Maine Leave Laws

This post will guide you through employee leave laws for businesses and workers located in the state of Maine.

Follow this guide to understand employers’ obligations for vacation time, paid time off (PTO), sick leave, parental leave, bereavement and more, along with state holidays observed in Maine.

This page is intended for reference purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please see official government sources or consult a legal professional for actual legal advice.

Any employers in Maine with more than 10 employees are required to provide employees with at least 1 hour of paid time off for every 40 hours worked, up to a total of 40 hours per year.

This leave can be taken for any reason, from sickness or injury to planned vacations.

Employees may be required to give up to four week’s notice if they want to take leave, for any reason other than “emergency, illness, or sudden necessity”.

Are Use It or Lose It Polices Legal in Maine?

Maine’s Earned Paid Leave law states that employees can carry over up to 40 hours from one year to the next, unless they provide 40 hours of paid leave for employees, front-loaded from the beginning of the year.

If leave is front-loaded, Use It or Lose It policies are allowed, otherwise employees must be allowed to roll over unused leave.

Use It or Lose It leave policies mean that any leave not used at the end of the year is forfeited, and not carried over to the following year. Learn more about Use It or Lose It policies here.

PTO Payout Laws in Maine

Companies do not have to pay out unused earned paid leave upon job separation (e.g. when an employee quits, is fired or is laid off).

The Earned Paid Leave law states that this is only required if company policy states that earned leave and/or vacation time will be paid out upon separation.

Additionally, a company can actually deduct used leave from an employee’s final paycheck, in the situation that they frontload an employee’s earn leave allowance and the employee takes their leave but their employment ends before they would have earned enough leave to cover what was taken (using a rate of 1 hour per 40 hours worked).

In this case, earned leave is prorated to their finish date, and any extra may be deducted from the employee’s final paycheck.

Sick Leave in Maine

Maine does not have a specific sick leave law, however the Earned Paid Leave law states that this leave can be used for cases such as illness and emergency.

Besides any state laws or provisions written into employment contracts, employers in Maine must comply with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which entitles eligible employees the right to take 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for serious health conditions, or to care for spouses, children or parents with a serious health condition.

In addition to this, in 2023 Maine’s Paid Family and Medical Leave Law was passed, allowing employees up to 12 weeks of paid leave for serious health conditions, caring for family members with serious health conditions, and caring for an employee’s newly born, adopted or fostered child. This will come into effect on January 1, 2026.

Maine State Holidays

The following official state holidays are observed in Maine:

January 1New Year’s Day
3rd Monday in JanuaryMartin Luther King, Jr Day
3rd Monday in FebruaryWashington’s Birthday/Presidents’ Day
3rd Monday in AprilPatriot’s Day
Last Monday in MayMemorial Day
June 19Juneteenth
July 4Independence Day
1st Monday in SeptemberLabor Day
2nd Monday in OctoberIndigenous Peoples Day
November 11Veterans Day
4th Thursday in NovemberThanksgiving
Day after ThanksgivingThanksgiving Friday
December 25Christmas Day
Any holidays that fall on a Saturday are observed on the previous Friday, while any holidays that fall on a Sunday are observed on the following Monday.

There is no requirement to allow employees a paid or unpaid day off for state holidays, and employees required to work on state holidays are not legally entitled to extra compensation (such as higher pay or a compensatory day off), unless promised in their employment contract.

Maternity Leave in Maine

Maine does not have a maternity leave law at this time. The FMLA does apply, however, entitling new mothers to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for the birth of a new child, as well as the placement of a new adoption or foster.

Maternity will be covered starting 2026 by the state’s Paid Family and Medical Leave law, which allows new mothers up to 12 weeks of paid leave to care for their new child.

Paternity Leave in Maine

Paternity leave is not covered by law in Maine, but fathers have the same right to unpaid, job-protected leave of up to 12 weeks for the birth of their child, or a new adoption or fostered child. They will also have the same rights under the Paid Family and Medical Leave from 2026.

Bereavement Leave in Maine

There is no legal requirement to provide bereavement leave in Maine. Employers can decide whether or not to grant bereavement leave, and whether or not this leave shall be paid.

Other Leave Types

Jury Duty Leave

Maine employers cannot discharge, discipline, coerce or threaten employees for taking time off to respond to a jury summons or serve jury duty, but the employer is not required to pay for the employee’s time off.

Voting Leave

Maine does not have a law covering time off to allow employees to vote.

Military Leave

National Guard members or reserves are entitled to take military leave, which can be paid or unpaid, at the employer’s discretion.

The law states that employees must still receive their benefits for at least 30 days into their military leave, at no expense to the employee. After 30 days, the employee can choose to continue the same benefits, but at their own expense.

The law also states that employees taking military leave are allowed a certain length of rest following the end of their service, before they are required to return to work.

Federal Law (the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)) applies in Maine, which states that military service members receive up to five years of unpaid leave for military service, and upon returning, must be reinstated to the same position (or an equivalent position) as they had before their leave.

Anything not covered in Maine state leave laws is up to the discretion of the employer, such as whether or not to provide paid sick leave or PTO, or whether PTO rolls over from year to year.

However, if any benefits are laid out in an employee’s contract or company policy, employers must comply with what has been agreed in that document.

For example, if an employee’s contract states that they are to receive 12 days of PTO each year, the employer is legally required to provide this, even though paid time off is not required by state law.

Official Resources

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