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Need a Vacation? New Law Will Require Maine Employers to Provide Paid Time Off for Any Reason.

Published by on July 22, 2019

With the passage of this new law, Maine is the first state to mandate paid leave that may be used for any purpose, beyond health or medical-related reasons.

On May 28, 2019, the governor of Maine signed into law “An Act Authorizing Earned Employee Leave.” Under the act, which applies to businesses with more than 10 employees, employees are entitled to accrue one hour of paid leave (paid at the same base rate of pay) for every 40 hours worked, up to 40 hours a year. The law does not address carryover of unused hours to the following year.

Where feasible, reasonable advanced notice must be given by the employee to their supervisor prior to taking leave, and leave must be scheduled to prevent undue hardship on the employer. Employers may receive a penalty of up to $1,000 per violation.

While several states, cities, and counties have already passed laws mandating that employers provide workers with paid sick leave, what makes Maine’s law unique is that the paid leave may be used for any reason, and is not limited to just illness, medical appointments, taking care of sick family members, or other health-related reasons. Therefore, employees may use the leave for personal reasons, including vacation. The new law will go into effect January 1, 2021.

Welter Insight

Maine employers have about a year and a half to update their policies and procedures in order to comply with the new paid law. Additionally, the law provides that the Maine Department of Labor will issue specific rules to implement the general law, so employers should review these rules once issued to ensure their policies and procedures are compliant.

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