Maine Earned Employee Leave
Employees employed with a private employer with 10 or more employees in Maine shall be required to provide “earned paid leave” to their employees.
The Maine House of Representatives passed L.D. 369, An Act Authorizing Earned Employee Leave, by a 94–45 margin on May 8, 2019. The bill previously passed the Senate by a voice vote on May 7, 2019. The act that passed the Senate and house requires private employers except seasonal employers or employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement that employ 10 or more employees for more than 120 days in the calendar year to provide 1 hour of paid leave for every 40 hours worked, up to a maximum of 40 hours of paid leave per year.
Under the bill, an employee may start accruing paid leave when employment begins, but he or she can not use the paid leave until after 120 days of employment.
The Maine bill does not specify the leave as sick leave. Rather, employees can take the paid leave for any reason. The bill’s sponsor, Senator Rebecca Millett, said employees could use the earned time off to care for a sick child or deal with an emergency such as a flooded basement or flat tire.
The bill does not require much notice to employers. Under L.D. 369, “any emergency, illness or other sudden necessity,” an employee need only provide “reasonable notice” to use the paid leave. The bill does not define what reasonable notice is.
The house and senate must approve the amended bill again before heading to Governor Janet Mills. If Governor Mills, who has publicly expressed support for the bill, signs it into law, it will take effect on January 1, 2021.
This new requirement for earned leave would cover about 85 percent of Maine’s employees in the private sector.