AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The Legislature is being asked to require all Maine businesses to give their employees time off if they’re sick. Democratic Senator Rebecca Millett of South Portland introduced the bill today. It would also require some larger employers to provide paid sick time. There’s no database of how many businesses already provide sick time or paid sick days. The Maine Department of Labor says it would be difficult to compile because there are a variety of sick time policies.
Sen. Millett and bill supporters said many workers don’t get any sick time off, or face some kind of discipline if they do take a sick day. They contended that its time for all workers to be allowed sick time and for businesses with fifty or more employees to provide paid sick days.
"Simply put, without sick leave Maine parents face challenges when there is a sick child. If mom and dad are sick and can’t take leave to get well again, they’re stuck in a real bind," said Millett.
But business advocates, including Curtis Picard of the Retail Association of Maine, said Wednesday the proposal would be an added burden to many businesses.
"My question is where will the money come from, " said Picard. "They keep bringing out these ideas and they are great ideas but ultimately where does the money come from to pay for it?
Picard said he believes most businesses already provide sick time, even though not all provide paid sick days.
The Maine Department of Labor said it has no statistics on how many businesses provide sick time or paid sick days, as policies often vary from one employer to the next.