On July 11, Maine Governor Janet Mills signed the state budget bill (LD 258) that included a new paid family and medical leave program. As more states adopt paid leave programs, employers must be up to date on what their obligations are with employees.
A one percent payroll tax, split evenly between employers and employees, will fund the leave. Employers with fewer than 15 employees, however, need not contribute.
Funding begins January 1, 2025, and employees may begin taking leave May 1, 2026.
Eligible employees (those who earned at least six times the state average weekly wage in a base period), may take up to 12 weeks of paid leave per benefit year. The benefit year is the 12-month period starting on the first day of the calendar week right before the date family or medical leave benefits begin.
Like the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), employees may take the leave in three ways:
Eligible employees may take leave upon hire. Employees apply for the paid benefits through a newly formed state Paid Family and Medical Leave Benefits Authority. This agency must notify the employer within five business days of an employee filing a claim.
Employees may take Maine paid family and medical leave for the following reasons:
The law includes a seven-day waiting period for benefits when employees take the leave for their own condition.
Employers must post a related notice and give new hires written information about the leave and how to file a claim.
Maine’s paid family and medical leave runs concurrently with the federal FMLA if the employee is eligible for both, and the reason qualifies for both. Employers with employees working in Maine must consider their obligations under both state and federal leave laws.
Key to Remember:Employers with employees in Maine must be aware of the upcoming obligations related to the new state paid family and medical leave.
This article was written by Darlene M. Clabault, SHRM-CP, PHR, CLMS, of J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc. The content of these news items, in whole or in part, MAY NOT be copied into any other uses without consulting the originator of the content.