April 22, 2020

Employment Leaves for Caregivers & People Affected by an Extreme Public Health Emergency.

There is a Maine law that may apply to employees who need leave related to COVID, particularly where the new paid leave provisions may not apply. This section requires an employer to grant “reasonable and necessary leave” from work, with or without pay, for the following reasons related to an extreme public health emergency.

The employee cannot work because…

  1. They are under individual public health investigation, supervision.
  2. Of treatment related to an extreme public health emergency.
  3. They act in accordance with an extreme public health emergency order.
  4. Of quarantine or isolation.
  5. They are subject to a control measure in accordance with extreme public health emergency information.
  6. Of directions issued to the public, a part of the public, or one or more individuals.
  7. A direction by the employee’s employer in response to a concern of the employer that the employee may expose other individuals in the workplace to the extreme public health emergency threat.
  8. They provide care or assistance to one or more of the following individuals:
    1. A spouse or domestic partner as defined under Title 18-C, section 1-201, subsection 14
    2. Parents
    3. Their child
    4. A child for whom the employee is the legal guardian

There are a few exceptions to the leave requirement.


  • If the employer sustains undue hardship from the employee’s absence
  • The need to downsize for legitimate reasons related to the impact of the extreme public health emergency on the operation of the business
  • Requests for leave are not communicated to the employer within a reasonable time under the circumstances
  • The employee is a state, county, or municipal employee. Their responsibilities are related to services necessary for protecting the public’s health and safety in an extreme public health emergency
  • If the employer requires the employee to work with some exceptions

The leave must be permitted for the duration of the extreme public health emergency and a reasonable, necessary time period following the termination of the extreme public health emergency for diseases, conditions contracted, or exposures that occurred during the extreme public health emergency. An employer may require written documentation from a physician or public health official supporting the employee’s leave.

This information is accurate as of April 22, 2020. It is subject to change based on any new legislation.

Anne-Marie L. Storey, Attorney at Law, Rudman Winchell
Anne-Marie Storey, Esq
Rudman Winchell

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