Efforts to implement a mandatory paid sick leave law in Maine are taking shape. On one hand, there is the promise of a statewide referendum ballot question that will require employers to provide paid sick leave. Before that happens, the Maine Legislature can pass a bill that accomplishes the same goal, negating the need for the referendum. LD 369 has been introduced and we would encourage members to read the bill and reflect on its impact to Maine businesses and the Maine economy. A link to the bill can be found HERE.
There were many differing views expressed at the Public hearing about the important balance between the needs of workers and the needs of businesses. Recognizing the uncertainty of the referendum, the business community attempted to negotiate in good faith to address legitimate concerns about the impact of the legislation on Maine’s small businesses. Below are just a few of the details that separate the supporters of LD 369 and the members of the business community looking for a compromise. These are by no means the only issues outlined in the bill, only those that were the subject of negotiation at the legislature:
|LD 369 (Proposed Bill)||Business Community Compromise|
|Businesses Impacted||More than 5 employees||15 or more employees to coincide with FMLA threshold|
|Preemption||Municipalities can pass local ordinance more generous than State law||State law would govern paid sick leave, encouraging consistency and clarity for employers and employees.|
|Sick Leave Accrual||1 hr sick leave for every 30 hrs worked – employer can cap at 40 hrs.||1 hr sick leave for every 50 hrs worked.|
|Accrued Sick Leave Use||Employee can use paid sick leave after 90 days of employment.||Employee can use paid sick leave after 150 days of employment to account for possible impacts on famers, tourism and those who rely on the dependability of seasonal workers.|
|Penalties||Rebuttable presumption (a violation is presumed if adverse personnel action is taken);
Civil violation fines ($1,000 for benefits violation, $100 for posting requirement violation);
Private right of action (allowing civil lawsuits).
|Civil violation fines ($1,000 for benefits violation, $100 for posting requirement violation);
NO rebuttable presumption.
NO private right of action.
|Per Diem Healthcare Workers||Eligible for sick leave||Exempt from sick leave because they choose when they want to work and sick leave should not apply|
|Definition of Family Member||Very broad, includes “Any other individual related by blood or affinity whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.”||Define as immediate family members only.|
|Teen Workers||Eligible for sick leave||Unless legally emancipated, youths under the age of 18 should be exempt.|
So what can you do? Contact your elected officials and let them know how this bill, combined with the multitude of other cost-increasing proposals introduced so far this legislative session, will impact your company and your employees.
To find your State Senator, click HERE or call (207)287-1583
To find your State Representative, click HERE or call (207)287-1400
To contact Governor Mills, click HERE or call (207)287-3531