There is no Maine law requiring private employers to provide employees sick leave, paid or unpaid, although many employers do grant it as an important employee benefit.
It is important to remember, however, that if sick leave is promised, an employer may create a legal obligation to grant it. Employers should regularly review statements made in handbooks or elsewhere to ensure that they accurately reflect current policies. If changes are necessary, the policy should be revised and employees notified of the changes.
Employers with 25 or more employees must allow an employee who receives paid leave, such as sick leave, vacation time, or compensatory time, to use that time to care for an ill immediate family member.
Covered family members are defined as the employee's child, spouse, or parent. Paid leave does not include paid short-term or long-term disability, catastrophic leave, or similar types of benefits.
An employer may adopt a policy limiting the number of hours of paid leave taken to care for an ill family member but may not limit the number of hours allowed to fewer than 40 hours for a 12-month period. An employee is not entitled to use paid leave until that leave has been earned.
An employee who receives more than one type of paid leave may elect which type and the amount of each of those types of paid leave to use, except that the employee's election may be limited by a bona fide employment policy as long as the policy is uniformly applied to all employees at that workplace.
An employer may require notice or verification of illness for leave if such notice or verification is required when an employee takes leave because of the employee's own illness (ME ...