On July 11, 2023, Maine became the 13th state to enact a paid family and medical leave law. The law provides up to 12 weeks of paid leave beginning May 1, 2026. A payroll tax of one percent, split evenly between employer and employee, begins January 1, 2025.
Employers subject to law
Employer means any person, corporation, association, or business entity that employs employees in Maine including the state and local governments. Employer does not include the federal government.
A covered employee is one who has earned at least six times the state average weekly wage in a base period. Base period means the first four calendar quarters immediately preceding the first day of the benefit year.
The benefit year is the 12-month period starting on the first day of the calendar week right before the date family or medical leave benefits begin.
Amount and reasons for leave
Beginning May 1, 2026, a covered employee is eligible to receive up to 12 weeks of medical leave for one’s own serious health condition, or up to 12 weeks of family leave for a qualifying military exigency, safety leave, family care, or baby bonding, not to exceed a total of 12 weeks in the same benefit year.
A family member includes a biological, adopted, foster or stepchild, spouse or domestic partner, parent or legal guardian, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, or an individual with whom the covered employee has a significant personal bond that is like a family relationship, regardless of biological or legal relationship.
Beginning May 1, 2026, a covered employee is eligible for weekly wage replacement benefits as follows:
- Individual’s average weekly wage that is equal to or less than 50% of state average weekly wage, 90% wage replacement, and
- Individual’s average weekly wage that is more than 50% of state average weekly wage, 66% wage replacement up to the maximum weekly benefit.
Medical leave benefits are subject to a 7-day waiting period.
An individual that returns from leave and has been employed for at least 120 days prior to taking leave must be returned to the same or equivalent position. An individual must be allowed to continue health coverage during the leave in the same manner and at the same level as though the individual was actively working.
The paid leave program will be funded through a payroll tax beginning January 1, 2025.The payroll tax will be split 50/50 between employers and employees and capped at one percent of the employee’s wages up to the Social Security wage base. Employers with 15 or fewer employees will be exempt from paying the employer’s share of the payroll tax.
An employee shall give reasonable notice of the need for leave, unless unforeseeable. Leave must be scheduled to prevent undue hardship on the employer as reasonably determined by the employer.
Employers shall post in a conspicuous place in each workplace, a notice provided by the Department of Labor. The notice shall be posted in English and each language that is the primary language of 3 or more employees, if such notice is available from the department.
The employer shall also provide written notice to employees within 30 days of employment of the paid family and medical leave benefits available, including the right to reinstatement and continuation of health insurance, the employee’s contribution amount, and instructions on how to file a claim for benefits.
An employer may apply for approval of a private paid leave plan with the Department of Labor. A private plan must confer all of the same rights, protections, and benefits provided to employees under the state plan. If the private plan is in the form of self-insurance, the employer must furnish a bond to the State with a surety company authorized to transact business in Maine.
Coordination with other leave laws
Paid Family and Medical Leave runs concurrently with FMLA, if applicable.
The information contained in this Benefit Beat is not intended to be legal, accounting, or other professional advice, nor are these comments directed to specific situations. This information is provided as general guidance and may be affected by changes in law or regulation. This information is not intended to replace or substitute for accounting or other professional advice. You must consult your own attorney or tax advisor for assistance in specific situations. This information is provided as-is, with no warranties of any kind. CBIZ shall not be liable for any damages whatsoever in connection with its use and assumes no obligation to inform the reader of any changes in laws or other factors that could affect the information contained herein.