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DEPARTMENT OF ADMINISTRATIVE & FINANCIAL SERVICES

BUREAU OF HUMAN RESOURCES
June 12, 2006

HUMAN RESOURCES MEMORANDUM 4-06

TO:  Agency/Department Heads and Human Resource Representatives

SUBJECT:  IMPLEMENTATION OF PL 2005, CHAPTER 523: AN ACT TO ASSIST MILITARY FAMILIES

Chapter 523 is incorporated into the general labor laws (Title 26, new § 814) and applies to all employers, including the State.  Chapter 523 provides up to 15 days unpaid leave for an employee who is the spouse, domestic partner, or parent of a service member (who is a resident of Maine) who is deployed for military service for greater than 180 days.  In other words, this benefit does not apply to the service member employed by the State; it applies to the service member’s spouse, domestic partner, or parent who is employed by the State.  This benefit is called “Family Military Leave.” 

This legislation uses the term “deployed” advisedly.  In order to be eligible for Family Military Leave the service member must be “deployed” for greater than 180 days to a duty assignment that is in “a combat theater” or “an area where armed conflict is taking place.”

There are a number of other conditions that must be met to be eligible for Family Military Leave:

The law also provides several employee protections including:

As a practical matter, Family Military Leave will be treated as an Unpaid Personal Leave under the Civil Service Rules or appropriate collective bargaining agreement, as applicable to the individual employee.3 

It is important to emphasize that this legislation does not preclude an employee from using paid vacation before, during, or after the deployment of a spouse, domestic partner, or child.  That notwithstanding, the right to use the unpaid Family Military Leave provided in this legislation is subject to the specific conditions contained in the law; most specifically that it can only be taken immediately before and/or immediately after the deployment.

This legislation has an emergency preamble and, hence, was effective when it was signed by the Governor on April 3, 2006. 

S/ Alicia Kellogg

Alicia Kellogg, Director
Bureau of Human Resources

AK/pjs


1The use of the words “or both” in the second sentence of § 814, sub-§ 2 means that the 15 days per deployment may be split, using part of the 15 days immediately before and the balance immediately after the deployment.  It does not mean that the employee is entitled to 15 days immediately before and 15 days immediately after the deployment.

2The legislation provides equivalency language, but a State employee will be returned to his/her former position.

3The legislation permits the negotiation of alternative arrangements to continue employee benefits during a Family Military Leave at the employer’s expense (for example, the employer continuing to pay health insurance as in Family Medical Leave or Voluntary Cost Savings Leave), but such an alternative arrangement is not currently in place.