September 21, 2020
For Immediate Release: September 21, 2020
Maine's Minimum Wage to Increase to $12.15 Per Hour in 2021
AUGUSTA - The Maine Department of Labor (MDOL) announced today that effective January 1, 2021, the state minimum wage will increase from $12 to $12.15 per hour, based on data recently made available by the U.S. Department of Labors Bureau of Labor Statistics.
This increase is pursuant to Maine law (Maine statute 26 MRS 664), which requires annual adjustments to the minimum wage by the cost of living index (CPI-W) beginning in 2021. This follows $1 annual increases to the minimum wage each of the past three years.
Data indicates that approximately 78,000 Maine workers earned a wage less than $12 per hour in 2019, when the minimum wage was $11 per hour.
"In 2016 the citizens of Maine overwhelmingly voted to increase the States minimum wage incrementally to $12.00 an hour, and then index it annually," said Commissioner Laura Fortman. The modest 15 cent increase in 2021 will help the minimum wage keep pace with the cost of living and preserve the wage floor for minimum wage workers. According to a study conducted by MDOL in 2017, most workers in Maine earning minimum wage were 25 years old or older, and two thirds were women.
In addition to the minimum wage itself, the Department has calculated the new tip wage, or service employee minimum wage, in 2021 to be $6.08 per hour. This means that service employees must receive at least a direct cash wage of $6.08 per hour from the employer. The employer must be able to show that the employee receives at least the minimum wage of $12.15 per hour when the direct wage and tips are combined at the end of the week. More information on the service employee minimum wage can be found here: Minimum Wage and Overtime - http://legislature.maine.gov/statutes/26/title26sec664.html
The minimum salary threshold for exempting a worker from overtime pay is also based on the minimum wage. Starting January 1, 2021, the new minimum salary threshold is $700.97 per week, or $36,450 per year. This is only one of the factors used in determining whether a worker is exempt from overtime pay under federal or state law. The duties of each worker must be considered as part of this analysis. The law can be found here - http://legislature.maine.gov/legis/statutes/26/title26sec664.html . More information can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/labor_laws/wagehour.html .