EMPLOYERS: New Law In Effect January 1, 2021
Maine’s new Earned Paid Leave Law and rules require that employers* with more than 10 workers provide earned paid leave equal to or in excess of the new law.
Which employees count as eligible workers?
- The following categories of workers count toward the 10-employee minimum and are eligible to earn paid leave:
- Work 120 calendar days a year or more;
- Located in Maine
- Covered employees defined by 26 MRSA §1043(11), including:
- Per Diem
- TIP: Employees listed on quarterly report to Bureau of Unemployment Compensation are likely to be covered.
- Does NOT include employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement until the next agreement cycle.
What leave does the law require?
- Leave is accrued at a rate of 1 hour per every 40 hours worked, up to 40 hours a year.
- Paid at prior week rate of pay (Variable pay-rate workers, divide prior week earnings by hours worked)
- Time off may be used for any reason: illness, emergency, vacation, etc.
- Un-used time may be carried over; but you are only required to accrue up to 40 hours per year
What if I already offer leave?
You may provide a benefit greater than the law requires, but if your current offering does not meet the minimum of the law, you must expand it.
What else should I consider?
We recommend that employers consider implementing written policies that clarify the following topics:
|Topic||Employers are Permitted to Establish the Following Written Policies:|
|Use||• Restricting new employee use of earned paid leave for up to 120 calendar days after job start|
• Restricting use during defined peak work periods for leave other than emergency or illness
• Restricting use the week after commissions or bonuses are paid
• Establishing a one-hour minimum increment
|Notice||• Requiring advance notice of up to 4 weeks for leave other than emergency or illness|
|Accrual & Use Period||• Documenting whether the accrual and use period is the calendar year, anniversary year or other 12-month period|
|End of Employment||• Describing whether the balance of accrued earned paid leave will be paid or not when employment ends|
Where can I learn more?
*Defined by 26 MRSA §1043(9). Excludes seasonal industry, as defined by 26 MRSA §1251; those that customarily operate during a regularly recurring period of less than 26 weeks. Note: requires filing paperwork to confirm exemption.