Portland City Council Decides To Let Legislature Handle Paid Leave

May 7, 2019

Portland's City Council Monday night narrowly defeated a requirement for city employers to provide workers paid leave. Today, the Maine Senate gave a preliminary thumbs-up to a similar measure.

Sen. Rebecca Millett, a Cape Elizabeth Democrat, says the bill before the legislature would allow workers to earn up to 40 hours of paid time off a year - and not just for personal medical issues.

"If child care is canceled, parents should be able to stay home to take care of their children without fearing economic consequence," Millett says. "If a worker's car breaks down on the way to work they should be able to take it to the shop without fearing that they'd lose the paycheck to pay for the repair. If a worker is sick they shouldn't have to choose between visiting the doctor or keeping their job."

The legislative measure would apply only to businesses with 10 or more workers - a narrower set than addressed by the Portland initiative, which would have applied to all workers in the city.

The bill faces further action in the Senate and House.