Earned Paid Leave

Maine’s Earned Paid Leave law is in effect as of January 1st, 2021 (Public Law 2019 Ch. 156, “An Act Authorizing Earned Employee Leave”).

This law establishes a minimum standard for paid time off in the State of Maine. Covered employers must meet this minimum standard, but the law does not require an employer to limit or reduce existing paid time off benefits. Many employers may already have a paid time off policy that meets or exceeds the minimum requirements of this law.

It is a legal requirement for all employers to post Maine’s Regulation of Employment poster in all workplaces. The most current poster is under the Regulation of Employment Postersl

  • Effective on January 1st, 2021.
  • Includes all industries except for seasonal industries as defined by 26 M.R.S. sub-section 1251.
  • Applies to employers with more than 10 employees in Maine for more than 120 days in any calendar year. (See definition of Employer in 26 M.R.S. sub-section 1043 sec. 9.)
  • Employees accrue 1 hour of Earned Paid Leave for every 40 hours worked, up to 40 hours in a defined year.
  • Employees can use their accrued Earned Paid Leave for any reason such as an emergency, illness, sudden necessity, planned vacation, etc.
  • Employees can use up to 40 hours of leave in any defined year.    
  • Includes all employees: full-time, part-time, temporary, per diem, etc. 
  • Employees can bargain for, or employers can offer, a benefit of this nature that exceeds this standard. 
  • Employees can carry over up to 40 hours from one defined year to the next.
  • Employees may be required to give up to 4 weeks' advance notice to use earned paid leave for any reason other than an emergency, illness, or sudden necessity.
  • Employees are required to notify employers as soon as practicable if the use of Earned Paid Leave is for an emergency, illness, or sudden necessity.  
  • Employees covered by collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) as of 1/1/2021 are excluded until the CBA expires. Contracts negotiated after this date must include this benefit at a minimum.  
  • Employers may use their discretion to frontload Earned Paid Leave at the beginning of the year.
  • Salaried employees that are deemed “exempt” are presumed to work 40 hours per week unless there is an actual record of time worked. 
  • Employers can apply a 120-day wait period before new employees can use their accrued Earned Paid Leave.
  • At the separation of employment, employers that allow employees to use Earned Paid Leave before it is accrued may withhold from the last paycheck any amount that the employee had not yet accrued.

The Unemployment Insurance Commission has made determinations that certain industries are seasonal.

If the employer is within any such industry and the employer has submitted the required report to the Bureau of Unemployment Compensation setting forth the seasonal period for the applicable year, then the employees working only within that seasonal period will be exempt from coverage for Earned Paid Leave.

The Bureau has compiled lists of frequently asked questions and answers from the Earned Paid Leave listening sessions held in the Fall of 2019, public comments received on the proposed Rules, public webinar sessions in 2020, stakeholder meetings, and conversations among the Maine Department of Labor staff.

Frequently Asked Questions - General

Frequently Asked Questions - Schools

Frequently Asked Questions - Municipalities

Download the Frequently Asked Questions