A Maine paid family and medical leave law is on the horizon.
Lawmakers there, as part of a larger budget deal, passed the bill, which Gov. Janet Mills says she intends to sign into law.
If passed as written, the Maine paid family and medical leave program would begin taking payroll contributions starting Jan. 1, 2025, with benefits available for employees beginning Jan. 1, 2026.
UPDATE: The governor has signed the bill.
Paid Leave Management. Simplified.
Maine Paid Family and Medical Leave Law
Under the Maine paid family and medical leave plan, the program provides up to 12 weeks of family leave and up to 12 weeks of medical leave to eligible covered individuals, though no more than 16 weeks of family leave and medical leave in the aggregate may be taken in a 12-month period.
Employees who have been with their company for at least 120 days would have their job protected until they return from leave.
Eligible reasons for use under the program include:
- The birth, adoption, or fostering of a child
- Supporting a sick or dying loved one
- Caring for a family member (broadly defined in the statue, including someone with a “significant personal bond” to the employee)
- Recovery from surgery, an accident, substance use disorder, or other health issues
- Prepping for/transitioning back from a family member’s military deployment
- Managing immediate safety needs for an employee or a family member due to domestic or sexual violence
Like other paid family and medical leave laws, the benefits formula under Maine’s program is complex.
According to one of the bill’s sponsors, employees’ wages would be paid out at a tiered rate, based on their average weekly income.
The benefit amount would be equal to 90 percent of a worker’s wages for income earned up to half of Maine’s average weekly wage, which is currently $1,036. That means the first $518 of a worker’s average weekly income would be replaced at 90 percent, which is $466.20. For income earned above that amount, the wage replacement would be 66 percent of earned pay. The total benefit cannot exceed the state average weekly wage.
Also of note, employers with 15 or fewer employees would be exempt from paying into the program, but their employees still would pay into the program and qualify for benefits.
How to Manage Paid Leave for Remote and Hybrid Workers
Guidance will likely be coming from state officials before the effective dates.
Employees would be able to take intermittent leave in increments of not less than eight hours.
Employees are to provide 30 days’ advance notice of leave, or as soon as is practicable in other cases.
Lastly, employers that offer comparable or more comprehensive paid leave plans may opt out of the Maine paid family and medical leave program.
The text of the bill has more detailed information. And employers should note that the Maine final pay law is now in effect.
County and City Paid Sick Leave Guide
Managing Paid Leave Laws
Maine is poised to be the 13th state with paid family and medical leave, following the recent passage of Minnesota’s PFML law.
The process of tracking and applying paid leave has never been more challenging. These laws are increasing in number and complexity. Though paid sick leave is still the most common, there has been a push from legislators for more leave types, such as paid family and medical leave.
It all adds up to major challenges for employers with locations across the country.
How to Apply Paid Leave Laws
Employers with locations in Maine should assume the state’s paid family and medical leave bill will be signed into law soon.
As a reminder, the Maine paid family and medical leave program would begin taking payroll contributions starting Jan. 1, 2025, with benefits available for employees beginning Jan. 1, 2026.