2017 Labor Law Update

128th Maine Legislature – First Regular Session
Summary of DOL-Related Legislation

An Act To Provide a Career and Technical Education Training Option for Plumbers (LD 37, PL 2017 Ch. 4). This allows the Plumbers' Examining Board to issue a journeyman-in-training license to a person who provides the board with satisfactory evidence of completion of a plumbing course at a career and technical education program as a secondary student. 
Statutory title affected: 32 MRSA  3501, sub- 2,  B 
Law effective date: November 1, 2017

An Act To Delay the Implementation of Certain Portions of the Marijuana Legalization Act (LD 88, PL 2017, Ch. 1). This bill delays the effective date of most of the provisions of the Marijuana Legalization Act as enacted by citizen initiative to February 1, 2018. The bill strikes the definition of "cannabis" from the Marijuana Legalization Act. It amends the definition of "marijuana" and adds a definition of "marijuana concentrate."  It adds a provision to the Marijuana Legalization Act that prohibits a person from possessing more than 5 grams of marijuana concentrate as part of the 2 1/2 ounces of marijuana that a person may already legally possess under the Act.  It strikes a provision in the bill that, prior to February 1, 2018, limited personal marijuana consumption to a private residence. It provides that personal marijuana consumption by a person 21 years of age or older may occur only in a private residence or on private property with permission of the owner. It further provides that consumption may not occur in a motor vehicle or in a private residence that is used as a day care or baby-sitting service during the hours of operation.

For the purpose of adopting major substantive rules relating to the retail framework under the Marijuana Legalization Act, which are required to be submitted within 9 months of the effective date of the Act, the bill allows the Commissioner of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry to delegate rule-making authority to the Commissioner of Administrative and Financial Services or the Commissioner of Public Safety if the Commissioner of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry determines that the expertise and resources of those other departments would be beneficial in the development of the rules.

The bill also provides that possession of marijuana is a civil violation for a person who is 18, 19 or 20 years of age. The penalty for possession of up to 1 1/4 ounces of marijuana is a fine no less than $350 to no more than $600. The penalty for possession of up to 2 1/2 ounces is a fine of no less than $700 and no more than $1,000. These penalties are the same as those that were in law for any non-juvenile prior to being repealed by Initiated Bill 2015, chapter 5. Finally, the bill provides that it is a juvenile crime under the Maine Juvenile Code for a person under 18 years of age to possess marijuana and makes a corresponding technical cross-reference change.
Statutory titles affected: 7 MRSA  2442, sub- 5, sub- 22, and sub- 34; 7 MRSA  2443; 7 MRSA  2444, sub- 2; 7 MRSA  2445, first  ; 7 MRSA  2446, sub- 5; 7 MRSA  2447, first  ; 7 MRSA  2448, sub- 19; 7 MRSA  2449, sub- 6; 7 MRSA  2450, first  ; 7 MRSA  2451, first  ; 7 MRSA  2452, sub- 1; 7 MRSA  2452, sub- 5; 7 MRSA  2452, sub-  6 and 7; 7 MRSA  2453, sub- 4; 7 MRSA  2454, sub- 5; 15 MRSA  3103, sub- 1,  B; 22 MRSA  2383, sub- 1-A; and 36 MRSA  1817, sub- 8
Law effective dateJanuary 27, 2017 (submitted as emergency legislation)

An Act To Restore the Tip Credit to Maine's Minimum Wage Law (LD 637, PL 2017, Ch. 272). This bill restores the tip credit to the minimum wage laws and makes additional changes to current law including: clarifying that for purposes of the tip credit, wages must be measured in the context of the 7-day workweek; clarifying that an employer may not deduct any amount from employee tips charged to a credit card, including, but not limited to, service fees assessed to the employer in connection with the credit card transaction.

It adopts the current requirements in federal law, found at 29 Code of Federal 6 Regulations, Section 531.54 and 29 Code of Federal Regulations, Section 531.59(b), 7 requiring an employer to provide notice to employees affected by the employer’s use of a tip credit and the employer’s use of a tip pooling arrangement. 
Statutory title affected: 26 MRSA  664, sub- 2
Law effective date: November 1, 2017

An Act To Increase Fines for Certain Wage and Benefits Violations (LD 1004, PL 2017, Ch. 268).  This bill requires the Department of Labor to issue an annual report to the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over labor matters concerning complaints received by the department regarding violations of state wage and hour laws that resulted in final action by the department. 
Statutory title affected: 26 MRSA  673 
Law effective date:  November 1, 2017

An Act To Conform the State Workforce Board and Workforce Development Programs to the Federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (LD 1360, PL 2017, Ch. 110).  This bill replaces all references to the federal Workforce Investment Act of 1998 with the federal reauthorization of that act, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, and changes the name of the State Workforce Investment Board to the State Workforce Board. The bill updates the duties and responsibilities of the State Workforce Board to conform to those articulated in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. It changes the reporting requirements to the Legislature to ensure the Legislature receives the same outcome measurements and expenditure information as is reported to the Federal Government under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. Finally, it requires the Center for Workforce Research and Information within the Department of Labor to publish annually a list of high-priority occupations that meet certain specified criteria, which is the same process used to create the list of high-wage, in-demand jobs produced by the Center for Workforce Research and Information and used by the Competitive Skills Scholarship Program.
Statutory titles affected5 MRSA  1507, sub- 5-A; 5 MRSA  1737, sub- 4; 12 MRSA  1891-A; 20-A MRSA  8601-A, sub- 14,  C; 20-A MRSA  12542, sub- 6,  B; 20-A MRSA  12704, sub- 2,  D; 22 MRSA  3789-D, sub- 2,  F; 26 MRSA  1192, sub- 6-E; 26 MRSA  1198, sub- 2,  J; 26 MRSA  1401-A, sub- 2,  I; 26 MRSA  2001, sub-  4 and 5; 26 MRSA  2003; 26 MRSA  2004-A; 26 MRSA  2006, sub- 1, sub- 2, sub- 4, sub- 5-B,  C and sub- 7,  A; 26 MRSA  2007; 26 MRSA  2023, sub- 1,  C; 26 MRSA  2033, sub- 4,  A; 26 MRSA  2171-A, sub- 1; 26 MRSA  3101; 26 MRSA  3101-A; 26 MRSA  3209, sub- 1,  B and  sub- 4,  C; 26 MRSA  3302, sub-  3 and 4; 26 MRSA  3303, sub- 1 and sub- 5; 26 MRSA  3304, sub- 1,  G and sub- 2,  B; 26 MRSA  3305, sub- 2,  D; 35-A MRSA  10104, sub- 9.
Law effective date: November 1, 2017 

An Act Regarding State Hiring and Retention for Persons with Disabilities (LD 1361, PL 2017, Ch. 261). This bill creates a preference in state hiring that grants an interview to a person with a disability who is eligible for the Ticket to Work and Self-Sufficiency Program under the federal Social Security Act and who meets the minimum qualifications for the position and to a person who has been determined by a qualified professional to have a disability and who meets the minimum qualifications for the position. If the person is not selected for the position, the Department of Administrative and Financial Services, Bureau of Human Resources must provide guidance to the person regarding other available state positions, including opportunities in the bureau's special appointment program for which the person might qualify. The bureau may also refer the person to the Department of Labor, Bureau of Rehabilitation Services for vocational rehabilitation services.  The bill provides that in any reduction in personnel in the state service, employees who are eligible for the Ticket to Work and Self-Sufficiency Program or who are persons with disabilities must be retained in preference to all other competing employees in the same classification with equal seniority, status and performance reviews. 
Statutory title affected5 MRSA  7054-C
Law effective date:  November 1, 2017

An Act To Update the Operations of the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services and To Conform to the Federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014
(LD 1362, PL 2017, Ch. 111).  The purpose of this bill is to amend the definitions and service descriptions of the Department of Labor, Bureau of Rehabilitation Services in order to conform with the reauthorization of the federal Rehabilitation Services Administration through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014. It eliminates the use of the term "disadvantaged individuals" and repeals provisions of law regarding personal care services because such services are not provided by the bureau. 
Statutory titles affected: 26 MRSA  1411-A, sub- 1, sub- 1-A, sub- 2, sub- 3,  A, sub- 3,  D, sub- 4, sub- 5 and sub- 6; 26 MRSA  1411-D; 26 MRSA  1412-B; 26 MRSA  1414, sub- 1; and, 26 MRSA c. 19, sub-c. 2, art. 4 
Law effective date: November 1, 2017

An Act To Coordinate and Enforce Existing Workplace Training Requirements
(LD 1477, PL 2017, Ch. 162). This bill provides that the Maine Human Rights Commission may provide its sexual harassment workplace poster at no cost to employers, instead of being required to do so.  It replaces the requirement that the Maine Human Rights Commission provide employers with a training guide and instead directs the Department of Labor to develop a compliance checklist and post it on the department's website. Employers must use the checklist to develop their required sexual harassment training program. Employers must keep a record of the training, including a record of employees who have received the required training, must maintain training records for 3 years and must make such records available to the department for inspection. It also removes the provision that would have prevented the Maine Human Rights Commission from challenging a determination or completed enforcement action by the Department of Labor related to the sexual harassment training requirements and provides that such actions do not limit or affect the authority or jurisdiction of the commission. 
Statutory titles affected: 26 MRSA  806, sub- 1-A and 26 MRSA  807 
Law effective date: November 1, 2017

An Act To Amend the Laws Governing Unemployment Compensation (LD 1530, PL 2017, Ch. 117). The purpose of this bill is to bring consistency to Maine's employment security law and bring it into compliance with changes in federal law. The bill:

  1. Repeals outdated provisions;
  2. Provides that nominal fees or stipends paid to a volunteer are excluded from the definition of wages and specifies that a volunteer does not meet the definition of "employee";
  3. Clarifies the status of workers with specific disabilities who are not eligible for unemployment in order to be consistent with changes to state and federal wage and hour laws;
  4. Reflects changes to a program name in the federal law;
  5. Specifies that unemployment benefits will not be awarded to an employee during a mutually agreed-upon leave or sabbatical leave from the employee's employer;
  6. Provides that a reduction in hours initiated by the employee and agreed upon by the employee and employer does not qualify the employee for unemployment benefits;
  7. Amends the requalification amount specified under the provision governing absence from work due to incarceration so as to align with the requalification amount specified in provisions governing discharge from work due to misconduct;
  8. Amends the definition of "intermittent employment" to specify that employees
    who have the same reduction in hours of work each year due to the cyclical nature of their employers' business are not eligible for work-sharing benefits; and
  9. Specifies that an employer's experience rating may not be charged when an employee has requested an unpaid, voluntary reduction in hours.
    Statutory titles affected26 MRSA  1043, sub- 2, sub- 11,  F, sub- 19; 26 MRSA  1192, sub- 6-E, sub- 13; 26 MRSA  1193, sub- 1,  A,  C and  D, sub- 7-A; 26 MRSA  1198, sub- 1,  F and sub- 2,  J; and, 26 MRSA  1221, sub- 3,  A
    Law effective date: November 1, 2017

An Act To Conform State Law to Federal Law While Promoting Safe Working Environments for Minors (LD 1564, PL 2017, Ch. 286).  This bill amends laws relating to minors 14 and 15 years of age to allow them to work in bowling alleys and movie theaters and to clarify their employment in bakeries, hotels and rooming houses. It updates a provision regarding work permits for minors by deleting language dealing with triplicate permits and a master permit system and allowing for use of electronic permit submission and approval. It moves the occupational restrictions for minors 16 and 17 years of age to the section with occupational restrictions for minors 14 and 15 years of age. It also clarifies that graduates of vocational programs who are under 18 years of age can work in the occupations for which they were trained.
Statutory titles affected: 26 MRSA  771; 26 MRSA  772, sub- 2; 26 MRSA  773; 26 MRSA  773-A; 26 MRSA  774, sub- 1; 26 MRSA  775, sub- 4, sub- 5 and sub- 6; 26 MRSA  777; 26 MRSA  781, sub- 2; and 39-A MRSA  408, sub-  1 and 2
Law effective date: July 9, 2017 (emergency preamble)

An Act To Update the Statutes Governing the Bureau of Labor Standards To Promote Clarity for Workers and Employers (LD 1575, PL 2017, Ch. 219).  This bill makes the following changes to the labor laws:

  1. It requires posters regarding video display terminal safety and minimum wage and overtime requirements to be posted in the same location as other posters required by the Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Standards and establishes a penalty structure for violations of the posting requirements within the section of law requiring posting.
  2. As part of conditions of employment, it adds that it does not prohibit an employer or an agent of an employer from offering a voluntary wellness program that offers incentives for the cessation of use of tobacco products in compliance with applicable federal regulations.
  3. It amends the law regarding rest breaks to clarify the differences between paid rest breaks and unpaid lunch breaks.
  4. It amends the exemption from rest breaks for those employees who have frequent rest breaks during the work day to specify that the exemption only applies if the rest breaks are paid rest breaks and of shorter duration than the 30 minutes otherwise required.
  5. It amends the law regarding timing of payment of wages to specify that payments must be made on the next business day when the payment date occurs on a day when the business is closed. The bill prohibits an employer from increasing any pay interval without providing notice to its employees.
  6. It removes the "reasonable time" requirement and instead specifies that when an employee leaves employment, that employee must be paid on the next established payday. The bill also specifies that payment of vacation is payable only in accordance with the employer's established policy or practice.
  7. It repeals the exemption from the minimum wage and overtime laws for an individual employed as a switchboard operator in a public telephone exchange that has less than 750 stations.
  8. It clarifies the intent of the Legislature, to conform with federal law, that the distribution of certain products is exempt from the provisions governing overtime pay. It amends the 1995 law by reordering the series of exempt tasks for the purpose of eliminating any perceived ambiguity.
  9. It repeals the definition of "hotel" for purposes of the subchapter on minimum wage since the term is not used in that subchapter.
  10. It repeals and reallocates the provisions of the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 26, chapter 7, subchapter 4, article 1 regarding the application of the subchapter, record of work hours of minors and penalties.
  11. It updates the safety standard for inspection of firefighters' breathing apparatus to require that the inspection procedure follow the procedure specified in the manufacturer's operation manual.

Statutory titles affected: 26 MRSA  41; 26 MRSA  42-B, sub- 1 and sub- 3; 26 MRSA  44, first  ; 26 MRSA  46, 6th  ; 26 MRSA  597; 26 MRSA  60; 26 MRSA  621-A, sub- 1 and sub- 2; 26 MRSA  622; 26 MRSA  626, first   and last  ; 26 MRSA  663, sub- 3,  H and sub- 9; 26 MRSA  664, sub- 3,  F; 26 MRSA  668; 26 MRSA c. 7, sub-c. 4, art. 1; 26 MRSA  774, sub- 7; and, 26 MRSA  2105, first   
Law effective date:  November 1, 2017

An Act To Promote Workforce Education Attainment (LD 1575, PL 2017, Ch. 259).
This bill adds supporting an attainment goal of increasing the percent of working-age adults holding a high-value certificate, college degree, vocational education or other
industry-recognized credential to 60% by 2025 with a focus on meeting future workforce needs to the list of responsibilities of the State Workforce Investment Board. The board may seek information from the Maine Workforce and Education Coalition in regards to an attainment goal. It also directs the Workforce Investment Board to track the State's progress toward the attainment goal and to annually report on the progress to the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over education and cultural affairs and the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over labor,
business, research and economic development matters. 
Statutory titles affected: 26 MRSA  2006, sub- 1,   I and J; 26 MRSA  2006, sub- 1,  K
Law effective date: November 1, 2017