Maine Leave Laws
Section Vacation and section Accruals are generally treated separately, but in this specific case are combined together for the following reason:
On May 28, 2019, the state of Maine adopted the Earned Leave Act into law, beginning January 1 2021.
The Earned Leave Act requires employers, including private employers, to provide their employees with paid time off regardless of purpose. The leave may be used as vacation, sick leave, personal days off or for any other reason.
Employers with 10 or more employees are required to provide paid time off for their employees.
The Earned Leave Act does not apply to seasonal employees, agricultural labor, certain commission-only employees, direct sellers, and hairdressers or tattoo artists with booth rental agreements or employees who are covered by a collective bargaining agreement in effect on January 1, 2021, until expiration of the agreement.
Accrual, Caps, and Rollover policy
Employees start to accrue paid time off at the beginning of employment at the rate of 1 hour of paid time off for 40 hours worked. Employees are allowed to accrue a maximum of 40 accrued hours within one year of employment. Employers may require employees to wait 120 days before they are allowed to use accrued leave. The law does not have specified rollover policy, use-it-or-lose-it policy, or guidance on whether unused accrued paid leave must be paid on termination or forfeited.
Maternity, Paternity, FMLA
In addition to Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, Maine has the following laws regarding Maternity and Paternity Leave:
The Maine Family Medical Leave Requirements Act (MFMLRA) requires employers with 15 or more employees to provide their employees with 10 weeks of unpaid family medical leave in a period of any two years. Eligible employees must have worked for the employee for at least 12 consecutive months. The rule applies to both full-time and short-term employees. Leave may be permitted for:
- The employee’s own serious health condition
- The birth of the employee’s child or the employee’s domestic partner’s child
- The placement of a child 16 years old or younger with the employee or the employee’s domestic partner for adoption
- The serious health condition of the employee’s child, domestic partner’s child, parent, domestic partner, sibling or spouse
- The employee’s organ donation
- The death or serious health condition resulting from the active duty of the employee’s spouse, domestic partner, parent, sibling, or child who was a member of the military.
Employees are required to provide notice 30 days prior to the leave.
Jury Duty Leave
An employer that discharges an employee or terminates health insurance because of jury service may be liable for lost wages and/or health insurance benefits and required to reinstate the employee, provided that the suit is filed within 90 days of discharge.
The employer may also be ordered to pay up to 6 weeks’ worth of wages in damages, as well as reasonable attorneys’ fees (ME Rev. Stat. Tit. 14 Sec. 1218).
An employer is not required to provide paid leave.
No federal or state law require an employer to provide the employee with paid or unpaid bereavement leave or with any time off to organize or attend a close family member’s funeral.
The state of Maine has no statute governing voting leave.
In addition to USERRA, Maine military leave laws provide job-protection during the unpaid leave, reinstatement to previous or similar position with the same status, pay and seniority; protection against discrimination for members of the National Guard or the U.S. Armed Forces Reserves. Employees are also entitled to receive benefits while on the first 30 days of military leave. After that period, employees may choose to continue the benefits on their own expense.
Under the state law, employers are required to allow rest periods for employees returning from military leave. The amount of rest time required under the Maine law is based on the time spent on military duty.
Length of Military Service Length of Rest
3 or fewer days of military service 24 hours
3-15 days of military service 48 hours
15-30 days of military service 72 hours
30-180 days of military service 2 weeks
180 days or more 90 days
Family Military Leave
Employers with 15 or more employees are required to provide with up to 15 days of unpaid leave. Employees are eligible for leave if they have worked for the employer for at least 12 months and have been employed for at least 1,250 hours of service during the 12-month period. The leave may be taken:
- The 15 days immediately prior to deployment
- Deployment, if the military member is granted leave
- The 15 days immediately following the period of deployment
Employees are required to provide a 14 days’ notice for leaves of five or more days if the leave is shorter than five workdays, employees are required to provide advance notice as is “practicable.”
An employer may require certification from the proper military authority to verify an employee’s eligibility for the family military leave requested pursuant to this section.
[PL 2005, c. 523, §2 (NEW).]