Employer Update from the Maine Department of Labor December/January
Maine Department of Labor sent this bulletin at 01/10/2014 04:27 PM EST
Tips and tools to
lower costs, strengthen your workforce, work safely and comply with the law.
Volume 1. Issue 4. December/January 2014
In this issue: 2014 Legislation on Drug Testing and Teen Work Permits, Blue Ribbon Commission Report on the Unemployment System, Falling Unemployment Rate, Free Labor Law Posters, 2014 Unemployment Tax Rates Posted, Spring Job Fairs, Funds Available for Businesses to Accommodate People with Disabilities
Spring Job Fairs
Planning for your spring and summer hiring needs? Contact your local CareerCenter to learn about the upcoming Job Fairs in your area. If you don't want to wait for a job fair, the CareerCenter can assist you with posting your jobs on the Maine Job Bank and conducting an on-site recruitment at the CareerCenter.
Both the required and the
optional posters under both state and federal law are available for downloading and printing free of charge. Make sure yours are up to date!
SafetyWorks!can help you prevent work-related injuries, illnesses
and deaths and reduce related costs. Our services are free and
confidential and we do not issue fines or citations.
We help keep workers safe and healthy. And we help businesses thrive, because
you will save four to six dollars for every dollar you invest in safety.
The old adage is true — it pays to be safe!
6: Automotive Lift/Jack Stand Safety
9: Hazard Communication/Global Harmonization
10: Forklift Operator
14: Back Injury Prevention
15: Machine Guarding
16 & 17: OSHA 1926 10-Hour Construction Standards
21: Safety Officer Training for New Safety Officers
28: Scaffolding & Fall Protection
29: Lead Safety Training
30: Confined Space Entry
3 & 4: 10-Hour Construction Standards
6: A Practical Approach to NFPA 70E
11: Hazard Communication/Global Harmonization
12: Health & Wellness
13 & 14: 10-Hour General Industry Standards
20: Fire Extinguisher/Emergency Action Plan
21: Video Display Terminal Train-the-Trainer
25: Bloodborne Pathogens Train-the-Trainer
26: Vehicle Ergonomics
27: Driver Awareness, Bangor
28: Establishing a Safety Committee Meeting
Maine’s Job Bank has more than 23,000 active job seekers and allows employers to
post their jobs for free online.Take advantage
of this job board when making your next hire!
2014 Department Legislation of Note for Employers
The department has submitted several bills for this session. LD 1669, An Act To Standardize and Simplify the Process for
Employers To Provide a Drug-free Workplace, would provide employers with a consistent model for
developing a drug-free policy, remove the EAP requirement for employers with
more than 20 employees, remove the requirement that employers with more than 20
employees must pay for half of rehabilitation above and beyond services
provided through health care benefits, and remove the probable-cause single
accident exclusion. This bill will increase protection, reduce costs, and provide
consistency across employers for enforcement purposes.
Rates have dropped to the Schedule D level, the lowest rate since 2009. To put this in real dollars, employers will see an annual decrease ranging between $19.20 per employee for those paying the minimum rate and $169.20 for those paying the maximum rate. Employers paying the average rate will see a decrease of
$64.80 per employee. Employers pay taxes on only the first $12,000 of an employee's wages.
Notices were sent to businesses in December. Please call your local field representative with any rate questions:
Augusta area: (207) 621-5120
Bangor area: (207) 561-4094
Brunswick area: (207) 373-4009
Lewiston area: (207) 753-9088
Portland area: (207) 822-0212
Presque Isle area: (207) 768-6813
Saco area: (207) 286-2677
Wilton area: (207) 645-5825
Funds Available To Help Businesses Accommodate Employees with Disabilities
The mPower Loan Fund provides Maine citizens and businesses
with affordable loans to create access or buy equipment related to disability. Loans of $250 to $100,000 are available to Maine businesses
and residents for adaptive equipment, assistive technology and such modifications as accessible restrooms, ramps, elevators, lifts, workplace
accommodations and adapted vans. Loan terms and payments are based on
the applicant’s ability to repay the loan. Interest rates are currently
at Prime Rate plus 2 percent and are at favorable terms.
Contact: FAME (800) 228-3734 (voice) or (207) 626-2717 (TTY)
for business loans and Alpha One (800) 640-7200 for personal loans.
Comment Sought on Proposed Federal Injury-Reporting Rule
1)Certain establishments with at least 250 employees would be required to
electronically submit their OSHA form 300 on a quarterly basis to OSHA.
2)Certain establishments with at least 20 employees would be required to
electronically submit their OSHA summary form 300A on an annual basis to OSHA.
3. Upon request from OSHA,
certain employers would be required to submit specific information about cases
from their OSHA 301 incident report.
from the 300A and 300, except the employee's name, would be available to the public via the Internet.
parties may submit comment by Mar. 8, 2014.
Jeanne Paquette, Commissioner of Labor
From the Commissioner
The Blue Ribbon Commission Report on the Unemployment System
In December, The Unemployment Reform Blue Ribbon Commission
delivered its report to Governor LePage. This commission, co-chaired by former
Chief Justice of the Maine Supreme Court Daniel Wathen and Hon. George M.
Jabar, II, commissioner for Kennebec County and practicing attorney in
Waterville, was tasked with reviewing various complaints and concerns raised by
Maine citizens and businesses about the consistency and objectivity of the unemployment
The Governor said that this report, “confirmed several of my
concerns surrounding payments to people who are later found ineligible to
receive benefits, problems associated with delayed receipt of benefits, lack of
effective communication necessary to standardize decision-making, and
inconsistent application of evidence standards relating to business records.
These are serious flaws in the system.”
The report provided unanimous recommendations identifying reforms
to improve the unemployment system. The department has already begun to
implement the recommendations, including improving staffing, increasing communication
between the different parts of the system, and ensuring consistency in the application
of the law, especially surrounding business records in the appeals process. In
addition, we are exploring possible legislation to clarify the definition of misconduct,
as several other states have done recently.We will continue to keep you informed on this progress.
Procter & Gamble Features Maine Facility in National Promotion Video
P&G has produced a video showcasing the P&G/Tambrands
FlexiCenter story as a tool
to use with other P&G companies in North America that want to duplicate the
model or use a similar model to integrate individuals with disabilities into
their workforce. P&G worked with the Maine Department of Labor in developing the program featured in the video. Discover how we can assist you by calling 1-855-ALL-HIRE.
Pamela Taylor, director of the Bureau of Labor Standards (right), presents Chief Kiskila of the Cushing
Fire Department with the Safety and Health Award for Public Employers (SHAPE). SHAPE recognizes
public sector employers who maintain an exemplary safety and health
management system, protecting their workers and saving their towns and taxpayers money. The Department's safety recognition program for private sector employers is SHARP: Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program.
Employer Contacts for the Maine Department of Labor