Maine

Paid Family Leave Laws

Good news! Currently there are two family leave laws that workers in Maine can take advantage of:

  • Federal Family & Medical Leave (FMLA)
  • Maine Family & Medical Leave (ME FMLA)

Beginning in May of 2026, Maine will also offer Paid Family & Medical Leave.

Federal Family & Medical Leave (FMLA)

FMLA provides leave to care for a:

  • Child (who is under the age of 18 or incapable of self-care due to a physical or mental disability)
  • Spouse
  • Parent (including a biological, adoptive, foster, or step-parent, or any other person who stood "in loco parentis,” but not including a parent-in-law)

FMLA eligibility includes:

  • All public employers and private employers who employ 50 or more workers within 75 miles of the employee’s worksite 
  • ​​Employees must have worked for a covered employer for at least one year and have worked for that employer for at least 1,250 hours over the previous 12 months 

FMLA provisions:

Up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to eligible employees for the following reasons:

  • For incapacity due to pregnancy, prenatal medical care or child birth
  • To care for the employee’s child after birth, or placement for adoption or foster care
  • To care for the employee’s spouse, son or daughter, or parent, who has a serious health condition
  • For a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform their job
  • For certain needs in connection with a loved one's military deployment
  • If medically necessary, employees caring for a seriously ill loved one may be able to take this time in smaller chunks, spread out over time, rather than all at once.

FMLA Protections:

  • Job and Seniority: Upon return from FMLA leave, nearly all employees must be restored to their original or equivalent positions with equivalent pay, benefits, and other employment terms. Rare exceptions to this rule are explained here
  • Benefits: During FMLA leave, the employer must maintain the employee’s health coverage and continue paying any share of their health insurance premium under any “group health plan” on the same terms as if the employee had continued to work.  
  • FMLA rights: An employer can’t punish an employee in any way for using their FMLA rights and can’t interfere with the employees ability to use their rights under the law.


How to apply for FMLA:

  • Notify your employer of your need for leave. You'll need to get your loved one's health care provider to certify their health condition and need for care. Your employer will then provide you with notices and forms to fill out and return to them. 
  • If you know in advance when your leave will start, tell your employer at least 30 days before that date. If you can’t do so or don’t know in advance, tell your employer as soon as possible.

Detailed information about Federal FMLA, visit the US Department of Labor website

ME FMLA

The state of Maine expands on the Federal FMLA law with:

  • A broader definition of “family member”
  • Eligibility for more residents 

Maine currently provides FMLA leave to care for a:

  • Child
  • Spouse
  • Parent
  • Sibling who lives with you
  • Domestic partner
  • Child of your domestic partner
  • Grandchild (or grandchild of your domestic partner)

ME FMLA eligibility includes:

  • Private sector employers with 15 or more employees, as well as the state of Maine and local governments with 25 or more employees
  • Employees of a covered employer who have worked that employer for at least 12 consecutive months
  • In addition, employees of a school administrative unit who have worked at least 900 hours in the previous 12-month period are eligible for family medical leave under the same terms and conditions as under the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act.

ME FMLA provisions:

Up to 10 weeks of unpaid leave during a 2-year period

  • For incapacity due to pregnancy, prenatal medical care, or childbirth
  • To care for the employees child after birth, or placement for adoption of foster care
  • To care for a qualified family member (listed above) who has a serious health condition
  • For a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform their job
  • For organ donation
  • For a family member’s death or serious health need as a result of that family member’s military service


ME FMLA protections:

  • Upon return from ME FMLA leave, employees must be restored to their original or equivalent positions with equivalent pay, benefits, and other employment terms.
  • Benefits: During ME FMLA leave, the employer must allow the employee to maintain their health coverage under any “group health plan,” but the employee may be required to cover the cost.  

How to apply for ME FMLA:

  • Notify your employer of your need for leave. You'll need to get your loved one's health care provider to certify their health condition and need for care. Your employer will then provide you with notices and forms to fill out and return to them. 
  • Tell your employer at least 30 days before the start of your leave. If a medical emergency prevents you from giving notice 30 days in advance, tell your employer as soon as possible.

Maine will offer Paid Family & Medical Leave beginning in 2026


Under the new law, eligible workers will have 12 weeks of paid time off available to them for family or medical reasons including serious illness, to care for a relative with a serious health need, or for the birth of a child, beginning May 1, 2026.

Meanwhile, Maine requires private employers with at least 10 employees (excluding employers in seasonal industries) to provide up to 40 hours of paid leave from work each year to each employee. This leave can be used for any reason. More details about Maine’s paid leave law are available here.

The information on this page should not be considered legal advice. Other protections may apply in your specific situation. 

RubyWell lowers the cost of caring

Save money on monthly prescriptions

Discover unused insurance benefits

Save on utilities

Find the lowest prices on quality supplies

Be among the first to try our tools & resources