Maine Governor Janet Mills has signed a bill that will allow employees to use mandated paid leave for any reason. Under this law, approximately 85% of private sector employees in Maine will receive paid leave. The new law will take effect January 1, 2021.
Maine employers with at least 10 employees who work more than 120 hours in a calendar year must provide one hour of paid leave for every 40 hours an employee works. An employee can earn up to 40 hours of paid leave annually. Employers who violate the new law will be subject to penalties of up to $1,000.
Employees will begin accruing leave at the start of employment and are eligible to begin using any accrued leave after 120 days of employment. Except in cases of emergency, employees must provide reasonable notice of their intent to take leave and use of leave must be scheduled to prevent undue hardship to the employer.
While on paid leave, an employee must be paid at the same rate of pay they received prior to taking the leave. Taking paid leave cannot result in a loss of any accrued benefits.
Additional information regarding the new law is forthcoming from the Maine Department of Labor.