In Growing Trend, Maine Passes Broadest Paid Leave Law

May 13, 2019

The Maine State Legislature has passed a bill that would require private employers with ten or more employees to provide 40 hours of paid leave each year—with no restrictions on permissible uses. While other states require paid sick leave to allow employees to deal with illness, or paid family leave to allow employees to bond with newborns, Maine’s legislation would permit employees to take paid leave for any reason. Employers would be required to offer up to 40 hours of paid leave each year, at an accrual rate of one hour of paid leave for every 40 hours worked. Accrual would begin at the start of employment, though employers could prohibit the use of paid leave during an employee’s first 120 days of employment. In yet another break from most paid leave ordinances across the country, the Maine legislation would only require employees to provide “reasonable notice” of the intent to use paid leave in the absence of an emergency. Nonetheless, the legislation does provide that the use of leave in non-emergency situations shall be scheduled to avoid undue hardship on the employer. The legislation is slated to take effect on January 1, 2021. We recommend all employers have SESCO review their Employee Handbook annually to ensure compliance with all federal and state laws.