An Act To Support Healthy Workplaces and Healthy Families by Providing Earned Paid Sick Leave to Certain Employees
Sec. 1. 26 MRSA §626, first ¶, as amended by PL 2017, c. 219, §11, is further amended to read:
An employee leaving employment must be paid in full no later than the employee's next established payday. Any overcompensation may be withheld if authorized under section 635 and any loan or advance against future earnings or wages may be deducted if evidenced by a statement in writing signed by the employee. Whenever the terms of employment or the employer's established practice includes provisions for paid vacations, vacation pay on cessation of employment has the same status as wages earned. Sick leave accrued pursuant to section 637 or section 638 does not have the same status as wages earned.
Sec. 2. 26 MRSA §636, sub-§2, as enacted by PL 2005, c. 455, §1, is amended to read:
Sec. 3. 26 MRSA §§637 and 638 are enacted to read:
§ 637. Earned paid sick leave
An employer that employs more than 5 employees shall provide to each employee earned paid sick leave as provided by this section.
(1) The employee's, and the employee's spouse's or domestic partner's, biological child, adopted child, foster child, stepchild or legal ward, a child to whom the employee or the employee's spouse or domestic partner stands in loco parentis or an individual to whom the employee or the employee's spouse or domestic partner stood in loco parentis when the individual was a minor;
(2) The employee's, and the employee's spouse's or domestic partner's, biological parent, foster parent, stepparent, adoptive parent or legal guardian or a person who stood in loco parentis when the employee was a minor child;
(3) A person to whom the employee is legally married under the laws of any state or a domestic partner of the employee;
(4) The employee's, and the employee's spouse's or domestic partner's, biological grandparent, foster grandparent, adoptive grandparent or stepgrandparent;
(5) The employee's, and the employee's spouse's or domestic partner's, biological sibling, foster sibling, adoptive sibling or stepsibling; and
(6) Any other individual related by blood or affinity whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.
(1) Mental or physical illness, injury or health condition;
(2) Medical diagnosis, care or treatment of the employee's mental or physical illness, injury or health condition; or
(3) Preventative medical care;
(1) Mental or physical illness, injury or health condition;
(2) Medical diagnosis, care or treatment of the family member's mental or physical illness, injury or health condition; or
(3) Preventative medical care; and
(1) Medical care or psychological or other counseling for physical or psychological injury or disability;
(2) Obtaining services from a victim services organization;
(3) Relocating due to domestic violence or sexual assault;
(4) Obtaining legal services or participating in any civil or criminal proceedings related to or resulting from the domestic violence or sexual assault; or
(5) Meetings at a child's school or place of care related to the child's health or disability or to the effects of domestic violence or sexual assault on the child.
Earned paid sick leave may be used in the smallest increment that the employer's payroll system uses to account for absences or use of other time. An employee is not required to secure a substitute when that employee uses earned paid sick leave.
(1) A police report indicating that the employee or family member was a victim of domestic violence or sexual assault;
(2) A signed statement from a victim witness advocate affirming that the employee or family member is receiving services from a victim services organization;
(3) A court document indicating that the employee or family member is involved in legal action related to domestic violence or sexual assault; or
(4) A signed written statement from the employee.
An employer may not require that the documentation explain the details of the violence or assault.
(1) Employees are entitled to earned paid sick leave;
(2) The accrual and amount of earned paid sick leave provided under this section;
(4) That retaliatory personnel action against employees who request or use earned paid sick leave is prohibited by law;
(5) That each employee has the right to file a complaint or bring a civil action if earned paid sick leave as required by this section is denied by the employer or the employee is subjected to retaliatory personnel action for requesting or taking earned paid sick leave; and
(6) The contact information for the department from which questions about rights and responsibilities under this section can be answered.
This notice must be in English and any language that is the first language spoken by at least 10% of the employer's workforce, as long as the notice has been provided by the department pursuant to paragraph D.
An employer may not take retaliatory personnel action or otherwise discriminate against an employee because the employee has exercised a right protected under this section. An employer's absence control policy may not treat earned paid sick leave taken under this section as an absence that may lead to or result in retaliatory personnel action. The protections in this section apply to any person who mistakenly, but in good faith, alleges a violation of this section.
Upon receiving a complaint alleging a violation of this chapter, the department shall investigate the complaint in a timely manner and shall attempt to resolve the complaint through mediation between the complainant and the subject of the complaint or through other means. The department shall keep a complainant notified regarding the status of the complaint and any resultant investigation. If the department determines that a violation of this section has occurred, it shall issue to the person or entity it has determined has violated this section a notice of violation describing the relief required of the person or entity. The department shall prescribe the form and wording of such notices of violation and any method of appealing the decision of the department.
An employer that willfully violates the notice or posting requirements in subsection 7 commits a civil violation for which a fine of not more than $100 may adjudged.
An affected individual may bring a civil action to collect appropriate relief. An action taken by an affected individual under this subsection may be brought not later than 3 years after the date of the last event constituting the alleged violation for which the action is brought or the date when the individual knew of the violation, whichever is later. The right to bring an action provided by this subsection terminates on the filing of a complaint by the Attorney General in an action under subsection 14 in which a recovery is sought related to the same violation or violations of an employer relating to the affected individual.
If the director determines that there is reasonable cause to believe that an employer violated this section and the department is subsequently unable to obtain voluntary compliance by the employer within a reasonable time, the department shall bring a civil action through the Attorney General on behalf of an affected individual or individuals as provided in subsection 13, except that a civil action may not be brought on behalf of an individual has filed an action under subsection 13 related to the same violation or violations of this section.
A civil action brought under this subsection may be joined with a civil action to collect fines under subsection 12.
§ 638. Earned unpaid sick leave
An employer that employs 5 or fewer employees in the State shall implement a policy that allows an employee to accrue and use at least 40 hours of unpaid earned sick leave per year.
An employer may meet the requirements of this section by providing unpaid leave that may be used interchangeably as either sick leave or vacation time, as long as the accrual of this unpaid leave is otherwise in accordance with this section.
Sec. 4. Effective date. This Act takes effect January 1, 2021.
This bill creates a right to earned paid sick leave for employees who are employed by an employer that employs more than 5 employees. The bill also creates a right to earned unpaid sick leave for employees of an employer that employs 5 or fewer employees. This bill takes effect January 1, 2021.