The text of the Maine PSL bill, SP 380, is finally available. After the first couple of reads, a few observations:
- The PSL requirement would apply to employers with at least 50 employees, similar to Connecticut’s law and Maryland Governor Hogan’s Commonsense Paid Leave bill. Smaller employers must provide the same benefit, but unpaid.
- The bill denies sick leave, paid or unpaid, to the approximately 64,000 Maine employees represented by a union. To repeat my entreaty in a previous post, help me understand the logic of excluding bargaining unit employees from a paid sick leave law. Some of those employees are undoubtedly in relatively low wage service jobs, the very people PSL laws are intended to help.
- Covered employees can use PSL to care for their own medical needs or those of any “family member,” a term undefined in the bill although the bill makes clear that the term is not limited to immediate family members.
- The bill is very brief, barely more than a page, and authorizes the Department of Labor to enact regulations.
- The bill does not have a “safe harbor” for employers who already provide the leave required by the law. Does that mean the bill requires a second helping of leave or will that be addressed in the regulations. Unclear.
What are the chances of the Maine law being enacted this session? Using my cryptic and always dangerous political analysis, described generally here, Maine is a blue state, having cast 47.8% of its votes last November for Secretary Clinton. Maine Governor Paul LePage is Republican. The Republicans have a one-vote majority in the Senate. Democrats have a majority in the House. Given that political landscape, I speculate that there is less than an even chance that Maine will enact a PSL law this session.
But please, someone, help me understand why the Democratic drafter of this bill would exclude all bargaining unit employees from receiving its benefit?