2011 Labor Law Update

Minimum Wage and Tips (Public Law 2011, Ch 118)—Defines the meaning of tip, describes when minimum wage and overtime laws apply, clarifies that tip pooling is a valid practice, and eliminates the provision that directs the employer to pay the service employee by the next regular payday for tips charged to a credit card.

Unemployment Benefits (Public Law 2011, Ch 2)—Permits the State to use a temporary three-year look-back period instead of the required two-year look-back period so the State’s long-term unemployed workers can continue to receive extended benefits.  Temporarily changes Maine law to reflect the trigger calculation change.

Unemployment Benefits (Public Law 2011, Ch 91)—Provides employers with a voluntary alternative to layoffs during a temporary slowdown in business. An employer may elect to avoid layoffs by reducing the number of regularly scheduled hours of work for all workers in a specific unit or department or the business as a whole. Unemployment insurance benefits for the reduced hours of work are then payable as a proportion of the benefit amount for a full week of unemployment. 

Employment Status of Private Investigators (Public Law 2011, Ch 66)—Exempts a private investigator from the definition of "employment" in the Employment Security Law if specific conditions are met.

Child Labor (Public Law 2011, Ch 174)—Extends the hours a student may work when school is in session from 20 to 24 hours per week and from four to six hours per day. Extends the time a student may work on a day preceding a scheduled school day from 10 p.m. to 10:15 p.m.

Employment of Tattoo Artists (Public Law 2011, Ch 70)—Excludes licensed tattoo artists from the definition of "employment" for purposes of unemployment compensation law (provided they operate within an establishment owned by another under a booth rental, or other rental agreement, and are not be subject to coverage under the Federal Unemployment Tax Act).

Report on Unemployment Trust Fund (Public Law 2011, Ch 212)—Directs the DOL to annually publish data on the content and usage of the Unemployment Compensation Fund, publish legislative changes affecting the content or usage of the Fund and the impact of those changes, and project the impact of proposed benefit changes on employer's experience classifications.

Unemployment Benefits (Resolve 2011, Ch 85)—Proposed increasing from five weeks to eight weeks the amount of time an employer may employ an employee without being charged for unemployment benefits.  Passed as a resolve, which ultimately turned into LD 1832.  (Final version increased from five weeks to six weeks.)

Substance Abuse Testing (Public Law 2011, Ch 196)—Passed as a resolve.  LCRED held a public hearing and work session but decided not to move forward.  MDOL plans to reintroduce in the 126th Legislative Session.