Today, Maine became the fourteenth state (including Washington D.C.) to enact a comprehensive paid family and medical leave program. A Better Balance has been proud to work closely with partners in the Maine Paid Leave Coalition to support the effort to enact a strong paid family and medical leave program, which will create much-needed economic security for workers all across the Pine Tree State.
Starting May 1, 2026, nearly all workers in the state will be entitled to up to 12 weeks of paid leave each year when they have a serious health condition that makes them unable to work, need leave to bond with a new child, have to care for a family member with a serious health condition, to address certain military family needs, or to take safe leave to address needs arising from domestic violence, harassment, sexual assault, or stalking. While on leave, workers will receive benefits at a rate of 90% of their average weekly wage up to an amount equal to 50% of the state average weekly wage, and 66% of their average weekly wage above an amount equal to 50% of the state average weekly wage, with weekly benefits being capped at 100% of the state average weekly wage. Employees who have worked for their employer for 120 days before taking leave are entitled to return to their job after taking leave, and all workers are protected against retaliation and discrimination for taking leave.
Maine’s program is inclusive, as it covers employers of all sizes and includes both private and public sector employees, including tribal government employers that elect coverage and self-employed individuals who opt into the program. Starting January 1, 2025, the cost of the program (which won’t be more than 1% of wages) will be split evenly between employees and employers with 15 or more employees, while the program will absorb the premium cost of small employers (those with fewer than 15 employees).
A Better Balance has been honored to work with partners across Maine whose hard work has brought this robust program to fruition. We congratulate the Maine People’s Alliance and Maine Women’s Lobby, and the entire paid family and medical leave coalition who have worked toward this momentous victory for years. A Better Balance is dedicated to working with partners nationwide to continue bringing these rights to every state. For more information on the workplace leave rights available in your state, visit our Workplace Rights Hub.