Another state is stepping up to give its hardworking employees the treatment and flexibility they deserve.
Under new legislation signed into law May 28 by Democratic Gov. Janet Mills, workers in Maine will now be able to accrue paid time off — and use it for whatever they wish. Maine is the 11th state to guarantee full-time workers paid sick leave, but the first to allow the time to be used for something other than personal illness.
Maine's law, which goes into effect Jan. 1, 2021, requires companies with 10 or more employees to provide an hour of paid sick time for every 40 hours worked, maxing out at 40 hours of time off each year.
This new law is a victory not only for Maine's workforce but its companies as well: The Pine Tree State's workforce is among the least productive in the nation, generating just over $88,000 in economic output per job last year, according to CNBC's 2019 America's States for Business study, released this month. Studies consistently have shown that taking time off improves productivity, lowers stress and results in better mental health.
As legislative bodies and companies recognize that workers need flexible paid leave policies, it's worth taking a closer look at what's spurring these new paid-time-off requirements — and the upsides for employees and businesses.