Employee Leave

In Summary:

  • Employees will earn one hour of paid leave for every 40 hours worked, up to a maximum of 40 hours per year.
  • The paid leave time will accrue from day one of employment.
  • Employers may require a wait of 120 days before employees can use the time.
  • Employees must be paid at least the same base rate of pay that the employee received immediately prior to taking the paid leave.
  • This new requirement does not apply to employment in a seasonal industry. It also does not apply to employees covered under collective bargaining agreements.

Employees are required to give reasonable notice of the need for leave unless the leave is required for an emergency, illness, or other sudden matter. Use of the leave must be scheduled to prevent undue hardship to the employer.

The Maine Department of Labor will adopt rules to implement and enforce this new law. State rules typically cover whether existing employer paid leave programs can be used to satisfy paid leave requirements, as well as how the leave can be used, caps, and carryover of paid leave, and employee notice provisions.

Once we have additional guidance from the state, employers will need to review their paid time off programs and compensation budgets, update policies for compliance, and ensure they meet employee notice and communication requirements.

Click the button below to read the language of the law:

An Act Authorizing Earned Employee Leave

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If you have questions on this or any other compliance issues, contact he experts at KMA today!

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