New Earned Employee Leave in Maine
Governor Janet Mills signed L.D. 369, An Act Authorizing Earned Employee Leave, in May 2019, which will become effective on January 1, 2021.
Currently, there are no provisions for paid leave for employees. Maine has an existing Family Sick Leave Law that oversees sick leave in Maine. The law makes provisions for employers who choose to offer sick leave to employees under a collective bargaining agreement but cannot be fewer than 40 hours for a 12-month period.
These rules apply to employers that employ more than 10 employees in the usual and regular course of business for more than 120 days in any calendar year. The law does not cover seasonal employees, independent contractors, and employees working fewer than 120 days in any calendar year.
- “Calendar year” means January 1 through December 31 of any year.
- “Covered Employee.” A covered employee is a person engaged in employment as defined in the Employment Security Act, 26 MRS §1043(11) for an employer as defined by 26 MRS §1043(9), except as otherwise set forth herein or in the Act Authorizing Earned Employee Leave. A covered employee may include a person who is employed full-time, part-time, or per diem.
- “Covered Employer.” A covered employer is an employer as defined by 26 MRS §1043(9) who employs more than 10 covered employees in the usual and regular course of business for more than 120 days in any calendar year.
- “One-year period” means any period of 365 (366 in a leap year) consecutive day.
An employee is entitled to earn one hour of earned paid leave from a single employer for every 40 hours worked, up to 40 hours in one year of employment. Accrual of earned paid leave begins at the start of employment, but the employer is not required to permit the use of the leave before the employee has been employed by that employer for 120 days during a 1-year period.
No more than forty hours of earned paid leave is required to be available for use by a covered employee during any 1-year period.
Covered Employees with accrued and unused hours of earned paid leave from the previous year of employment will have those hours available for use by the employee in the current year of employment, up to a maximum of 40 hours. Hours are only required to continue to accrue up to 40 hours in the current year of employment.
An employee who returns to work within a 1-year period of the last date of previous employment with the same employer is entitled to any unused balance of earned paid leave that was not paid out at the time of separation of employment.
Notice and Use of Leave
Absent an emergency, illness, or other sudden necessity for taking earned paid leave, the employer may have a written policy requiring up to 4 weeks’ notice to the employer of the employee’s intent to use earned leave.
Employees may use earned paid leave in increments of at least one hour unless the employer chooses to allow smaller increments.