What You Can Do Now to Prepare for ME PFML

During the last few months, our Acadia Benefits team has worked with customers to prepare for Maine’s Paid Family and Medical Leave (ME PFML) program. Beginning in May 2026, eligible workers will have 12 weeks of paid time available for family or medical reasons. Additional details about the program are available on Maine’s Department of Labor website, linked here.

Maine is the 13th state to offer a comprehensive paid family and medical leave program and we have experience supporting customers in other states who implemented similar laws. And one thing we have learned is it’s never too early to start planning! Even though the details of the ME PFML program are not yet fully defined (rulemaking is currently in process and draft rules likely won’t be released until at least the end of May), businesses should begin to prepare and think about the following:

  • Timeline – Employers will likely decide this November if the public or a private plan will be best for their business.
    • Option 1 is the state-run PFML. If employers select the state plan, they must start remitting premiums on January 1, 2025.
    • Option 2 is the private PFML.  An employer with an approved private plan under section 850-H is not required to remit premiums to the public fund.
    • Additional details about the state-run and private plan options, and a more detailed timeline, can be found in my previous blog post, linked here.
  • Budget – The program will be funded by employer/employee contributions. The exact contribution split will be determined during rulemaking, but for budgeting purposes, employers should consider:
    • Eligible workers include full-time, temporary, and seasonal employees, in the public and private sectors. Self-employed workers can opt-in to the program.
    • The maximum contribution rate per employee is 1% of an individual’s wage rate, capped at the Social Security wage base.
    • Employers with fewer than 15 employees are exempt from the employer contribution, but employees will fund 50% of the premium.
  • Administration – Employers will be responsible for deducting funds from employees each pay period.
    • If you select the public plan, these deductions will begin next January so talk with your payroll provider in the coming months to ensure plenty of time to prepare.
    • If you are currently offering short-term disability coverage, talk to your current carrier about ME PFML. While the program specifics are still being determined, many insurance providers have gone through this process in other states and are already preparing for this new law in Maine.
    • It is also important to think about the level of service provided by the company you select to administer your plan if you choose to go with a private plan. Whether you choose the public plan or a private plan, this will be another carrier/vendor you will be working with and you want to make sure it is a good fit for your business and your employees.
  • Employee Experience – There is no time like the present to start talking to your employees about this new program.
    • Your employees likely have heard about ME PFML and have questions about how this will affect their current benefits.
    • While there are a lot of unknowns about the specifics for employers, we do know the ME PFML will allow your employees to attend to their health and family, without a significant loss of income.
    • Your employees will be very excited about ME PFML and if you present this as a great benefit, they will only value your business more.

We will continue to share more information about ME PFML as it becomes available and expect to know more once the draft rules are available later this spring. If you have any questions about what you can do now to prepare for this new program, please be in touch. We are happy to schedule a time to discuss details further and our team is always available to help!


Kevin Kennedy


Looking for additional information on ME PFML? Check out the resources on our blog that provide other details about the program.

This information is general and is provided for educational purposes only. It reflects our understanding of the available guidance as of the date shown and is subject to change.  It is not intended to provide legal advice. You should not act on this information without consulting knowledgeable advisors.