Governor Mills: Paid leave is a forward-looking policy that is good for our economy and good for our workforce because the people of Maine are our greatest asset.

May 31, 2019

Like most of you, I’ve known times when I was sick at work or had a sick child and had to leave work and take care of that child, or had some other type of emergency that has called me away from work.

It’s not something anybody wants to do, we value our jobs and people have a good work ethic here in Maine and we are proud of that.

But you know unexpected circumstances are just a fact of life – and that is exactly why these emergencies should not break the bank for working men and women in Maine.

Good morning, I am Governor Janet Mills. Thank you for listening.

So earlier this week, I signed bipartisan legislation to make Maine the first state in the nation to allow paid leave- not just sick leave- but paid leave for employees working for an employer with more than ten people.

Under this new law, businesses with more than ten employees will allow each person to earn one hour of paid leave for forty hours worked. That’s after you’ve worked there for four months. Employees have to give reasonable notice for their employers before taking leave of course.

Smaller businesses with fewer than ten employees and seasonal businesses which operate for less than six months- they’re exempt.

As a result of this new law, about 85 percent of working Maine men and women will now have access to paid leave. Meanwhile, more than 40,000 out of our state’s 50,792 businesses will not be impacted.

So we’re leaving the small businesses alone but providing paid leave to an enormous number of men and women in our workforce. This law provides economic and financial security to the vast majority of Maine working people while also appropriately balancing the legitimate needs and concerns of employers, especially small businesses.

This is important and it’s significant.

I think this forward-looking policy is good for our economy and it is good for the workforce because people of Maine are our greatest asset.

When we invest in them and when we support the people and the businesses who employ them – our economy succeeds.

I am proud to have negotiated and to have signed this bill into law along with Republican Senator Stacey Guerin and Democratic Senators Shenna Bellows and Rebecca Millett and many others on both sides of the aisle. It is a shining example I think of good governance.

It is good policy that resulted from lawmakers from both sides of the aisle negotiating and working together to find common ground – not everybody getting entirely what they want, but ultimately arriving at a product that takes meaningful steps forward for the people of Maine.

A bill that is understandable, simple in its terms, and easily implemented.

That’s how we can and should lead. It is how our state is leading the nation, and we are just getting started.

I am Governor Janet Mills. Thank you for listening.