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September 26, 2006
Augusta - Minimum wage earners will receive a raise in their hourly pay on October 1st, when the state minimum wage increases a quarter from $6.50 to $6.75 per hour. This is the first in a two step increase which will lift the minimum wage rate to $7.00 per hour in October 2007.
"Here in Maine and across the country we are facing rising fuel, housing, and health care costs," said Labor Commissioner Laura Fortman. "By increasing the minimum wage, we are taking a small step in providing our lowest paid workers with a greater ability to support themselves and their families."
This is the second minimum wage increase signed into law by Governor Baldacci. He identified it in his State of the State Address as a crucial step to reward work and workers. The Governor said during the State of the State: "Maine men and women should be able to earn a living wage so they can support their families. There is no safety net better than a job with benefits and training. Our minimum wage should not lag behind other states in our region."
The minimum wage rates for the New England States are: CT-$7.40; MA-$6.75; R.I.-$7.10; VT-$7.25. New Hampshire is the only state in New England with the same rate as the federal level of $5.15 per hour. Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island's minimum wages are all set to rise again in January of 2007.
Commissioner Fortman stated that: "the federal minimum wage has not increased in 9 years, but Maine and 20 other states around the country recognize that $5.15 per hour isn't enough to meet an individual's cost of living needs. It is time to give these workers a raise."
Maine law requires employers to display the minimum wage poster. An updated version of the Maine Minimum Wage Poster is available at no cost on the Maine Department of Labor website at: www.maine.gov/labor/posters/minimumwage.pdf (PDF file).
For more information about Maine's wage and hour laws, contact the Maine Department of Labor at 207-624-6400 (TTY: 800-794-1110).