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.

The following information is general guidance based on hypothetical scenarios. It is not legal advice on any specific situation.

Individual cases must be analyzed and decided by the Bureau of Labor Standards (BLS).

Click on any of the drop downs listed below to view the general FAQs listed.

Calculating the Base Rate of Pay

Answer: The Earned Paid Leave law states that earned leave must be paid at least the same base rate of pay that the employee received immediately before taking earned leave and that employees must receive the same benefits as those provided under established policies of the employer pertaining to other types of paid leave.
The Rules define the base rate of pay as follows:

The base rate of pay for purposes of earned paid leave required by this statute is identical to the regular rate of pay defined in section 26 MRS § 664(3). The base rate will be calculated by reference to the week immediately prior to the leave taken.

The section of the Minimum Wage statute that defines the regular rate of pay applies to non-exempt employees only. Salaried exempt employees are paid a predetermined fixed amount, so their base rate of pay is the hourly equivalent of their salary.

The base rate of pay for nonexempt employees is calculated by dividing the total straight-time earnings for the week, which includes any additional compensation included in the definition of the regular rate, by the total hours worked.

26 MRS § 664 (3) establishes that the regular hourly rate includes all earnings, bonuses, commissions, and other compensation that is paid or due based on actual work performed and does not include any sums excluded from the definition of “regular rate” under the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 USC, section 207(e).

NOTE: Half-time wages associated with overtime pay is excluded from the definition of “regular rate” and therefore not included in the base rate calculation.

Answer: The base rate of pay is determined by looking at the most recent week worked by a per diem employee. The total earnings from that week, divided by the total hours worked will equal the base rate of pay.

Answer: The base rate of pay is calculated by dividing the total earnings for the week by the total hours worked.
For example: If you worked 15 hours at $13.00 per hour and 25 hours at $15.00 per hour the week before using your Earned Paid Leave, your base rate will be calculated as follows:

15 hours X $13 = $195 25 hours X $15 = $375
Total earnings = $570

$570 ÷ 40 hours = $14.25 per hour base rate of pay.

Answer: If all rates of pay are based on the tip credit then your base rate of pay is actually minimum wage. Example: Employee works in the following positions during the week.

Server at $6.08 per hour plus tips
Host at $7.00 per hour plus tips
Bartender at $10.00 per hour plus tips

As long as your direct wages and tips received when combined at the end of the week total at least minimum wage, then your base rate of pay is minimum wage.

Answer: Bonuses and Commissions are factored into the base rate for non-exempt employees only. However, only the amount associated with the week immediately prior to the employee using Earned Paid Leave will apply. For example, if the employee is paid on a weekly basis and the bonus or commission is also paid on a weekly basis, then the total amount of the bonus or commission will apply to that week. If the bonus or commission payment is deferred (i.e., paid on a monthly, quarterly, annual, or other specific timeframes) then the bonus or commission can be prorated to a weekly amount.

Example 1:
Employee worked 40 hours at $15 per hour = $600
Employee received a weekly bonus of $100.
Total earnings for the week are $600 + $100 = $700
$700 ÷ 40 hours = $17.50 base rate.

Example 2:
Employee worked 40 hours at $15 per hour = $600
Employee received a monthly bonus of $100. (in this example the bonus applies to a month with 30 days)
$100 ÷ 30 days = $3.33 per day x 7 days in the week = $23.31 bonus applies to one week
Total earnings for the week are $600 + $23.31 = $623.31
$623.31 ÷ 40 hours = $15.58 base rate.