Maine Labor Laws

April 10th 2024

This article covers:

What are Maine Time Management Laws?

In the US, there are federal laws in place to manage the time spent by employees in the workplace, safeguarding their rights and guaranteeing fair pay for their efforts. These laws act as directives for employers, keeping them in check, and minimizing any forms of abuse or exploitation.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which dates back to 1938, is a critical federal law for time management, setting hourly wage rates and overtime pay, and requiring employers to keep an accurate record of their employees’ working hours. Overtime is pegged at 1.5 times the regular hourly rate for workers who exceed 40 hours a week. However, certain job categories, including executives, professionals, and administrative employees, are exempt from overtime pay depending on their job description and salary.

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is another essential federal law that governs time management in the workplace, entitling eligible employees to up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for specific family and medical reasons, such as the birth or adoption of a child or caring for a family member with a serious health condition. This act also requires employers to maintain employees’ health benefits during their leave and restore them to their previous or equivalent positions upon their return to work.

Employers who contravene federal time management laws face severe legal ramifications, including fines, back pay, and damages. If workers feel that their employer has violated federal time management laws, they can file complaints with the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division for investigation and legal action.

Overall, federal time management laws are instrumental in ensuring that workers are compensated fairly for their time and effort in the workplace, protecting them from abuse and exploitation by employers. The Fair Labor Standards Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act are vital federal laws that govern time management and worker compensation, ensuring fair labor practices across various sectors, including non-profit, public, and private organizations.

Maine Minimum Wage $14.15
Maine Overtime 1.5 times the rate of regular pay after working 40 hours in a workweek
($21.23 per hour for minimum wage workers)
Maine Breaks Meal breaks not required by law
Rest period of 30 minutes required after 6 consecutive hours of work

What are the Hiring, Working & Termination Laws in Maine?

Every employee in Maine has the right to a fair hiring process that is not discriminatory. This right is protected by the Maine Civil Rights Act, which forbids employers from discriminating against candidates based on factors such as:

  • Race or color
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation
  • Age
  • Physical or mental disability
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Religion
  • Ancestry
  • National origin

In Maine, employment works on the principle of “employment-at-will”, which means that both the employer and employee have the right to terminate the employment relationship at any time, for any reason. This applies to most employees unless stated otherwise in their contractual agreement. After termination of employment, the employer must provide the employee’s final paycheck by the next scheduled payday. Employers can deduct an overpayment, loan or advance from the final paycheck if they can produce written consent from the employee. However, employers cannot deduct for property damage or alleged owed money without following appropriate procedures. If an employer is selling their business, they must pay their employees’ final wages within two weeks after the sale.

When a company with over 100 employees shuts down or moves, they may offer severance pay to their former workers. This should be part of their last paycheck and calculated based on their length of employment, with one week’s pay per year worked and partial pay for a partial year. The calculation starts from the last complete month of employment.

What Are the Key Labor Laws in Maine?

Now, we will discuss some key labor laws in Maine that may not be related to the categories we have previously explored. Some of these regulations include:

  • Ban-the-Box Law – Maine has taken a significant step towards ensuring fair employment opportunities for all its citizens by enacting a “Ban-the-box” law. This law prohibits employers from asking job applicants about their criminal history during the early stages of the hiring process. Furthermore, employers cannot indicate in their job postings that candidates with criminal records will not be considered. This law is a positive development that aims to create a level playing field for all job seekers, regardless of their past mistakes or missteps.
  • COBRA Laws – If you happen to experience a major life event such as termination or reduction of work hours, you might still qualify for continued health insurance under the federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) or Maine mini-COBRA. These plans allow for up to 36 months of health insurance coverage, but at a cost of 102% of the original. You may qualify for coverage if you experience termination, reduction of hours, divorce, incapacity due to health reasons, or if you’re caring for a family member with serious health issues. Be sure to verify with your local authorities if you’re eligible for COBRA coverage.
  • OSHA Laws – Maine has a State Plan that’s approved by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA, which helps regulate safety in the workplace. Though it mostly follows the federal OSHA standards, it also includes some extra rules for managing respiratory protection and Video Display Terminals. If any workplace in the state doesn’t follow these guidelines, the Department of Labor has the responsibility of carrying out inspections to enforce them.
  • Whistleblower Protection Laws – Maine has laws to protect employees who report any inappropriate employer activities in good faith. These laws prohibit any retaliation against employees who report a violation of Maine laws or a safety and health risk to themselves or others. Employees are also protected if they participate in any investigation or court hearing or if they refuse to carry out any orders that would break Maine law. Healthcare-related employees are also guarded if they report inadequate patient care in healthcare facilities. Employees are required to report any violations to their employer first, allowing sufficient time for corrective action. However, if the employee has a solid reason to believe that reporting to the employer will not result in immediate corrective action, this step is not mandatory.
  • Background Check Laws – There are certain jobs in Maine that necessitate employers to conduct criminal background checks before hiring potential employees. These include healthcare and personal care providers, school and childcare staff, and positions where the employee will have access to personal information, financial resources, or the property of clients. Employers are obligated to perform thorough background checks, including criminal history records, on all direct employees in these roles.
  • Employer Use of Social Media Laws – According to Maine law, employers are not allowed to request an applicant or employee’s personal social media password, ask them to access their account in their presence, or force them to disclose social media information. Additionally, employers cannot mandate that an employee add anyone to their social media contact list, discipline or fire them for refusing access to their account, or reject an applicant for not providing access. That being said, if the employer provides devices or software to the employee, all necessary login information must be disclosed.
  • Drug and Alcohol Testing Laws – Maine employers who want to make sure their employees are drug-free must follow the state’s guidelines. That means creating a drug testing policy that is approved by the Maine Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Standards. To get approval, the employer should get input from workers during policy development and let them know when it’s submitted. Even though recreational marijuana use is allowed, employers don’t have to allow it on the job.
  • Sexual Harassment Training Laws – Employers in Maine who have more than 15 employees must provide sexual harassment education to all new employees, according to state law. This training program must be conducted within the first year of employment and cover essential points such as defining sexual harassment by state and federal laws, including examples, outlining the complaint process, making resources like legal aid and complaint procedures known, providing contact information for the commission, and the protection against retaliation. Additionally, leading staff must get further training to ensure that they know how to handle sexual harassment complaints properly.
  • Independent Contractors Classification – In Maine, unless specified otherwise by the employer, all workers are considered employees by law. The determination of whether someone is an employee or an independent contractor depends on their level of control and agency in their work. This classification is not based on contractual agreements, but rather on State and federal laws. Misclassifying a worker is illegal and can result in penalties.
  • Prevailing Wages on State Construction Projects – If a public project is funded by the state and its estimated cost is $50,000 or more, then the contractors working on the job have the right to receive prevailing wages. These wages are determined by collecting data about the cost of construction work in the area. It is important to note that the official wage rate must be displayed on-site as well.
  • Recordkeeping Laws – Maine’s laws regarding recordkeeping employment practices require employers to maintain:
    • Records showing the exact amount of wages paid to each employee, as well as dates when this occurred
    • Records of hours worked by each employee, each business day

Maine Payment Laws

To start off, let’s take a look at the laws that govern how much employees must be paid. We’ll delve into the details of minimum wage standards, including any exceptions that may apply.

What is the Minimum Payment in Maine?

The State of Maine Department of Labor has set the minimum wage in Maine at $14.15 per hour. Service workers, or those who make over $30 a month in tips, are entitled to a tipped minimum wage of $7.08 per hour (the exception is the city of Portland where the minimum wage is $15 per hour and the tipped minimum wage is $7.50 per hour). Employers must pay this amount in addition to ensuring that the employee earns at least the minimum wage when tips and direct wages are combined. The training wage, which is for employees under 20 years of age, is set at $4.25 per hour for their first 90 days of employment. As of mid-2020, Maine no longer allows employers to pay disabled employees a subminimum wage.

What are the Exceptions for Minimum Payment in Maine?

There are certain jobs in Maine that are exempted from the minimum wage law. These jobs include:

  • Agricultural workers on large farms
  • Outside salespersons
  • Taxicab drivers
  • Camp counselors
  • Salaried employees (administrative, professional, executive), who make at least $735.59 per week

What is the Payment Due Date in Maine?

In Maine, it’s required that employees are paid no later than every 16 days. The pay schedule should be consistent and cannot be changed without informing the employee beforehand. Moreover, on the regular payday (or the next business day), employees should receive their earned full wages for up to 8 days prior to the payday.

What are Maine Overtime Laws?

According to Maine law, any work exceeding 40 hours in a week counts as overtime and should be compensated at 1.5 times the regular rate. It’s also not permitted for employers to require employees to work over 80 hours of overtime for two continuous weeks.

What are the Overtime Exceptions and Exemptions in Maine?

Exceptions to overtime laws can be made in the following cases:

  • When a public emergency is declared by the Governor or an employee is performing essential public duties such as healthcare services
  • For salaried employees who fall under administrative, professional, or executive categories and earn at least $816.35 per week (or $42,450.20 annually)
  • For seasonal employees
  • For medical interns
  • For those who work for employers who shut down operations for annual maintenance

Learn more in detail about Maine Salaried Employees Laws and Maine Overtime Laws.

What are Maine Time Off/Break Laws?

Maine employees are given a minimum of 30 minutes of break time following six consecutive hours of work. This break is compensated unless the employee decides to take an unpaid meal break, in which case they must completely be relieved of their duties.

What are the Exceptions to Break Law in Maine?

In instances where there is a threat to property, life, public safety, or public health, exceptions may be made to break laws. Furthermore, small businesses that have fewer than three employees present at any given time or permit more frequent, shorter breaks due to the nature of their work are not required to adhere to break regulations.

What are Maine Breastfeeding Laws?

Maine law ensures that nursing employees are allowed to express breast milk in the workplace for up to 3 years after giving birth. Employers must provide an unpaid break or allow for the use of paid break time for this purpose. Furthermore, the employer is responsible for providing a clean, private location that is not a toilet stall and a reasonable amount of time to express milk.

What are Maine Leave Laws?

Maine provides two types of leaves – required and non-required leaves.

What is Maine Required Leave?

The following are the required leave types that Maine employers must provide to their employees:

  • Earned Paid Leave – Starting from January 1st, 2021, individuals working in Maine establishments with 10 or more employees will be authorized to receive earned paid leave. The calculation for time off will be at a rate of 1 hour per 40 hours worked and allows for a maximum of 40 hours of leave in a given year. This earned paid leave can be applied for any reason and used all at once within a year. Moreover, up to 40 hours of unused time off can be rolled over to the next year. In non-emergency circumstances, an employer may need to give up to four weeks of notice before an employee applies for this leave.
  • Family Medical Leave – In Maine, eligible employees can take up to 10 weeks of unpaid family medical leave over a 2-year period for various reasons such as caring for a newborn, or a close family member with a serious health condition or donating an organ. This applies to employees who work in establishments with 15 or more employees and have worked for the same employer for at least 12 months. The employee must provide notice of the leave at least 30 days prior unless there is an emergency situation.
  • Jury Duty Leave – It is illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee for attending jury duty. If an employer violates this rule, the employee can take legal action and seek compensation for lost wages or benefits.
  • Emergency Response Leave – If an employee needs to respond to an emergency and is absent from work, the employer cannot fire them or discipline them. However, the employee needs to inform the employer in advance if they are a firefighter or a person involved in emergency medical services. There is an exception: if there is a written agreement between the employer and employee, the employer can declare the employee as essential to business operations.
  • Military Leave – If you’re an employee in Maine who is also a member of the Military, you can take two types of leave for active duty. The first one called paid military leave, lets you take up to 17 days off in a calendar year without losing out on any pay or benefits. The second type, called unpaid military leave, is available to you once your active duty term exceeds 17 days. Once you’re done with your deployment, you should be able to resume your previous position without any loss of benefits.
  • Family Military Leave – If you are an employer who is related to a person deployed for military service, you might be eligible for an unpaid family military leave of 15 days for each deployment. However, certain conditions must be met in order for the employee to qualify. The employee must have been working for the same employer for at least 12 months and have worked a minimum of 1,250 hours in the 12 months preceding the leave request. Additionally, the family member being deployed must be away for at least 180 days. If the employee intends to take leave that will last for more than 5 consecutive workdays, they are required to give their employer at least 14 days of prior notice.
  • Leave for Victims of Violence – If an employee or their close family member is a victim of violence, sexual assault, or stalking, they are entitled to take a leave of absence. During this leave, the employee can attend court hearings, receive medical treatment, assist their close family member with medical treatment, or obtain any necessary services (such as restraining orders) to address the violence. The employer is obligated to grant this leave, with the exception of cases where the absence would cause undue hardship to the business.

What is Maine Non-Required Leave?

The non-required leave types are:

  • Sick Leave – Unlike State employees who have some benefits like paid sick leaves, private employers in Maine are not obligated to provide the same benefit to their employees. Nonetheless, full-time State employees can accrue 8 hours of paid sick leave each full month of service.
  • Bereavement Leave – Unfortunately, private employers in Maine are not required to offer bereavement leave to their staff members. Please note that state employees are subject to separate guidelines, which means that some may qualify for paid bereavement leave.
  • Vacation and Holiday Leave – In Maine, it’s not necessary for private employers to provide vacation or holiday leave, unless there’s a contractual obligation with the employee.
  • Voting Time Leave – It is not mandatory for employers in Maine to grant their employees time off to vote.

The following are the official federal holidays observed in the US:

State Official Holidays Date
New Year’s Day 1 January
Martin Luther King Jr. Civil Rights Day Third Monday in January
Washington’s Birthday Third Monday in February
Memorial Day Last Monday in May
Independence Day 4 July
Labor Day First Monday in September
Columbus Day Second Monday in October
Election Day Every other year
Veterans Day 11 November
Thanksgiving Day Fourth Thursday in November
Christmas Day 25 December

What are Maine Child Labor Laws?

Maine, like all other US states, has child labor laws to protect minors from working in conditions that are dangerous or detrimental to their health. These laws are specifically tailored for two age groups: 14-15 and 16-17.

What are the Laws on Working Hours for Minors in Maine?

The following are the working hours regulations for minors:

Age Group Labor Laws
Under the age of 16 – Must acquire a work permit approved by the Bureau of Labor
– After 7 a.m. and before 7 p.m. (extended to 9 p.m. in summer)
– No more than 40 hours in a week while school is not in session
– No more than 18 hours in a week while school is in session
Aged 16 and 17 – No need for a work permit
– Between 7 a.m. – 10.15 p.m. when schools are in session
– Between 5 a.m. – 12.00 am when school is out of session
– No more than 50 hours in a week while school is not in session
– No more than 24 hours in a week when school is not in session

What are the Banned Jobs for Minors in Maine?

In Maine, federal regulations exist to safeguard minors from being employed in hazardous environments. Such regulations place restrictions on employers from hiring minors for specific job types, some of which include:

  • Handling explosives
  • Operating a motor vehicle
  • Mining
  • Quarrying
  • Logging
  • Operating a circular or band saw, or guillotine shears
  • Operating power-driven machinery

Learn more in detail about Maine Child Labor Laws.

Important Cautionary Note

This content is provided for informational purposes only. While we make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information presented, we cannot guarantee that it is free of errors or omissions. Users are advised to independently verify any critical information and should not solely rely on the content provided.