Maine’s New Earned Paid Leave Law

Maine’s new Earned Paid Leave law is now in effect for any employer with more than 11 employees for more than 120 days of the year. For every 40 hours of time worked, employers must provide, at minimum, one hour of paid time off, up to a maximum of 40 hours in one calendar year. Employees may use this time for any reason, including but not limited to illness and vacation. Time accrued may be rolled over to the following year.

Employers who offer paid time off to employees at a faster rate than one hour for every 40 hours worked are not required to change their systems. They also do not need to provide an additional 40 hours of paid time off if their employees already earn time off at the required rate or greater than the required rate.

If they choose, employers may frontload the amount of time off at the beginning of the year to allow employees to take time before accrual. If an employer frontloads this time, they are not required to roll over the unused time to the following year.

In addition, employees must be paid their leave at the rate of pay earned in the week immediately preceding the use of their time off and may not lose any benefit as a result of taking time off. Employers can require their employees to provide up to four week’s notice to use their time and may refuse time off requests if it causes undue hardship to the company.

To help employers and workers navigate the new law, the Maine Department of Labor has created several resources and has a dedicated Earned Paid Leave page on its website.