Time for Review: Proposed Paid Family and Medical Leave Rules Released


Time for Review: Proposed Paid Family and Medical Leave Rules Released

By Carolyn Liegner and Ann Freeman

What’s happening?

On May 22, the Maine Department of Labor (“MDOL”) released proposed rules for the administration of Maine’s new Paid Family and Medical Leave (“PFML”) program.

In 2023, the Maine Legislature passed a paid family and medical leave law, which will provide eligible public and private sector employees up to 12 weeks of paid leave each year. Employer and employee contributions will begin on January 1, 2025, with benefits scheduled to begin in May of 2026.

What does this mean for your business?

The proposed rules provide additional detail on the PFML rights and responsibilities of employers, employees, self-employed individuals, and tribal governments, including the process by which employees will apply for benefits, notice requirements, contribution obligations and timing, and the process for private plan substitution.

Some key takeaways from the proposed rules:

  1. The MDOL has provided a proposed definition of “employee” for purposes of calculating the number of employees to determine an employer’s contribution liability.  This definition must be made by the employer on October 1, 2024 (and on October 1 in subsequent years) and should include full-time, part-time, seasonal, temporary, and per diem employees.
  2. The rules propose comprehensive requirements and factors that allow an employer to deny leave based on undue hardship to its operations.
  3. Employers will be required to contribute to the state plan starting on January 1, 2025, and will not be permitted to switch to a private plan until the spring of 2026.

What actions should businesses take now?

The release of the proposed rules begins a 45-day comment period—a critical period during which the public has the opportunity to submit feedback and questions to the MDOL. Not only is the MDOL required to respond to each comment, but the final rules must be based on the rulemaking record, including comments and testimony provided.  This is a unique opportunity for employers to weigh in on the rules for the PFML program before it goes into effect.

The deadline to provide comment, either online or by mail, is July 8, 2024. A public hearing is scheduled for June 10, 2024 in Augusta.

Employers should review the proposed rules, provide comment, and begin planning next steps to ensure compliance with the PFML program, including consulting with benefits providers and counsel.

For more information about the new Maine Paid Family and Medical Leave Law, contact Labor and Employment Attorneys Carolyn Liegner at or Ann Freeman at