It’s important to stay up to date on all of the employment laws in your state so that you can maintain compliance in your business. We did some of the hard work for you and put some of the most important Maine statutes in one place so you can either learn them for the first time or give yourself a refresher.
However, remember that our summary is not qualified legal advice, laws are always subject to change, and they can vary from municipality to municipality.
It’s up to you to make sure you’re compliant with all laws and statutes in your area. Consult with a qualified lawyer and/or your local government agencies if you have questions or concerns.
Here are a few Maine labor laws every small business owner should know.
First, here are a few helpful links and resources for you to bookmark and refer back to:
- Sick Days: Employers are not required to provide paid or unpaid sick leave but must comply with their own established policies if they choose to implement one.
- Medical Leave: Private employers with at least 15 employees at one location are required to provide eligible employees up to 10 weeks, which may be taken for the following:
- Serious health condition of the employer
- The birth of a child or the employee’s domestic partner’s child, or adoption or placement of a child with employee
- A child or family member with a serious health condition
- Donation of an organ
- Vacation Leave: Currently, employers are not required to provide paid or unpaid vacation leave but must comply with their own established policies if they choose to implement one.
- Employers can establish a policy denying a pay out of any accrued vacation time upon separation from employment.
- Employers can cap the amount of vacation time that may be accrued, and can also implement a “use-it-or-lose-it” policy that requires employees to use their leave by a set date.
- Effective January 1, 2021, employers with more than 10 employees will be required to provide employees with one hour of paid leave for every 40 hours worked, up to 40 hours per year. It can be used for any reason.
- Jury Duty: If an employee gives reasonable notice of their jury obligation, employers are not allowed to punish them for responding to the summons.
- They do not have to pay the employee for time spent responding to a jury summons.
- Holiday Leave: Private employers are not required to provide paid or unpaid time off for holidays.
- Voting Leave: No statute.
- Bereavement Leave: Employers are not required to provide bereavement leave.
Employees who separate from employment for any reason (whether they are terminated, quit or resign due to a labor dispute) must be paid all final wages by the next regularly scheduled payday or within two weeks of the employee’s demand for payment, whichever comes first.
- The current minimum wage is $11.
- The minimum wage will increase to $12 on January 1, 2020.
- On January 1, 2021, the minimum wage will begin increasing based on the cost of living increase for the prior year.
- The minimum wage for tipped employees is currently $5.50.
- Employers are allowed to establish a required tip pooling or sharing agreement as long as it complies with the federal Fair Labor Standards Act’s regulations.
- Minors 14 and 15 years of age may work:
- No more than 6 days in a row
- In between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. during the school year. The hours extend to 9 p.m. during summer break.
- A maximum of 3 hours on school days
- A maximum of 18 hours in any week that school is in session at least 1 day.
- No more than 8 hours a day when school is not in session.
- A maximum of 40 hours in any week when school is out the entire time.
- Minors 16 and 17 years of age may work:
- No more than 6 days in a row
- In between the hours of 7 a.m. and 10:15 p.m. when school is in session. They can work up to midnight any night when there is no school the next day.
- No more than 6 hours on school days, except they may work 8 hours on the last day of the school week
- A maximum of 10 hours on non-school days
- No more than 24 hours a week during school weeks, but 50 hours any week that approved school calendar is less than three days or during the first and last week of school calendar
- A maximum of 50 hours a week when school is not in session
Meal and Rest Breaks, Overtime
- Employers are required to pay non-exempt employees an overtime rate of 1 ½ their regular rate for all hours worked in a workweek in excess of 40.
- Employers must give employees who work 6 hours an unpaid rest break of 30 minutes if there are at least 3 people on duty.
- Employers can negotiate with their employees for more or less breaks, but it should be put in writing.
- The Maine Human Rights Act makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, age, physical or mental disability, genetic pre-disposition, religion, ancestry or national origin.
- The Maine Human Rights Act also prohibits discrimination because of filing a claim or asserting a right under the Worker’s Comp. Act or retaliation under the Whistleblower’s Act.
- Click here to read our blog on what acceptable and unacceptable questions to ask during an interview.
Maine is an employment-at-will state, which means that without a written employee contract, employees can be terminated for any reason at any time, provided that the reason is not discriminatory and that the employer is not retaliating against the employee for a rightful action.
There is currently no law regarding shift scheduling in Maine.