Maine workers to receive paid leave under newly signed law
Augusta, ME — Workers in Maine will now be able to accrue paid time off, under new legislation signed into law May 28 by Gov. Janet Mills (D).
An Act Authorizing Earned Employee Leave (L.D. 369), scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1, 2021, will benefit 85% of workers in the state, Mills said. Under the act, private employees can accrue one hour of paid leave time for every 40 hours worked, for a maximum of 40 hours of paid time off per year.
“I don’t know anyone who hasn’t gotten sick or had a child who’s gotten sick. That’s just life and such unexpected circumstances should not break the bank for working Maine people,” Mills said in a May 28 press release. “This bipartisan bill balances the interests of business owners and ensures that hardworking Mainers are able to take necessary time off without worrying about losing a day’s pay.”
Employers with fewer than 10 workers will be exempt from the law, which also does not apply to seasonal businesses.
The legislation is the first in the United States to allow private workers to earn paid leave time for uses other than being sick.
“No one should worry about losing their job or paycheck when child care is canceled or when their parent has a health scare,” Sen. Rebecca Millett (D-Cape Elizabeth), who sponsored the bill, said in the release from the governor’s office. “They shouldn’t worry about how they will pay for the flat tire on top of missing work while they get it repaired. This new law provides Mainers with some breathing room should the unexpected happen.”