Maine Releases Proposed PFML Rules

Earlier today the Maine Department of Labor released proposed rules for the Paid Family and Medical Leave Program. The public comment period is now open, continuing into July 8th. On Monday June 10th at 9:00 a.m. the DOL will hold a public hearing for stakeholders and interested parties. At some point following the public comment period, the DOL will release a final version of the rule. Comments will be accepted online via their rulemaking webpage.

The proposed rule outlines implementation procedures and program details relating to the following topics: Definitions, Coverage, Use and Types of Leave, Eligibility, Notice and Undue Hardship, Benefits, Claims, Fraud and Ineligibility, Premium, Elective Coverage, Substitution of Private Plans, Returning from Leave, Appeals, and more.

As a reminder, premium contributions begin 01/01/25, and benefits will be available from 05/01/26. Employers with 15 or more covered employees may deduct up to 50% of the premium from employees’ gross wages, while employers with less than 15 covered employees are not required to contribute on behalf of their employees. The contribution rate beginning 01/01/25 will be 1%.

Regarding private equivalent plans, the proposed rule states that applications for substitution may be made after 01/01/26, but that an exemption may not be effective prior to 04/01/26. Applications for substitution must be submitted on a form provided by the Department and will be accepted on a rolling basis. The employer is responsible for premiums until the effective date of an approved application for substitution.

At this point, the rule is not final and it is possible that changes are made between the proposed rule and the final rule. Unum Government Affairs will provide an update once the rule is finalized and will be engaged throughout the process.