State Law > Maine > Maine Meal and Rest Period Law

Maine Meal and Rest Period Law


Maine Meal and Rest Period Law

Maine's law regarding meal and rest provisions for employees can be found in Title 26, Chapter 7, Subchapter I-A of the Maine Revised Statutes. The state also provides provisions for nursing mothers in Title 5, Part 12, Section 4634.

601. Rest break

In the absence of a collective bargaining agreement or other written employer-employee agreement providing otherwise, an employee, as defined in section 663, may be employed or permitted to work for no more than 6 consecutive hours at one time unless he is given the opportunity to take at least 30 consecutive minutes of rest time, except in cases of emergency in which there is danger to property, life, public safety or public health. This rest time may be used by the employee as a mealtime.

1. Small business. This section does not apply to any place of employment where:

A. Fewer than 3 employees are on duty at any one time; and

B. The nature of the work done by the employees allows them frequent breaks during their work day.

602. Enforcement and penalty
The following provisions govern the enforcement of this subchapter.

1. Violation. Any employer who violates this subchapter commits a civil violation for which a forfeiture of not less than $100 nor more than $500 for each violation may be adjudged.

2. Discharge or discrimination. Any employer who discharges or in any other manner discriminates against any employee because the employee makes a complaint to the director, the district attorney or the Attorney General concerning a violation of this subchapter, commits a civil violation for which a forfeiture of not less than $100 nor more than $500 may be adjudged.

3. Injunction. If any provision of this subchapter is violated, the Attorney General may seek an injunction in the Superior Court to enjoin any further violations or to compel the reinstatement of an employee discharged or discriminated against as described in subsection 2.

603. Limits on mandatory overtime

1. Definitions. As used in this section, unless the context otherwise indicates, the following terms have the following meanings.

A. "Employer" means all private and public employers, including the State and political subdivisions of the State.

B. "Overtime" means the hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a calendar week.

2. Limits on mandatory overtime. An employer may not require an employee to work more than 80 hours of overtime in any consecutive 2-week period.

3. Exceptions. This section does not apply to:

A. Work performed in response to an emergency declared by the Governor under the laws of the State;

B. An employee who performs essential services for the public. For purposes of this paragraph, "essential services" means those services that are basic or indispensable and are provided to the public as a whole, including, but not limited to, utility service, snowplowing, road maintenance and telecommunications service;

C. An employee whose work is necessary to protect the public health or safety, when the excess overtime is required outside the normal course of business;

D. An individual exempt from the definition of employee in section 663, subsection 3, paragraph A, B, C, F, G, I or J;

E. A salaried employee who works in a bona fide executive capacity and whose regular compensation, when converted to an annual rate, exceeds 3000 times the State's minimum hourly wage;

F. An employee of a seasonal employer. For purposes of this paragraph, "seasonal employer" means an employer in an industry that operates in a regularly recurring period or periods of less than 26 weeks in a calendar year;

G. A medical intern or resident engaged in a graduate educational program approved by the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education, the American Board of Medical Specialties or the American Osteopathic Association at a health care facility. For purposes of this paragraph, "health care facility" has the same meaning as in Title 22, section 8702, subsection 4; or

H. An employee who works for an employer who shuts down an operation for annual maintenance or work performed in the construction, rebuilding, maintenance or repair of production machinery and equipment, including machine start-ups and shutdowns related to such activity. This exception applies to contractors of the employer that are providing services related to the activities in this paragraph. It does not apply to other operations not involved in the work stated in this paragraph. Notwithstanding this paragraph, a worker may not be required to work beyond the limits prescribed in subsection 2 for more than 4 consecutive weeks.

4. Lower limit by agreement. Employers and employees may agree to limit mandatory overtime to fewer hours than provided for in this section.

5. Exception for nurse. Notwithstanding subsection 2, a nurse may not be disciplined for refusing to work more than 12 consecutive hours. A nurse may be disciplined for refusing mandatory overtime in the case of an unforeseen emergent circumstance when overtime is required as a last resort to ensure patient safety. Any nurse who is mandated to work more than 12 consecutive hours, as permitted by this section, must be allowed at least 10 consecutive hours of off-duty time immediately following the worked overtime.

This subsection does not apply to overtime for performance of services described in subsection 3, paragraph A or C.

26 MRSA § 604. Nursing mothers in the workplace

An employer, as defined in section 603, subsection 1, paragraph A, shall provide adequate unpaid break time or permit an employee to use paid break time or meal time each day to express breast milk for her nursing child for up to 3 years following childbirth. The employer shall make reasonable efforts to provide a clean room or other location, other than a bathroom, where an employee may express breast milk in privacy. An employer may not discriminate in any way against an employee who chooses to express breast milk in the workplace.

4634. Right to breast-feed

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a mother may breast-feed her baby in any location, public or private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be.

Login to read more.


Username: *

Password: *
Accept terms *
Login failed.
copyright 2000 - 2019 Curtis Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. | Access to the HR Care publications is subject to certain terms and conditions.
Learn about our online compliance training at