LD 1410, An Act To Create Paid Family and Medical Leave Benefits, was introduced on Tuesday

AUGUSTA – Speaker of the House Sara Gideon (D-Freeport) on Tuesday unveiled the details of LD 1410, a bill that creates a universal paid family and medical leave (PFML) program in Maine that grants 12 weeks of paid family leave or 20 weeks of paid medical leave to Mainers who have paid into a newly established fund.

Speaker Gideon released the following statement:

“America is the only industrialized nation in the world without any form of a national paid family leave plan. Every year, Mainers are forced to choose between providing for their family or taking time away from their workplace to care for a new child, a sick parent, or tend to their own health. That’s a decision no one should have to make, and that’s what we hope to fix by passing this legislation.

“Paid family leave policies have drawn bipartisan support in our neighboring New England states. I’m confident we’ll be able to come together to build a fair, flexible program that helps Maine businesses attract new employees to our state, and creates the real change that Mainers deserve by allowing them to truly care for their families and themselves.”

The PFML program created by LD 1410 offers two different benefits—family leave and medical leave:

  • A qualifying employee may take family leave for up to 12 weeks to care for a member of their family, e.g. after the birth of a child or to tend to an ill parent or spouse. Family members include children, parents, grandparents, siblings, and spouses (in accordance with existing statute).
  • A qualifying employee may take medical leave for up to 20 weeks to address a personal medical issue, as certified by their physician.

To qualify to receive these benefits, an employee must have paid into the fund for at least 26 weeks in the previous year. Benefits are based on the employee’s wages and are capped at the state’s Average Weekly Wage.

Benefits and administrative costs are paid for by employee contributions. There is no mandatory contribution from employers or from the state of Maine. The state will fund the start-up costs of implementation.

A public hearing on and work session on LD 1410 will be scheduled in the coming weeks before the Legislature’s Labor and Housing Committee.