Maine Publishes Rules for Earned Paid Leave Law, Effective Jan. 1, 2021

After a public comment period, Maine has now published rules for “An Act Authorizing Earned Employee Leave” which takes effect next year.

This law requires employers with more than 10 employees in Maine for more than 120 days in any calendar year to provide paid time off. Seasonal industries as defined by Maine law are excluded. Here are some highlights:

  • Coverage applies to full-time, part-time, temporary, per diem, etc. employees.
  • Employees can earn one hour of paid leave for every 40 hours worked, up to 40 hours in a defined year.
  • Accrual can be greater than 40 hours per year but could also be capped at 40 hours a year.
  • The time can be utilized for any reason including emergency, illness, sudden necessity, planned vacation, etc.
  • A waiting period of 120 days can be required before employees can utilize the leave.
  • Employees can carry over up to 40 hours from one year to the next.
  • Time can be frontloaded at the beginning of the year at the employer’s discretion.
  • Employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) as of January 1, 2021 are excluded until the CBA expires.
  • Independent Contractors who are correctly classified as such by rules and regulations are exempted as they are not employees.

Employer Action Needed

Employers will need to review their paid time off policies and have systems in place prior to next year to ensure compliance. While many employers now provide paid time, often the benefit is not offered to all employees and policies may limit how and when the time may be used. Action steps for compliance include:

  • Provide paid time to all employees eligible under this new law.
  • Ensure employees can earn up to 40 hours of paid time per year.
  • Review paid time off policies to determine adjustments needed such as: eligibility and waiting periods, how the time may be utilized, carryover, etc.
  • Establish tracking systems for proper accruals and balances.
  • Determine if any independent contractors exempted from these benefits are correctly classified.
  • Post the revised Maine Regulation of Employment poster in all workplaces.

More information, including frequently asked questions, responses to public comments, and the Regulation of Employment Poster are available here. https://www.maine.gov/labor/labor_laws/earnedpaidleave/

Need help with this new Maine law or have other employment questions? Call KMA today!

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