Maine Meal Laws
Unlike most other states Maine has its own laws for how meal breaks are
to be handled. Most states use federal laws in regards to meal breaks,
but Maine is one of nineteen states that has its own. Maine law states
that employees are allowed thirty-minute meal breaks whenever six hours
of work has been completed in one day.
Meal breaks are also usually only provided for employees who work eight
hours. A company or business may stipulate other guidelines through
contract that they are required to uphold. However employers cannot
eliminate the employee right to have this thirty-minute break.
Exceptions to the state meal break may apply in some circumstances.
Those who work in emergency fields -- such as hospitals, fire
departments, and police departments -- are most often not given this
guideline as emergency situations may, and often do, require employees
to not break throughout a shift. The meal law also may not apply if
employees are given long breaks throughout their shifts. The meal break
law is also only possible for companies and businesses that have three
or more employees working on the same shift. Meal breaks are often not
Family and Medical Leave
Maine does not have its own state laws for how personal leave is to be
maintained. Maine instead uses federal laws for family and medical
leave purposes. The Family and Medical Leave Act allows United States
employees to take necessary leave of absence for medical or family
necessities. This act allows leave without the fear of losing
employment. The Family and Medical Leave Act covers the situations of
maternity leave, the care of an elderly parent, the care of an ill
child, hospitalization, and any other medical or psychological purpose.
Maternity leave is provided for mothers to care for their newborns or
adoptive parents to bond with their new children. Paternity leave is
also often available for some employees. Maternity leave, as well as
other medical or family leave, is unpaid leave that can last no more
than twelve weeks. These twelve weeks must be taken consecutively and
cannot be spread among several months. Some companies may allow
employees on leave to receive payment but is only required if stated in
written contract. Employees are also allowed to take leave for
pregnancy complications or for the care of an expectant wife.
Upon returning to employment, an individual is entitled to receive his
or her former occupation or an occupation of the same salary and
benefits. Employers are not allowed to terminate an employed based on
pregnancy or necessity of leave.
In 2009 the federal minimum wage was raised from five dollars and
fifteen cents to seven dollars and twenty-five cents. This required all
states to raise their minimum wages to this level or higher. Some
states currently have minimum wages of eight dollars or more, while
Maine has a minimum wage of seven dollars and fifty cents.
Employers are required to pay no less than this amount. An employee who
receives tips on a regular basis is allowed to be paid three dollars
and seventy-five cents, as tips make up the salary difference.