The topic of mandated paid sick leave has arrived at the State House and a public hearing is scheduled for Wednesday. The bill, submitted by Senator Rebecca Millett, D-Cape Elizabeth, would exclude businesses who employ 5 or fewer employees.

This bill creates a right to earned paid sick leave for employees who are employed by an employer that employs more than 5 employees. The bill also creates a right to earned unpaid sick leave for employees of an employer that employs 5 or fewer employees. This bill takes effect January 1, 2021.

Per the bill, sick time would be accrued "at a rate of no less than one hour of earned paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked...The employer shall permit an employee to carry forward at least 40 hours of accrued earned paid sick leave to the following year, but an employer is not required to allow the use of more than 40 hours of earned paid sick leave in one year. An employer may provide all earned paid sick leave the employee is expected to earn in a year at the beginning of the year."

Concerns over the proposed mandate include "increased costs and abuse" as well as the "impact on existing benefit plans, like paid time off, which lumps sick and vacation time together" according to the Portland Press Herald.

The public hearing is currently scheduled for Wednesday, February 13th, 11 am in the Cross Building, Room 202.