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Maine FMLA

All Employers

Maine's Family and Medical Leave Act applies to:

  • Private sector employers with 15 or more employees at one location within the state.
  • All state employers.
  • City, town and municipal agencies with 25 or more employees.
  • Any agent of an employer, the state, or a political subdivision of the state.

Employee Eligibility

Employees who have worked for the same employer for 12 consecutive months are may take up to 10 weeks of unpaid family medical leave in any two-year period. More or less leave may be negotiated between employee and employer. Family medical leave applies to domestic partner relationships as well as married couples. It is allowed in the following circumstances:

  • A serious health condition of the employee.
  • Birth of a child
  • Placement of a child 16 years of age or less with the employee for adoption.
  • Serious health condition of a child, parent, sibling, spouse or domestic partner.
  • Organ donation by employee.
  • The death or serious health condition of the employee's spouse, domestic partner, parent, sibling or child if the spouse, domestic partner, parent, sibling or child as a member of the state military forces, or the United States Armed Forces, including the National Guard and Reserves, dies or incurs a serious health condition while on active duty.

A " serious health condition " is an illness, injury, impairment or physical or mental condition that involves either inpatient care in a hospital, hospice or residential medial care facility or a condition that requires continuing treatment by a health care provider.

A "sibling" is defined as a sibling of an employee who is jointly responsible with employee for each other's common welfare as evidenced by joint financial and living arrangements.

Notice Requirement

Employers may require a 30 day notice of when leave with begin and end, unless impracticable.

Certification May Be Required

Certification to verify the leave request may be required by the employer. This can be from a physician or, if the employee relies on faith, prayer or spiritual means, from an accredited spiritual healer.

Intermittent Leave

Family and medical leave may be taken intermittently or on a reduced schedule. If intermittent leave is foreseeable, an employer may require the employee to take on a different work position in order to accommodate this type of leave.

Continuation of Benefits

Employees must be allowed to continue their employee benefits while on leave.

  • Continuation of benefits will be at employee's own expense.
  • Benefits include group life, health and disability insurance.
  • The employer may opt to continue to provide benefits for the employee while the employee is on leave at the employer's expense.
  • Employees taking family medical leave will not lose benefits accrued prior to leave.


When an employee returns to work after family/medical leave, he or she must be reinstated to the same or equivalent position including pay, benefits, schedule and other working conditions.

Paid Leave

Under 26 M.R.S. §636, certain employees may take paid leaver to care for an immediate family member who is ill.

In terms of the law, the following definitions are applied:

  • "Employer" – a public or private employer with 25 or more employees.
  • "Immediate family member" – an employee’s child, spouse or parent.
  • "Paid leave" – time away from work for which the employee receives compensation. Paid leave is limited to sick time, vacation time, and compensatory time and leave that is provided as an aggregate amount for use of any of these purposes. Paid leave does not include short or long-term disability, catastrophic leave or similar benefits. It only refers to paid leave that has been earned.
  • Employees covered by collective bargaining agreement are eligible unless the collective bargaining agreement provides equal or greater benefits than those provided by Maine's Family and Medical Leave Act.

Other provisions of paid leave:

  • Employers may limit the number of hours of paid leave, but the number must be no less than 40 hours a week for a 12-month period.
  • Unless there is a policy in place that mandates which type of paid leave and the amount of each type of paid leave an employee can use, an employee who receives more than one type of paid leave may decide which type of leave shall be used.
  • If an employee is taking leave due to his or her own illness, an employer may require written notice or verification of illness.
  • Employers may not discriminate in any way against an employee who decides to exercise his or her rights under this section.

Leave for Crime Victims
Paid or unpaid leave may be taken for employees who are the victim of a crime.This type of leave may be taken for:

Medical treatment to obtain legal assistance, prepare for and attend court; or to obtain necessary services to remedy a crisis caused by domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.

An employer may not take adverse employment action against an employee who is a crime victim when the employee is absent from work for the above reasons if the activity could not be scheduled outside of work hours. Employees should provide employer with reasonable notice of such leave.

Military Leave

Military leave is provided to employees performing active duty in the military reserve or National Guard.

  • This leave can be paid or unpaid, for the duration of service.
  • Employees are entitled to reinstatement to the same position and benefits upon return to work.
  • Employees must give reasonable notice of leave when possible.
  • Employees must provide confirmation of military duty if requested by employer.

Family Military Leave:

  • Employers with 15 or more employees must provide employees with 15 days of unpaid family military leave.
  • Family Military Leave may be used to visit a spouse, domestic partner, parents or child in active duty in the military during deployment or during 15 days immediately before or after deployment.

Employees are entitled to family leave if they have a spouse, domestic partner, parent or child who "dies or incurs a serious health condition" while on active duty.

Leave for Victims of Violence

Employers must grant family leave to employers who are victims of violence. Such leave is granted:

  • To prepare for court or attend court proceedings.
  • To receive medical treatment or attend medical treatment for a victim who is the employee's child, parent or spouse.
  • To obtain services to remedy a crisis caused by domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.

Employers are not required to grant such leave if :

  • The employee's absence will create an undue hardship;
  • The employee did not request leave within a reasonable amount of time.
  • The leave is impractical, unreasonable or unnecessary based on the facts provided to the employer at the that time.

State Employers

Sick Leave

State Employees may use their accrued sick leave for the following reasons:

  • ILnability to perform work duties.
  • Medical or dental care.
  •  exposure to contagious disease.
  • Illness or death in the immediate family.

"Immediate family" is defined as the employee's spouse, spouse's parents, the employee's guardian, child, brother, sister or a ward of the employee.

FMLA in Maine

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