Maine Leave Laws

May 6th 2024

In Maine, leave laws provide employees with time off for a range of reasons, such as illness, childcare, and military service. This article delves into state and federal laws that Maine employers must adhere to concerning employee leave. There are two main types of leave: required and non-required leave, each with specific guidelines and requirements for public and private sector employers. 

This Article Covers

Maine Required Leave
Maine Non-Required Leave

Maine Required Leave

The following types of leave are a legal requirement in Maine:

1. Earned Paid Leave

  • Eligibility: Employees working in establishments with 10 or more employees may receive earned paid leave. In non-emergency situations, employees in Maine may need to give 4 weeks of advance notice before applying for this leave. 
  • Duration: Earned paid leave is calculated based on a rate of 1 hour per 40 hours worked. This allows for a maximum of 40 hours of leave in a given year. 
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: For any reason, at any time within a year. It can even be used all at once. Up to 40 hours of unused time can be rolled over to the next year, providing employees in Maine with flexibility as to how and when they take leave.

2. Family Medical Leave

  • Eligibility: Family medical leave benefits are accessible to employees who work in establishments with 15 or more employees, and have worked for the same employer for at least 12 months. Furthermore, the employer must be notified 30 days in advance, unless there is an emergency situation. 
  • Duration: Up to 10 weeks within a 2-year period. 
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: For various reasons, such as caring for a newborn, or for a close family member with a serious health condition, or donating an organ. 
  • Pay: Employers in Maine are not legally required to pay employees who are on family medical leave.

3. Jury Duty Leave

  • Eligibility: All employees summoned for jury service must be permitted time off. 
  • Duration: The time required to serve on a jury. 
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave:  Employees utilize this leave when summoned to serve on a jury, as mandated by court order.
  • Pay: Employers are not required to pay employees for the time spent on jury duty. However, employees must be allowed to serve without penalty.

4. Emergency Response Leave

  • Eligibility: Firefighters or personnel involved in emergency medical services, who need to respond to emergencies, are eligible for emergency response leave. However, the employee must inform the employer in advance that they are a volunteer emergency responder. Furthermore, if there is a written agreement between the employer and employee, the employer may declare them as essential to business operations. 
  • Duration: The leave duration is dependent on the length of the emergency response.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: Employees use this leave to respond to emergencies requiring their professional skills.

5. Military Leave

  • Eligibility: Employees in Maine who are also members of the military can take leave for active duty. 
  • Duration: There are two types of military leave: paid military leave, which allows the employee to take 17 days off, and unpaid military leave, which is an extension of the initial 17 days. 
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: To participate in active military duty. 
  • Pay: The first 17 days of military leave are paid. During this time, leave laws protect Maine employees from losing out on any pay or benefits. Once the employee is finished with deployment, they must be reinstated to their former position.

6. Family Military Leave

  • Eligibility: Employees who are related to someone deployed for military service may be eligible for family military leave under certain conditions. Firstly, they must have been employed by the same employer for at least 12 months and worked a minimum of 1,250 hours during the 12 months preceding the leave request. Additionally, the deployed family member must be away for at least 180 days. 
  • Duration: 15 days for each period of deployment. If the leave exceeds 5 consecutive workdays, the employee must give their employer at least 14 days of prior notice. 
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: When a family member is deployed for military service for at least 180 days.
  • Pay: This type of leave is unpaid.

7. Leave for Victims of Violence

  • Eligibility: Employees are eligible for this type of leave if they or a close family member have been a victim of violence, sexual assault, or stalking. The employer must grant this leave unless the employee’s absence would cause undue hardship to the business. 
  • Duration: The duration is as needed to attend court hearings, receive medical treatment, or obtain necessary services related to the violence.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: Leave is taken to attend court hearings, receive medical treatment, assist a close family member with medical treatment, or obtain any necessary services (such as restraining orders) to address the violence. 
  • Pay: This leave can be paid or unpaid, depending on company policy or the terms of the employment contract.

Maine Non-Required Leave

Non-required leave types are not mandated by law but are instead offered at the discretion of employers. The non-required leave options include:

1. Sick Leave (Private Employers)

While state employees in Maine benefit from paid sick leave, accruing 8 hours for each full month of service, private employers are not required to offer this same benefit. However, earned paid leave is available to both private sector and state employees. This allows employees in Maine to take leave for any reason, including illness or medical treatment.

2. Bereavement Leave (Private Employers)

In Maine, bereavement leave is not mandated by state law for private employers, meaning they are not required to provide paid or unpaid time off when an employee experiences the death of a family member. However, many employers choose to offer bereavement leave as a benefit. This non-required leave typically allows employees to take time off to grieve, attend funeral services, and manage any affairs related to the passing of a close relative.

3. Vacation Leave (Private Employers)

State law in Maine does not require businesses to provide paid or unpaid vacation leave. However, if an employer chooses to offer vacation leave, they must adhere to their own established policies and treat all employees fairly under these guidelines.

4. Voting Time Leave

While there is no specific state law regulating voting time leave in Maine, the Earned Paid Leave Law allows employees to take paid time off for any reason. With this law in effect, both private-sector and state employees can take a leave of absence in order to vote in Maine.

5. Holiday Leave (Private Employers)

In Maine, state employees receive paid time off for specific holidays listed in the table below. Private employers in Maine, however, are not legally required to provide holiday leave – paid or unpaid. That being said, the Earned Paid Leave law permits both private and state employees to take time off for a range of reasons, including holidays.

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

You can read more about the rights of employees in Maine in our guides on Your rights as a salaried employee in Maine, Your rights as an hourly employee in Maine and Maine 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.