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New Minimum Wage Law to Take Effect in Maine on January 7, 2017

A December 15 press release from the Maine Department of Labor advises Maine employers of their legal obligations to workers now that changes to the state minimum wage have been passed via the ballot initiative Question 4.

Here is what you need to know about the new minimum wage law in Maine, effective January 7, 2017:

  • Affected employers include any business operating in the state of Maine with one employee, including all public or private employers regardless of size or profit.
  • The minimum wage for overtime-eligible employees will be $9 per hour. The new minimum salary for overtime-exempt employees will be $519.24 per week.
  • Employers will reserve the right to allow or deny overtime, but if overtime is worked, it must be compensated at a rate of 1.5 times the regular rate of pay. Different pay methods acceptable under state and federal law can be found here.
  • Beginning on January 7, the minimum direct service wage for tipped employees must be increased to $5 per hour and increase by an additional $1 per hour each year until it reaches the same amount as the annually adjusted state minimum wage. Employers may take a $4 tip credit in 2017 for service employees who customarily earn more than $30 a month in tips.
  • All employers are required to display the most recent state and federal minimum wage poster. These posters can be found on the website.
  • From January 7 through January 31, the department will not take enforcement actions against employers who fail to comply with the changes to the minimum salary requirement or the tip credit. However, employees may take private action if they feel they have been harmed by an employer’s actions. It is advised that affected employees consult with an attorney to learn more about their rights in this situation.

For legal guidance on matters related to this change in the law, we encourage you to contact Shaheen & Gordon, P.A. Our Maine employment law attorneys would be happy to review your case and help you understand your rights and obligations.