What does the threat of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) mean for your workplace?

What does COVID-19 Mean for your Workplace PART II

What does COVID-19 Mean for your Workplace PART I



The Maine Department of Labor has received questions from employers and workers around COVID-19, the novel coronavirus. Therefore, the Department put together the following resources.

The Maine Center for Disease Control (CDC) continues to urge all Maine residents to take precautions and follow guidelines issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S. CDC).
•Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
•Avoid shaking hands as a greeting.
•Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
•Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
•Stay home when you are sick.
•Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
•Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

More information from the U.S. and Maine CDC:
•General Information
•Maine CDC

Resources for Businesses and Employees:

Relevant Labor Law
Maine’s Family Medical Leave laws apply to an employee that has worked for the same employer for at least 12 consecutive months. The employee would be entitled to up to 10 workweeks of job-protected unpaid Family Medical Leave in any two years unless employed at a permanent worksite with fewer than 15 employees. Employers may provide paid leave at their discretion.

Maine’s Family Sick Leave law states that if an employer provides paid leave, then the employer shall allow an employee to use the paid leave for the care of an immediate family member who is ill. This law section does not apply to the illness of the employee. This law gives the employee the right to choose what type of leave they are going to use if their employer provides multiple benefits, such as sick, vacation, or personal with limitations.

Larger businesses, such as businesses that have 50 or more employees, will fall under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act laws which provides up to 12 weeks of leave for a qualifying event. U.S. Department of Labor FAQ About Federal FMLA.

Maine’s Earned Paid Leave law does not go into effect until January 1, 2021. This law, when in effect, will guarantee that those employees that have accrued time will be paid for their accrued time off, up to 40 hours in one year of employment.

Work-Related Illness – If the illness is work-related, the employee and employer should consult with the Maine Workers’ Compensation Board. For more information about the Worker’s Compensation Board, visit: maine.gov

For a downloadable copy of this information please click here.

Additional Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

World Health Organization

Johns’ Hopkins Global Outbreak Dashboard

Additional Blogs

“COVID-19: What Nobody Is Talking About”

What if I catch COVID-19? What if I am so sick that I can’t pay my bills or make medical decisions for myself? My family doesn’t know how to take care of me – what do I do? I am sure, if you are watching the news, you are seeing the daily reports of more … Continue reading

New U.S. House Legislation Related to Coronavirus

This is an update about the recent legislation passed by the US House of Representatives, H.R. 6201, “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” which would have several different impacts on employers.  Please note that this is just the House legislation and has not yet been acted on by the Senate, which may change these provisions. One … Continue reading

HR 6201 Creates new FMLA Entitlement and Paid Leave for Employees

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, HR 6201, was signed into law last night by the President.  There are two components to the law.  The following is a summary of both sections of the law.  We will continue to provide updates as they become available. The Public Health Emergency ‎Leave Law This law applies to … Continue reading