An Act To Provide Economic Security to Maine Families through the Creation of a Paid Family Medical Leave System
Sec. 1. 26 MRSA §843, sub-§1-A is enacted to read:
Sec. 2. 26 MRSA §843, sub-§3-A is enacted to read:
Sec. 3. 26 MRSA §843, sub-§4, ¶D, as repealed and replaced by PL 2007, c. 519, §1, is amended to read:
Sec. 4. 26 MRSA §843, sub-§4, ¶F, as amended by PL 2007, c. 519, §2, is further amended to read:
Sec. 5. 26 MRSA §843, sub-§4-B, as enacted by PL 2007, c. 233, §1, is repealed.
Sec. 6. 26 MRSA §843, sub-§8, as enacted by PL 2007, c. 519, §3, is amended to read:
Sec. 7. 26 MRSA §844, sub-§4 is enacted to read:
Sec. 8. 26 MRSA §844-A is enacted to read:
§ 844-A. Family medical leave
(1) Has equivalent pay and benefits; and
(2) Better accommodates recurring periods of leave than the regular employment position of the employee.
Sec. 9. 26 MRSA §1082, sub-§15 is enacted to read:
Sec. 10. 26 MRSA §1167 is enacted to read:
§ 1167. Family Medical Leave Fund
Sec. 11. Department of Labor to develop implementation plan for family medical leave program; report. The Department of Labor shall develop a plan to implement the family medical leave program under the Maine Revised Statutes, section 844-A, referred to in this section as "the program." The plan must include elements necessary for implementation of the program, including:
1. Staffing and technology needed to operate the program;
2. Rulemaking required to implement the program;
3. Initial start-up costs to begin the program;
4. With the assistance of a 3rd-party actuary or other qualified person, determine the initial rate of contribution necessary to properly administer the program;
5. A timeline that schedules implementation benchmarks to meet the program's effective date of October 1, 2019; and
6. Any recommended legislation, including a provision to allocate or appropriate $150,000 or another amount the department determines appropriate to the Family Medical Leave Fund under Title 26, section 1167, to provide for start-up expenses.
The Department of Labor shall submit the plan required under this section to the Joint Standing Committee on Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development no later than October 1, 2018.
This bill creates a paid family medical leave program, patterned after the unpaid family medical leave program existing in current law but requiring a contribution from an eligible employee, or a self-employed person on a voluntary basis, of no more than 0.5% of the employee's or self-employed person's wages or earnings. The program requires employers to deduct the contributions from employee paychecks and for the employers and self-employed persons to submit contributions to the Department of Labor, Bureau of Unemployment Compensation, which is charged with administering the program. The program pays benefits of up to 66% of an employee's wages or self-employed person's earnings capped at the same maximum amount as unemployment benefits for leave taken by the employee or self-employed person for various family-related medical issues. This bill makes participation optional for employers that employ fewer than 15 employees. This bill also directs the Department of Labor to develop an implementation plan dealing with staffing, technology, start-up expense, rulemaking and scheduling to begin the program on its effective date of October 1, 2019.