BANGOR (AP) -Maine has received a near-failing grade for its lack of effective policies on paid sick leave for public and private sector workers, a national women and children’s advocacy group said.

The National Partnership for Women & Families, a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C., released a report Tuesday examining laws and regulations regarding paid sick leave for private businesses and state governments.Maine received a D-minus in the report.

The Maine Women’s Lobby, based in Augusta, assisted in releasing the report, which coincided with the introduction of federal legislation that would guarantee seven paid sick days per year for full-time employees.

According to the report, no state requires private businesses to guarantee their employees paid sick leave. Approximately 59 million workers do not have any sick leave. About 86 million workers, including those whose companies offer paid sick leave, cannot take paid time off from work to care for their sick children.

In Maine, 61 percent of employers offer sick leave for full-time employees and 30 percent offer it to part-time workers, said Sarah Standiford, spokeswoman for the Maine Women’s Lobby.

Thousands of Maine workers, including single parents, are forced to take time off from work without pay if someone in the family is sick, she said.

David Clough, executive director of the Maine chapter of the National Federation of Independent Businesses, said paid sick time costs small businesses money that many of them cannot afford.

In March, the Legislature’s labor committee killed any attempt to create legislation that would have required businesses employing 15 or more employees to give at least five days of paid sick leave a year to most workers.

Peter Gore, a senior governmental affairs officer with the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, said numerous companies estimate that it would add between $30,000 and $100,000 to their annual business cost if they were required by the state to offer a minimum five days of paid sick leave. “I’ve had businesses tell me, If this goes into effect, we’ll have to close our doors or move.’ Is this a good thing?” Gore asked.

Five states fared above a B-minus grade in the report. California received the highest grade of B-plus. Businesses there are required to give workers flexibility to use paid sick time to care for a sick family member.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.