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Maine Family and Medical Leave Expanded to Include Grandparents

Maine has passed into law L.D. 61 which will amend Maine’s Family Medical Leave Law (MFMLA) to allow employees to take job-protected leave for the serious health condition of their grandchildren or a domestic partner’s grandchildren. Prior to the amendment, MFMLA could only be taken for the serious health condition of the employee’s children, domestic partners’ children, parents, domestic partners, siblings, or spouse.

MFMLA requires employers with 15 or more employees at a single Maine location to provide up to 10 weeks of unpaid MFMLA to eligible employees every two years. Eligible employees are those that have been employed with the company for at least 12 consecutive months.

Leave may be taken for the birth of a child or adoption of a child 16 or younger; the employee’s own serious health condition; caring for the serious health condition of their children, grandchildren, domestic partner’s grandchildren, domestic partner’s children, parents, domestic partners, siblings or spouses; donation of an organ for human transplant; or death or serious health condition of the employee’s spouse, domestic partner, parent, sibling, or child if the death or serious health condition occurs while on active duty in the U.S. military or state armed forces.

Leave can be used on an intermittent basis or reduced schedule basis.

During leave, the employer is required to permit employees to continue their benefits at the employee’s expense. Alternatively, the employer and employee may negotiate for the employer to maintain benefits at the employer’s expense for the duration of the leave. 

Employees are required to be restored to their position upon return from leave or an equivalent position in terms of benefits, pay, and other terms and conditions of employment.

The amendment will go into effect 90 days after the end of the Maine Legislature’s present session (September 14, 2021) which ended on June 16, 2021.

Employers should review their leave policies and procedures to ensure updates are made to covered family members. In addition, managers/supervisors should be trained on the new requirement.

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