Paid Family Medical Leave Updates
This Thursday, Maine legislators will hold a Public Hearing on the Paid Family Medical Leave (PFML) bill (LD 1964), which would offer up to 12 weeks of paid leave to employees in Maine who demonstrate a qualifying need.
The hearing is scheduled for Thursday, May 25th at 1pm before the Labor and Housing Committee.
Tune in tomorrow to MANP’s webinar on Wednesday, May 24th at 2pm to hear directly from the bill’s sponsors and pose questions.
With a caveat that things are moving quckly, here's the latest we know based on a draft amendment of the bill (for reference, here is the original proposal on the table). The draft amendment includes:
- Allowance for up to 12 weeks annually of paid family and medical leave for all employees in Maine. (This is a reduction from the original language, which included a 12-week maximum for a single qualifying event, but a 16-week total annual maximum.)
- The weekly benefit amount would replace between 75%-90% of the employee’s weekly wage, up to a maximum of 100% of the state's average weekly wage (currently $1,036.13).
- It would allow an employee to take leave for their own medical issue, to care for a family member, or to care for someone with whom the employee has a "significant personal bond" or one that is “like a family relationship.” It would also allow an individual to take safe leave. "Safe leave" means any leave taken because the covered individual or the covered individual's family member is a victim of violence, assault, sexual assault, stalking or any act that would support an order for protection.
- An employer may utilize a private plan instead of participating in the Paid Family Medical Leave program. To do so, the employer must apply to the administrator for approval. In order to be approved, a private plan must confer all of the same rights, protections and benefits provided to employees as the State’s plan.
- Independent contractors and self-employed individuals could participate.
- The funds for administrative costs and payment of benefits come from payroll contributions of no more than 1% of wages shared by employers and employees, except that employers with fewer than 15 employees are not required to make employer contributions to the program. The percent of payroll contributions could vary from year to year, but would not exceed 1%.
- Employers with 15 or more employees would be required to preserve the employee’s job upon their return. Employers with fewer than 15 employees could be exempt from preserving the employee’s job, if it would impose an undue hardship on the employer.
- Payroll contributions would begin on January 1, 2025 and benefit claims would begin on May 1, 2026.
- Administration of the program by a private third party empowered to adjust benefit amounts and payroll contribution rates, overseen by an authority of 13 Board members from varied backgrounds.
Again, tune into our webinar on Wednesday, May 24th at 2pm to hear directly from the bill’s sponsors, and get a chance to ask them any questions you may have about the bill.
Remember, as a 501c3 nonprofit, your organization cannot participate in partisan politics - or favor one political party over another - but you can (and should!) lobby on issues that matter to your organization. Our Raise Your Voice toolkit has more information on the ins and outs of lobbying for charitable nonprofits.
If you would like to submit testimony on this bill, you can do so here. If you have any additional questions, you can contact our Public Affairs Manager, Mary Alice Scott, at MAScott@nonprofitmaine.org