“Paid Sick Leave?!? How about paid leave for ANY reason? Now, hold my lobster martini.” — Maine, probably.

Maine state coat of arms (illustrated, 1876).jpg

By Henry Mitchell Restoration by Godot13 – Mitchell, Henry (1876) The State Arms of the Union, Boston: L. Prang & Co., Public Domain, Link

City and state-mandated paid sick leave is so 2018.

In 2019, the State of Maine has decided up the ante by requiring most private employers to provide paid leave for any reason.

What does this new law say?

Here is a copy of the new law, which will take effect on January 1, 2021. Private employers of 10 or more employees for more than 120 days in a calendar year must provide 1 hour of paid leave for every 40 hours worked. Employees can accrue up to 40 hours of paid leave per year.

Accrual of leave begins at the start of employment, but the employer is not required to permit the use of leave before that employer has employed the employee for 120 days over one year.

Employees using paid leave receive at least the same base rate of pay that the employee received immediately before taking earned leave. Additionally, employers must provide the same benefits as those provided under established policies of the employer about other types of paid leave.

How much notice does an employee have to provide before taking paid leave? Well, ‘reasonable’ notice, of course.😉 However, absent an emergency, use of leave must be scheduled to prevent undue hardship on the employer as reasonably determined by the employer.

One-off or start of a trend?

Well, NYC is considering a similar law. Under the pending legislation, even smaller employers (5 or more employees) would provide employees with one hour of personal time for every 30 hours worked by an employee, with a maximum of 80 hours of personal time in any calendar year.

I’m not aware of any other pending legislation. But, if you are, please email me.

Many larger employers already offer benefits like these through some combination of sick leave, vacation, bereavement leave, and general PTO. But, for smaller employers, laws like these can be tough to maneuver.

What do you think? Email me and give me your two cents.

“Doing What’s Right – Not Just What’s Legal”