Maine Family Leave
Maine Family Medical Leave Act
The Maine Family Medical Leave Act (MFMLA) is a state regulation that provides unpaid job protected leave to specific groups of workers. The statue is similar in many respects to its federal counterpart, the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), but with key differences. The Maine regulation is broader than the federal rule in four ways:
Paid Family Leave in Maine
Maine law does not provide for paid leave for all workers. Nor does the state have any mandated short term disability coverage.
The Maine Family Care Act extends paid leave benefits for the care of family members for those workers who have a negotiated time for their own leave. Workers have the right to use up to 40 hours per year of paid sick time to care for a sick child, spouse, or parent. Only workers in employer groups of 25 or more employees have this right. However, 40 hours of paid leave covers only one of the ten weeks of time away from the job. This stills means that 90% of the time away from work will be unpaid.
Unemployment insurance in Maine may be used if leave is taken to care for the illness or disability of an immediate family member. In this case benefits may last the entire span of job protected leave. This is a new law based upon incentives paid by the federal government. This still leaves a big hole for women on a disability leave. The best option is to purchase short term disability several months prior to conception.
Maine FMLA: Eligibility Guidelines
The Maine Family Medical Leave Act has eligibility guidelines that apply differently based upon the size and type of employer:
Your employee benefits such as health coverage, group life, group disability, etc. must be continued by your employer, but the premium costs will be at your expense. Many couples are shocked to find out how much employers contribute towards these premiums. Its a nasty surprise to get a big bill when you need the coverage most, while little or no money is coming in.
Maine Family Medical Leave & Federal FMLA
The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law, whereas the Maine Family Leave Act applies to Maine workers only. In general terms the federal regulation provides better job protection benefits, but to a more narrow population segment. If you qualify for both types of leave you must take them concurrently. Some key differences include:Sources: Maine Statutes 26: 843:849, Maine Equal Justice Partners