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Seventy-eight percent of Mainers live paycheck to paycheck. Too many people are working longer days and longer hours due to mounting costs and stagnant wages, preventing them from enjoying the quality of life they deserve.

To uplift working Mainers, Representative Benjamin Collings of Portland has introduced LD 1376: An Act to Create a Livable Wage by Increasing the Minimum Hourly Wage. This bill aims to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 per hour starting January 1, 2024, with a $1 increase every year thereafter.

If LD 1376 were to pass, Maine would be the fourth state—along with Massachusetts, California, and Washington—to have a minimum hourly wage of $15 or higher. Furthermore, it would be the first time since 2009 that Maine has increased the minimum wage. The current state minimum wage is $13.80 per hour, which was approved by a voter-led initiative seven years ago.

Raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour will help Mainers keep up with costs of living, healthcare, and education. It will put money in their pockets and strengthen the state’s economy. Maine’s working families deserve a chance to thrive and get ahead. Now that the Legislature has given LD 1376 a preliminary approval, we urge Governor Mills to pass this bill to help tens of thousands of Maine families!

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It's official: Today, Governor Janet Mills announced in the Portland Press Herald that she'll sign Paid Family & Medical Leave (LD 1964) into law, making Maine the 13th state to pass a PFML policy. This announcement marks a life-changing victory for working people and families across Maine.

Whether recovering from a serious illness, welcoming a new child, or caring for an ailing family member, working Mainers will soon have the peace of mind of knowing they won’t have to sacrifice their livelihoods to care for themselves or a loved one.

"I’m thrilled to see Governor Mills stand up for Maine’s working families and small business owners by supporting a statewide paid family and medical leave program,” said Evan LeBrun, Executive Director at Mainers for Working Families. “She saw firsthand the years of work that bill sponsors Senator Mattie Daughtry and Representative Kristen Cloutier spent on this policy, meeting with hundreds of small business owners, families, advocates, and experts in Maine to craft a program built for our state’s unique needs. Thanks to the Governor’s support, thousands of working Mainers will finally have the freedom to prioritize what matters most, taking care of the ones they love."

You stood at the forefront of the 93% of Mainers who understood the necessity of PFML, and your tireless dedication helped us carry this years-in-the-making victory past the finish line.

Thank you for all your work and support. Maine couldn’t have achieved this without you.

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Last week, the Committee To Develop a Paid Family and Medical Leave Benefits Program approved a new version of LD 1964: the bill that would create a PFML program in Maine. The original proposal, which was voted out of commission last month, underwent additional revisions following concerns from business groups.

Committee members went back and worked on the bill before it was presented to the Senate and House this week. Now we are happy to report that legislators in both chambers have voted to pass LD1964 and bring PFML to Maine.

Some highlights from the amended bill include:

  • 12-weeks of paid leave to tend to a sick or dying loved one, bond with/care for a newborn, or recover from one’s own health challenges.

  • Employees on leave receive a portion of their normal wage with lower income earners receiving a higher percentage of wage replacement.

  • To pay for the benefit, employees will contribute less than 0.5 percent of their paycheck. Large employers will also contribute 0.5 percent of their employees wages toward the program. Small businesses owners with fewer employees would not be obliged to contribute to the program; however, those employees would be eligible for the benefit.

Thanks to the persistence of bill sponsors Sen. Mattie Daughtry and Rep. Kristen Cloutier, this proposal has crossed yet another hurdle and will soon be on the Governor’s desk.

The fact remains that no Mainer should have to miss out on a paycheck in order to care for themselves or a sick family member. We applaud the Maine Legislature for passing this vital legislation and look forward to finally seeing PFML in Maine.

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