Changes to Maine’s workers’ compensation law are set to take effect with the beginning of the new year.
The 129th session of the Maine Legislature made four key changes in the state’s workers’ comp law:
- Increase in maximum weekly benefit. The new law raises the limit on weekly benefits payments for injuries occurring after January 1, 2020, to 125% of the average weekly wage.
- Return of a cost-of-living adjustment. The new law reinstitutes a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for total incapacity cases with dates of injury on or after January 1, 2020. The amount of the annual COLAs, which are triggered after an employee has been receiving five years of benefits, is the percentage increase or decrease in the state average weekly wage, or 5%, whichever is less.
- Increased benefits to workers with partial incapacity. The law increases the durational cap on partial incapacity benefits from 10 to 12 years for injuries that occur on or after January 1, 2020. The law also eliminates some exceptions to the durational cap that were complicated and confusing to everyone involved in administering the state’s workers’ comp laws.
- Extension of time to give notice of injury. The new law extends the period in which employees must notify their employer of a work-related injury from 30 to 60 days. The new time period applies to injuries occurring on or after January 1, 2020.
For more information on the changes to Maine’s workers’ compensation law, see the July issue of Maine Employment Law Letter.