Maine Paid Family and Medical Leave (ME PFML)
On July 11, 2023, Governor Mills signed a budget bill that included the creation of a mandated paid family and medical leave (PFML) program in Maine. Contributions to the program will begin on January 1, 2025 and benefit payments are targeted to begin May 1, 2026. The new law also allows for private plans. The insurance commission may establish rules to set standards for policies and other form submissions, which will be needed to understand the coordination of the new PFML benefits.
ME PFML allows employees to take leave for:
- Medical leave: an employee’s own serious health condition
- Organ donation
- Bonding leave: bonding with a child during the first year after the birth, adoption, or placement of the child
- Family care leave: caring for a family member with a serious health condition
- Military caregiver leave: caring for a family member who was injured or became sick due to their military service
- Qualifying exigency leave
- Safety leave: due to domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking of the employee or the employee’s covered family member
Coverage Options: Employers can participate in the state-run program, or they can self-insure or fully insure a private plan. MetLife will provide fully insured and self-insured coverage options.
Job Protection: The ME PFML coverage is job protected once the employee has worked 120 days for their employer. When applicable, a worker should request leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) concurrently.
- 12 weeks per benefit year for any one condition, or a combination of leaves.
- No more than 12 weeks total per year for combined leave types.
- Medical leave benefits are not payable during the first 7 calendar days of leave. An employee may be able to use accrued sick or vacation time, or other paid leave per a CBA/employer policy during the leave.
- Leaves can be taken on a continuous basis or intermittently of at least 8 hours, or on a reduced leave schedule as agreed to by the employee and employer.
- Maximum weekly benefit is equal to the state’s average weekly wage. Maine’s average weekly wage in 2023 is $1,103.71.
Contributions: Beginning January 1, 2025, ME PFML contributions will begin with quarterly payments sent to the state. The state may publish the contribution rate prior to the contribution start date. Per the statute, the rate cannot be more than 1% of wages, subject to the social security wage cap.
Contributions can be split 50/50 between the employer and the employee through payroll deduction, or the employer can choose to fund on behalf of their workforce. Employers with less than 15 employees may only need to submit the employee payroll deduction portion of the contribution.
- October 2023: The Maine state budget goes into effect, which authorizes work to begin on their PFML program.
- January 2024: Maine Department of Labor begins rulemaking process
- January 1, 2025:
- Initial rules necessary for implementation of the PFML program must be adopted by the Maine Department of Labor
- Contributions to the PFML fund will begin
- May 1, 2026: PFML benefits scheduled to begin
As of July 25, 2023