Earlier this month, the Commission on Paid Family and Medical Leave held its final meeting to discuss its findings and recommendations for developing a statewide Paid Family and Medical Leave program in Maine.
The commission is expected to present its findings and propose legislation early 2023. But there is also a proposed ballot initiative launched by Maine Women’s Lobby and Maine People’s Alliance to address the urgent need for a comprehensive and accessible policy.
The good news is that while differences in approach exist, both the commission and the ballot initiative’s organizers agree on a few key items for a strong Paid Family Leave policy to work in Maine.
All workers—full-time, part-time, temporary and seasonal workers must be covered by the policy.
Self-employed workers will be allowed to opt into the program.
It must provide workers with a 16-week maximum total combined limit and a 12-week maximum limit for a particular qualifying need.
It must allow any Maine employer to provide a private plan option that is substantially equivalent.
These consistencies demonstrate a universal understanding that working families are being stretched thin and need real support. They also show that the benefits of PFML vastly outweigh the risks for both employers and employees.
The bottom line is that Mainers should be able to spend time with their newborn, take care of themselves or a loved one, or take time off for a major life event without risking their paycheck. We look forward to seeing a strong proposal from the Maine Legislature in the upcoming session.
For a full comparison of the PFML commission's program design recommendations and the proposed ballot initiative, visit the Maine Legislature page here.