An Act To Retain Call Centers in Maine
Sec. 1. 26 MRSA c. 43 is enacted to read:
CALL CENTER RETENTION
§ 3501. Definitions
As used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise indicates, the following terms have the following meanings.
§ 3502. Notice requirement; list of employers
§ 3503. Grants; guaranteed loans; tax benefits
§ 3504. In-state procurement
An agency head shall ensure that all call center work contracted for by the agency is performed by contractors or their agents or subcontractors located entirely within the State.
§ 3505. State benefits for workers
This chapter may not be construed to permit withholding or denial of payments, compensation or benefits under any other state law, including state unemployment compensation, disability payments and worker retraining and readjustment funds, from or to employees employed by employers that relocate to a foreign country.
Sec. 2. Contract with State. An employer that on the effective date of this Act is under contract with the State to perform call center work and performs that work outside the State has 2 years to comply with the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 26, chapter 43, except that if the employer adds employees to perform call center work under the contract, the new employees must immediately be employed within the State.
Sec. 3. Effective date. This Act takes effect 180 days after adjournment of the First Regular Session of the 127th Legislature.
This bill requires the Commissioner of Labor to create a list of employers that have relocated a call center, or a facility or operating unit handling at least 30% of the call volume within a call center, from the State to a foreign country. An employer appearing on the list is ineligible for a state grant, loan or tax benefit for 2 years. The bill also requires the employer to pay back the unamortized value of a state grant, loan or tax benefit previously issued to the employer. The bill requires that call center work for executive branch agencies of the State be performed in the State. If the employer fails to notify the Commissioner of Labor of the relocation of a call center at least 60 days before the relocation, a daily fine of $350 may be assessed.