In Maine, employers with more than ten (10) employees may be required to pay employees for earned paid leave. ME Statute 26:637 Beginning on January 1, 2023, this includes requiring employers to pay employees for all accrued but unused paid vacation leave when an employee ceases to work for the employer regardless of the reason including resignation, termination, or layoff. ME LD 225 (HP 160) For more information, visit Maine’s Department of Labor pages discussing earned paid leave.
Employers not covered by Maine’s earned paid leave requirements are not required to provide employees with vacation benefits, either paid or unpaid. ME Statute 26:637; ME Dept. of Labor – Earned Paid Leave. If an employer who is not covered by Maine’s earned paid leave chooses to provide such benefits, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract. See Rowell v. Jones & Vining, Inc., 524 A.2d 1208 (1987). The following standards may also apply for employees not covered by Maine’s earned paid leave laws:
- An employer may lawfully establish a policy or enter into a contract denying employees payment for accrued vacation leave upon separation from employment. See Rowell v. Jones & Vining, Inc., 524 A.2d 1208 (1987).
- An employer may also lawfully establish a policy or enter into a contract disqualifying employees from payment of accrued vacation upon separation from employment if they fail to comply with specific requirements, such as giving two weeks notice or being employed as of a specific date of the year. See Rowell v. Jones & Vining, Inc., 524 A.2d 1208 (1987).
- An employer is required to pay accrued vacation to an employee upon separation from employment if its policy or contract requires it. See Rowell v. Jones & Vining, Inc., 524 A.2d 1208 (1987). An employer is not required to pay accrued vacation leave upon separation from employment if the employer’s established policy or employment contract is silent on the matter. See Rowell v. Jones & Vining, Inc., 524 A.2d 1208 (1987).
- An employer may cap the amount of vacation leave an employee may accrue over time. See Rowell v. Jones & Vining, Inc., 524 A.2d 1208 (1987).
- An employer may implement a “use-it-or-lose-it” policy requiring employees to use their leave by a set date or lose it. See Rowell v. Jones & Vining, Inc., 524 A.2d 1208 (1987).
Maine law does not have a separate law that requires employers to provide employees with sick leave benefits, either paid or unpaid. However, employers who are required to provide earned paid leave under Maine’s earned paid leave law may be required to allow employee to take sick leave under that law. ME Statute 26:637; ME Dept. of Labor – Earned Paid Leave. An employer in Maine may be required to provide an employee unpaid sick leave in accordance with Maine’s Family and Medical Leave Requirements and the federal Family and Medical Leave Act or other federal laws.
Maine law does not have a law that requires private employers to provide employees with either paid or unpaid holiday leave. Maine Dept. of Labor FAQs In Maine, a private employer can require an employee to work holidays. A private employer does not have to pay an employee premium pay, such as 1½ times the regular rate, for working on holidays, unless such time worked qualifies the employee for overtime under standard overtime laws. If an employer chooses to provide either paid or unpaid holiday leave, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract.
Visit our Maine State Holidays page for a list of holidays recognized and observed by the state of Maine as well as information regarding state laws governing holiday leave for public employers and employees.
Jury Duty Leave
An employer is not required to pay an employee for responding to a jury summons or serving on a jury.
An employer may not discharge, penalize, threaten, deny health insurance coverage to, or otherwise coerce an employee who receives and/or responds to a jury summons or who serves on a jury.
Maine does not have a law which requires an employer to grant its employees leave, either paid or unpaid, to vote.
Maine law does not require employers to provide employees bereavement leave or leave to attend funerals. Bereavement leave is leave that is taken by an employee due to the death of another individual, usually a close relative. Employers may choose to provide bereavement leave and may be required to comply with any bereavement policy or practice they maintain.
Family and Medical Leave
Maine adheres to the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
Employees eligible for FMLA will receive 12 weeks of unpaid time off within 12 months. To be eligible for the Family Medical Leave Act, you must use your time off to handle the following situations:
- Bonding with a child
- Caring for an ailing family member
- Recuperating from an ailment
- Caring for an ill or injured military family member
The 12-week leave will renew every 12 months if employees continue to meet eligibility criteria. The requirements you must meet to be eligible for leave under FMLA include:
- Employees must have worked for a minimum of 1250 hours the previous year
- Employees must have worked for their employer for one year
- Employees must work at a location with 50+ employees within 75 miles
If you are caring for an ill or injured military family member, your leave is increased to 26 weeks per 12 months. This allotment is available per service member per injury.
Additionally, individuals under FMLA are entitled to their regular health insurance and use their accrued paid time off. Employers must also consider additional state-level laws regarding medical and bereavement leave Maine.
Based on state guidelines, employees have the right to ten weeks off within two years. This is only applicable to employees working for companies with 15+ employees.
Military members in Maine are entitled to the same benefits that the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) offers, including:
- Employees have the right to continue group healthcare benefits for 24 months of their leave
- Upon return, employees must be reinstated to the same (or equivalent) previously held position
- Employees must receive up to five years of unpaid leave for military service (with exceptions)
Maine is also a state that offers military family leave. These guidelines only apply to employers with 15+ employees.
As an employee and the family member of a service member, you must receive 15 days of leave per deployment. It’s important to note that the deployment must last more than 180 days.
You must be the enlisted individual’s spouse, domestic partner, or parent. You’ll be able to take state military family leave during the following instances:
- 15 days after deployment
- 15 days before deployment
- A specified time during the deployment
When taking military leave, additional benefits are available to service members through their employers. These benefits include:
- No-cost continuation of health, dental, and life insurance for the first 30 days of military leave
- Employees must be given up to 90 days to report back to work after their deployment