September 27, 2007
Augusta- Minimum wage earners will receive a raise in their hourly pay on October 1st, when the state minimum wage increases a quarter from $6.75 to $7.00 per hour.
“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.”
Approximately 26,000 Maine workers have earnings at or below the minimum wage. Although a segment of minimum wage earners are teens employed at their first jobs, the majority of individuals making at or below the minimum wage are adult workers. According to national numbers from the U.S. Department of Labor, 74 percent of workers earning at or below the minimum wage are over the age of 19, and 24 percent work full-time or more.
Certain employers are exempt from paying the minimum wage. Tipped employees may be paid one-half the regular minimum wage provided the employer makes up the difference if tips plus the hourly wage do not average at least the minimum wage. The Minimum Wage Poster, which employers must display, lists additional exemptions.
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.
In addition to the increase in the state minimum wage rate, the Maine Department of Labor reminds employers and workers of other recent changes in Maine labor law concerning family and military leave, work related clothing and equipment, unemployment eligibility, and employee tips. A summary of these law changes can be found under the “What’s New” section of the Maine Department of Labor website at www.maine.gov/labor/news_events or by calling (207) 623-7900 (TTY: 800-794-1110).