Like employers in every state, Maine employers must follow the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which allows eligible employees to take unpaid leave, with the right to reinstatement, for certain reasons.
Maine law also gives employees additional leave rights, as explained below. Employees are entitled to the protections of all applicable laws; if more than one law applies, the employee may use the most beneficial provisions.
Federal FMLA Rights
Maine employees who are eligible may take up to 12 weeks of leave for serious health conditions, bonding with a new child, or preparation for a family member's military service; more leave is available for employees who need to care for a family member who was seriously injured on active military duty. For detailed information on FMLA leave, see Taking Family and Medical Leave.
Who Is Covered?
Maine employers are subject to the FMLA if they have at least 50 employees for at least 20 weeks in the current or previous year.
Employees are eligible for FMLA leave if:
- they have worked for the company for at least a year
- they worked at least 1,250 hours during the previous year, and
- they work at a location with at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius.
Reasons for Leave
FMLA leave is available if an employee needs time off to:
- bond with a new child
- recuperate from a serious health condition
- care for a family member with a serious health condition
- handle qualifying exigencies arising out of a family member’s military service, or
- care for a family member who suffered a serious injury during active duty in the military. (You can find more information on these last two types of leave in Military Family Leave for Employees.)
How Much Leave Is Available?
Maine employees may take up to 12 weeks of leave in a 12-month period for a serious health condition, bonding with a new child, or qualifying exigencies. This leave is available every 12 months, as long as the employee continues to meet the eligibility requirements explained above.
Employees may take up to 26 weeks of leave in a single 12-month period for military caregiver leave. However, this is a per-injury, per-service member entitlement. Unless the same family member is injured again, or another family member suffers an injury while on active duty, an employee may not take additional leave for this purpose.
Leave and Reinstatement Rights
Employees are entitled to continue their health insurance while on leave, at the same cost they must pay while working. FMLA leave is unpaid, but employees may be allowed (or required) to use their accrued paid leave during FMLA leave.
When an employee’s FMLA leave ends, the employee is entitled to be reinstated to the same or an equivalent position, with a few exceptions.
Maine Family and Medical Leave Laws
In addition to the rights granted by the FMLA, Maine employees have the right, under state law, to take time off for certain family and medical reasons.
Maine Family and Medical Leave
Employers with more than 15 employees must give eligible employees up to ten weeks off in a two-year period for:
- the birth or adoption of a child
- the employee’s own serious health condition
- caring for a family member with a serious health condition organ donation
- the death or serious health condition of a family member while on active duty.
Family members include domestic partners, children of domestic partners, and siblings.
Military Family Leave
Employers with at least 15 employees must provide at least 15 days of leave, per deployment, to eligible employees who are the spouse, domestic partner, or parent of a state resident deployed for military service lasting more than 180 days. Employees may take leave:
- during the 15 days prior to the family member’s deployment
- during the family member’s deployment, if the family member is granted leave, or
- for 15 days following the period of deployment.
Domestic Violence Leave in Maine
All employers must give eligible employees who have been a victim of violence, assault, sexual assault, stalking, or domestic violence (or whose parent, spouse, or child has been a victim) reasonable and necessary leave to:
- prepare for and attend court proceedings
- receive medical treatment or attend to medical treatment for a victim who is the employee’s child, spouse, or parent, or
- obtain necessary services to deal with a crisis caused by domestic violence, stalking, or sexual assault.
For More Information
You can find information on these Maine leave laws at the website of the Maine Department of Labor.