Contact Us Contact Us Replicon Login

Last updated on: December 28th, 2023

Hours & Pay Regulations

Normal Working Hours

Unless specifically exempted, employees covered by the FLSA must receive pay for hours worked in excess of 40 in a workweek at a rate not less than one and one-half their regular rates of pay. This is referred to as overtime pay.


Employers who know or who have reason to know that an employee is working beyond the 40-hour work week, must account for those hours and pay requisite overtime. This includes overtime worked without pre-approval even when it goes against the company policy. Most employees covered by the FLSA under federal law and Maine’s overtime statute must be paid at least 1.5 times their regular rate of pay for any hours they work beyond 40 in a workweek.


An employer who requires or permits an employee to work overtime is generally required to pay the employee premium pay for such overtime work. Any employer, public or private sector, may allow a worker to adjust or flex his or her schedule within the work week so as not to go over 40 hours.


Unless specifically exempted, employees covered by the FLSA must receive pay for hours worked in excess of 40 in a workweek at a rate not less than one and one-half their regular rates of pay. This is referred to as overtime pay.


An employer may not average a bi-weekly pay period in an effort to avoid the overtime requirement. If an employee works 45 hours during the first week of the pay period and only 35 hours in the second week, the employee is still due five hours of overtime for the excess hours worked in the first work week. Both federal and state law provide that most covered employees must receive overtime pay for hours worked over 40 in a workweek at a rate not less than 1.5 times their regular rate of pay.


The use of compensatory time (“comp time”) instead of overtime pay is limited to a public agency that is a state, a political subdivision of a state, or an interstate governmental agency, under specific circumstances. Compensatory time must be provided in the same ratio as overtime pay. Private sector employers cannot satisfy their overtime obligations by providing comp time and must pay overtime-eligible employees an overtime premium for hours over 40 in a workweek. Any employer, public or private sector, may allow a worker to adjust or flex his or her schedule within the work week so as not to go over 40 hours.


Employers must offer employees the opportunity to take a consecutive 30-minute unpaid or paid rest break after 6 hours worked. An employee may waive his or her right to a rest break (preferably in writing). When the employer allows the employee to work through a rest break period, that time must be included as hours worked. Shorter breaks are common but not required by law. Such breaks or pauses away from performing duties may not be used to reduce the employee’s time worked.


Breast Feeding Breaks

Employers may not discriminate against employees who choose to express breast milk in the workplace. Employers must provide adequate unpaid break time, or allow an employee to use her paid break time, to express breast milk for up to three years following childbirth. The employer must make reasonable efforts to provide a clean, private place, other than a bathroom, for an employee to express breast milk. This applies to all employers.

Public Holidays

In Maine, a private employer can require an employee to work holidays. A private employer does not have to pay an employee premium pay, such as 1½ times the regular rate, for working on holidays, unless such time worked qualifies the employee for overtime under standard overtime laws.

Annual Leave

Employers are not required to offer paid vacations, holidays, or paid sick leave. These are benefits established by company policies specifying how they are earned as well as how or when they are paid. Under Maine law, only the accrued vacation time is required to be paid upon termination in cases where the employer’s policy specifically states that benefit will be paid upon termination.

Special Leave

Paid Sick Leave

Effective Jan. 1, 2021, employers with more than 10 employees must allow eligible employees to earn one hour of paid leave for every 40 hours worked, up to 40 hours per year. Employees must be allowed to use accrued paid leave for any reason. Employers are not required to allow the use of leave before an employee has been employed for 120 days during a one-year period. Employers with 10 or fewer employees and those in seasonal industries are exempt. 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.


Earned Employee Leave

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.



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.


All private employers with 11 or more employees are required to pay out all accrued vacation pay upon the employee’s separation from employment for any reason. Failure to comply with this requirement may result in payment for the amount owed, liquidated damages up to double the amount overdue, and attorney’s fees and costs.


Family and Medical Leave

Employers with 15 or more workers and all public agencies must give up to 10 weeks of unpaid but job-protected leave, if:

    • A worker or the worker’s child, parent, spouse,
    • A domestic partner, domestic partner’s child, or worker’s sibling has a serious condition;
    • A child is born to the worker or domestic partner;
    • A child of 16 or less is placed for adoption with the worker or domestic partner;
    • The worker is donating an organ for a human organ transplant;
    • The worker’s spouse, domestic partner, parent or child, or sibling who is a member of the state military forces or U.S. Armed Forces dies or incurs a serious health condition while on active duty.

The law provides the family and medical leave to care for another individual’s serious health condition to children, domestic partners’ children, parents, domestic partners, siblings, spouses, grandchild, or a domestic partner’s grandchild.

Family Sick Leave

If an employer’s policy offers paid leave (sick, vacation, compensatory), the employee must be allowed to use up to 40 hours in a 12-month period to care for an ill child, spouse, or parent.


Employment Leave for Victim of Domestic Violence

An employee who is a victim of domestic violence must be allowed time off from work with or without pay to prepare for and attend court proceedings; receive medical treatment; or obtain necessary services to remedy a crisis caused by domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. The employee must request time off. Leave must also be allowed if the employee’s child, parent, or spouse is the victim.


Jury Duty Leave

Leave is required but is unpaid. The employee must be reinstated to the same position after the completion of jury duty. An employer may not terminate (or threaten to terminate) employment or health insurance coverage due to an employee’s response to a jury summons or service as a juror.


Voting Leave

A permanent employee may take an unpaid leave of absence to act as a legislator for one two-year term and must be returned to the position they left after the leave.

Family Military Leave

An employer that employs 15 or more employees shall provide each eligible employee up to 15 days of family military leave per deployment if requested by the employee. Family military leave under this subsection may be taken only during one or more of the following time frames:

          • The 15 days immediately prior to deployment; and/or
          • Deployment, if the military member is granted leave; and/or
          • The 15 days immediately following the period of deployment.

Family military leave granted may consist of unpaid leave.

Pregnancy Disability Leave

Employers must provide pregnancy disability leave to female employees if they provide such benefits to other employees. Employers also must allow employees to take leave for childbirth under Maine’s family and medical leave provisions.

Emergency Response Leave

An employer may not discharge or take other disciplinary action for an employee’s tardiness if the employee is a firefighter and was late due to responding to an emergency. This does not apply if the employee is designated as essential to the employer’s operations and the employee’s absence would cause disruption of the employer’s business. Any time lost may be unpaid or charged against an employee’s available leave time. Employers may request certification from the fire department stating that the employee was responding to an emergency call and the time of release from the call.

Military Leave

In addition to the federal law USERRA, Maine law provides the following job protections for members of the National Guard or the U.S. Armed Forces Reserves:

      • Employers cannot discriminate against employees based on their membership in the National Guard or U.S. Armed Forces.
      • Members of the National Guard or U.S. Armed Forces Reserves must be granted unpaid leave in response to state or federal military orders.
      • Employers must continue benefits for the first 30 days of military leave at no additional cost to the employee. After 30 days, the employee must have the option of continuing these benefits at his or her own expense.

An employee returning from military leave must be reinstated to the same pay, seniority, benefits, and status as if the employee had remained continuously employed. The employer must allow a period of time before requiring an employee returning from military leave to report back to work, based on the length of the military service.

Disclaimer: The material provided above is for informational purposes only and is subject to change. We endeavor to keep all material up-to-date and correct but make no representations about the information's completeness, accuracy, or reliability. Laws vary by jurisdiction and are subject to change and interpretation based on individual factors that may differ between organizations. The material is not meant to constitute legal advice and we suggest you seek the advice of legal counsel in connection with any of the information presented.