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Maine PTO Law

Maine PTO Law: A Comprehensive Guide about Maine PTO Payout Laws

For employers, it is crucial to create company policies that adhere to the federal and state labor laws. One of the critical aspects of workforce leave management is the availability of Paid Time Off (PTO). Maine PTO law is a significant regulation that benefits the workforce and proves advantageous for employers.

This is why employers must adhere to Maine PTO payout laws. To help employers, we have created this comprehensive guide to explain the Maine PTO law from an employer’s perspective. 

Here, we delve into the specifics of who the law applies to and how much-paid time-off permits. We will explore the types of leave covered under the law and when employees can accrue paid time off.

The Maine PTO law applies to all employers who operate within the state of Maine and employ at least ten employees. The law applies to many businesses, from small enterprises to large corporations, non-profit organizations, and government entities. Essentially, Maine’s PTO law covers full-time, part-time, and per diem workers who are covered by Maine’s unemployment insurance law

However, the Maine PTO law does not protect employees in the seasonal industries. Ignoring or failing to adhere to the law’s requirements can lead to legal consequences, including fines and potential lawsuits from employees.

An employee is considered a Maine employee under the following situations:

  • If an individual performs their job within the state of Maine, they are generally considered as a Maine employee, regardless of their residence.
  • Employment contracts and agreements may specify the jurisdiction or state under which an individual is considered an employee. These contractual terms can impact the legal determination of an employee’s status.
  • The employee resides in Maine but has yet to receive directions or control over services from any other state in the U.S.

It’s important to note that determining employee status can be complex and may vary depending on specific circumstances. Also, an individual covered by another state’s unemployment insurance law won’t be considered a Maine employee, irrespective of their residence or employment status. Additionally, all employment contracts signed after January 1, 2021, must include Maine’s Earned Paid Leave (MEPL) as a benefit.

Season industries operate for less than 26 weeks within a calendar year and only during a regularly recurring period. Such employers are exempt from providing MEPL as a benefit. Here is a list of season industries the Maine Unemployment Insurance Commission maintains. If your business falls under the category of seasonal industry, then you have to report seasonal workers’ wages for your employees under a separate unemployment insurance account number.

How much paid time-off is allowed as per Maine PTO law?

Maine PTO payout laws entitle eligible employees to accrue paid leave at one hour for every 40 hours worked. The accrual of PTO starts when the employee joins the company and continues for as long as the employee remains with the company.

Employers must allow accrual of paid time-off from the employee’s first day of employment. There is no waiting period, and employees can start building their PTO balances immediately upon joining the company. Accrual continues as long as the employee remains employed, and unused PTO can be carried over to the following year.

However, employers who front load at least 40 hours of PTO at the start of the calendar year are not obligated to track accruals or allow carryovers. Furthermore, employers can also put an annual cap on the amount that can be used in a year.

It’s essential for employers to keep accurate records of accrued PTO for each employee, as this is not only a legal requirement but also helps employees track their available paid time off.

What kinds of leave does the Maine PTO law provide?

Under the Maine PTO law, employers must provide employees leave for various purposes. Based on the requirement, employees in Maine must be able to get:

Sick Leave

Maine allows paid and unpaid sick leave under federal and state laws. It enables employees to take time off work when ill, reducing the risk of spreading illnesses to colleagues and allowing them to recover fully before returning. 

Maine follows the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), enabling employees to take up to 12 weeks unpaid time off for medical reasons. To be eligible for unpaid sick time off, employees should have worked with their current employer for at least 12 months or 1,250 hours the previous year. Also, FMLA applies to employers with 50 or more workers at the same site or within a 75-mile radius.

Maine’s Earned Paid Leave is also applicable here. Employees can use earned time off for sick leave under the act. Also, the Maine Family Medical Leave Requirements Act (MFMLRA) in the state mandates that all private employers with 15 or more employees at one location should offer 10 weeks of unpaid family medical leave to all employees in 2 years.

Vacation time-off

Maine became the first state in the country to mandate paid leave for any reason, including non-medical reasons such as vacation time. The MEPL law (M.E. Rev. Stat. tit. 26, § 637) allows employees to accrue one hour of paid leave for every 40 hours worked.

The provision enables vacation leave for all eligible employees. Any additional vacation time, whether paid or unpaid, is generally at the discretion of employers. However, if an employer has established a policy or employment contract offering paid vacation outside the MEPL law, they must adhere to their policies and provide the benefits accordingly.

Bereavement Leave

Maine does not require employers to provide paid or unpaid bereavement leave. Bereavement leave policies, if offered, are typically determined by individual employers.

Employees in Maine may use accrued PTO or personal time for bereavement purposes if their employer permits it. Still, many employers offer bereavement leave so their employees can attend funerals or deal with the loss of a loved one.

Jury Duty Leave

Maine mandates employers to provide unpaid time off to employees to participate in jury duty. The law prohibits employers from discharging or penalizing employees for jury service.

Employers are not required to pay employees their regular wages for the days of jury service. Instead, the court pays employees serving jury duty in Maine $15.0 a day, freeing employers from the obligation to provide compensation for jury duty.

Employees cannot use accrued PTO or vacation time to cover any additional time needed for jury service if available.

Military Leave

Maine law provides job protection and reemployment rights for employees who are members of the U.S. armed forces or the state National Guard and are called to active duty or training.

Maine employers must grant military leave to employees as required by federal law, the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). The law ensures their jobs are protected during service and prohibits discrimination against employees based on their military service.

Maine military leave provision also protects employees serving active duty. Military leave can be paid or unpaid based on the employer’s discretion.

Also, employers must allow a rest period before they require employees to join back. Here’s how much rest should be allowed based on the length of military service:

Length of Military Service Rest Period
3 days or less  24 hours
3 to 15 days 48 hours
15-30 days 72 hours
30 to 180 days 2 weeks
180 days or longer 90 days

Voting Leave

Maine law has no statute for voting leave. Employers are not required to provide paid leave for employees to vote in state, federal, or county elections.

It is the sole discretion of the employers to allow employees voting leave on the day of the election during the employee’s regular working hours. Employers usually grant this leave to employees who need more time to vote outside of working hours.

When can I allow the employees to accrue paid time off?

Maine’s Earned Paid Leave law gives employees the right to accrue paid time off (PTO) from their first day of employment. Therefore, you do not have a say in this context; your employees will start accruing paid time off with no waiting period or probationary period.

Employers must know they can impose a 120-day waiting period before employees can use their paid time off. Additionally, employees must notify employers to ensure business operations are not adversely affected due to abrupt absences. The law states ” use of leave must be scheduled to prevent undue hardship on the employer.”

Employers should also clearly communicate the PTO accrual process to employees to ensure transparency and compliance with Maine’s PTO law.

How much paid time-off are Maine employees entitled to?

Maine employees are entitled to accrue paid time-off (PTO) at one hour for every 40 hours worked under MEPL. The accrual of paid time-off begins on the employee’s first day of employment and continues for as long as the employee remains employed.

Maine PTO payout laws also allow employees to carry over 40 hours of unused accrued PTO into the following calendar year. This provision ensures that employees do not lose their accrued leave and will enable them to use it in the future.

Is it necessary for the employer to record accrued earned paid time off?

Actually, in Maine, it is optional for employers to keep records of accrued earned paid time off (PTO) for each of their employees. However, still maintaining accurate records of accrued PTO is good business practice.

While it might now be a legal requirement under Maine’s earned paid leave law, your employees can ask about their paid time off status. They can also ask for information on how their PTO is tracked and documented.

Maintaining these records helps ensure transparency and compliance with the law. Accurate records enable employers to track employees’ PTO usage, prevent disputes or misunderstandings, and facilitate smooth payroll processing.

How does the Maine PTO law affect my employees' other benefits like paid time off, holiday pay, sick leave, etc.?

Maine’s Earned Paid Leave law has no implications for employee benefits, including paid time off, holiday pay, sick leave, and other related aspects. The law only sets universal minimum paid time off guidelines that employers must follow in the state.

If your existing company policies allow at least 40 hours of paid time off yearly, no changes need to be made. Any other paid time-off and leaves offered and related policies, including the accrual rate and the ability for employees to use accrued PTO for various purposes, such as sick leave or vacation, remain unaffected by the law.

If your employees have already earned over 40 hours of paid time off under company policies, you cannot take it away from them using MEPL. Also, Maine’s PTO law does not directly affect health insurance benefits. Still, employers should know that offering paid leave can contribute to employee well-being, indirectly impacting health insurance benefits.

Can I ask for a notice from the employee for accrued paid time off?

Yes, employers in Maine can typically ask employees to provide notice up to 4 weeks in advance for the use of accrued paid time off (PTO) as long as they establish clear and reasonable notice requirements in their PTO policies. However, this notice period requirement is not applicable when “an emergency, illness or other sudden necessity” arises.

Notice requirements help employers manage staffing and workflow effectively, ensuring that an employee’s absence does not disrupt operations. This is why employees must provide notice for foreseeable PTO use.

Employers can also restrict how many employees can take time off at once. They can also set blackout dates if it causes them undue hardship. Employees must refrain from asking for PTO on such days. However, they still can take leave for unforeseeable situations, such as sudden illness or family emergencies, even on blackout dates.

How does the Maine PTO law affect the health insurance an employer must provide the employee?

Maine PTO law does not affect an employee’s health insurance. No employer can change or take any feature from an employee’s health insurance because they use paid time off.

Employers should ensure that their health insurance and other employee benefits comply with applicable state and federal laws. While the Maine PTO law primarily focuses on PTO accrual and usage, employers must also adhere to laws governing health insurance coverage and employee benefits.

What are the penalties if I don't adhere to Maine PTO law?

Penalties for non-compliance with Maine PTO payout laws can vary, and employers must adhere to the law’s requirements to avoid potential legal consequences. The specific penalties may depend on the circumstances and the severity of the violation.

Employers in Maine found violating the law may be subject to administrative fines imposed by the Maine Department of Labor (MDOL). Sometimes, you may be required to pay employees back and compensate them for the leave they should have received. This could include paying employees for unused accrued PTO.

Is carryover of paid time off allowed?

In Maine, employees can carry PTO under the state’s PTO law. Employers in Maine must permit employees to carry over up to 40 hours of unused accrued PTO from one calendar year to the next. Any PTO hours beyond this carryover limit may not be eligible for carryover and could be forfeited.

Employers should know this carryover requirement and communicate it to employees in their PTO policies.

Maine State Holidays 2024

Maine doesn’t require employers to provide employees with paid or unpaid holiday leave. Still, most employers allow leave on observed state holidays throughout the year. Here are the Maine State holidays for 2024 that are recognized as days off for state government employees, and private employers may also observe these state holidays.


Date in 2024

General Date

New Year’s Day 2024

Monday, January 1

January 1

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Monday, January 15

3rd Monday in January

Washington’s Birthday

Monday, February 19

3rd Monday in February

Patriots Day

Monday, April 15

3rd Monday in April

Memorial Day

Monday, May 27

Last Monday in May


Wednesday, June 19

June 19

Independence Day

Thursday, July 4

July 4

Labor Day

Monday, September 2

1st Monday in September

Columbus Day

Monday, October 14

2nd Monday in October

Veterans Day

Monday, November 11

November 11

Thanksgiving Day

Thursday, November 28

4th Thursday of November

Christmas Day

Wednesday, Dec. 25

December 25

Holidays that fall on a Saturday are observed on Friday, and holidays that fall on a Sunday are observed on Monday.

How does Truein help with paid time-off management?

Truein is a modern time and attendance solution for a contractual and distributed workforce powered by A.I. and facial recognition technology. Companies can use this cloud-based software to optimize workforce utilization and plug revenue leakages. It also offers robust leave management features to simplify and automate PTO management.

It entirely automates the PTO request and approval process, eliminating the need for manual paperwork and email exchanges. Your employees can request PTO using the Truein app directly from their smartphones, and managers can approve or deny requests digitally, streamlining the entire process. 

Our system tracks PTO accrual based on the rules and policies you established. This ensures that employees accrue leave at the correct rates and in compliance with company and legal regulations. Truein provides a visual calendar view of employee leave schedules, making it easy for managers to see who is on leave, when, and for how long.

Furthermore, PTO data from Truein can be directly imported to other H.R. and payroll systems, ensuring that leave data is synchronized and accurate across all platforms. This reduces the risk of errors and simplifies H.R. processes.

By deploying Truein for PTO management, organizations can stay compliant with local, state, and federal leave laws and regulations. It has built-in customizable policy templates that can be configured to enforce company policies and legal requirements, reducing the risk of non-compliance.

To learn more about how Truein simplifies and streamlines the PTO management process, visit here.

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Maine PTO law underwent amendments recently, as we have covered in this guide. To maintain a compliant and productive workforce, employers must stay updated and adhere to the Maine PTO payout laws.

This guide provides a comprehensive view of the guidelines and best practices for employers to ensure that they provide fair and equitable paid time-off benefits to their employees and avoid potential legal issues and penalties.

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