The state of Maine on January 1 becomes the first state in the nation to mandate that employees be provided with general purpose paid time off – available for the employee to use for any reason whatsoever. The law provides that employers with more than 10 employees must provide their workers with 40 hours of general purpose paid leave annually at a rate of one hour earned for every 40 hours worked. It also allows for an employee’s general purpose paid leave to be carried over from one year to the next and at the time of termination, accrued leave is to be treated as wages earned and paid to the employee. That said, the employer is not required to approve move than 40 hours paid leave in any one-year period. Along a similar line, Family and Medical Leave becomes available to Massachusetts employees effective January 1. At that time, employees can actually begin applying for and taking the benefit. Employer registration is now open allowing for Bay State employers, regardless of size, to identify the individual within their company that would be serving as the paid leave administrator. The state’s new Department of Family and Medical Leave was created specifically to implement and manage the new mandate, which is funded by a payroll tax split between the employer and employee.