Employer Update from the Maine Department of Labor December/January


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.

Find a CareerCenter near you...

Free Labor Law Posters

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!

Upcoming Training


  • 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

    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.

    LD 1698, An Act To Streamline the Work Permitting Process for Minors and To Conform Allowable Places That Minors May Work to Federal Law, provides options to expedite the process for minors to obtain work permits and modernizes Maine law by adding work allowable under federal law, such as bowling alleys and movie theaters.

    For more information about these bills or testifying before the Legislature, contact Director of Legislative Affairs Susan Wasserott, susan.wasserott@maine.gov.

    Falling Unemployment Rate

    The Department of Labor tracks Maine's unemployment rate through our Center for Workforce Research and Information.  Maine's rate has fallen from 7.3 percent in January 2013 to 6.4 percent last November.

    “We have been working hard for three years to improve the business climate in Maine so our companies can do what they do best: create jobs,” said Governor Paul R. LePage.

    2014 Unemployment Tax Rate Information and Array Chart Now Available

    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

    The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a proposed rule to improve workplace safety and health by improving tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses.  Under this proposal:

    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.

    4. Data from the 300A and 300, except the employee's name, would be available to the public via the Internet.

    Interested parties may submit comment by Mar. 8, 2014.

    Commissioner Paquette

    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 insurance system.

    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.