Maybe you are looking to change careers, gain new skills, rejoin the workforce after retiring, or looking for part-time work – below are some resources that you may find helpful.
Are you an employer? Check out this feature on the benefits and strategies for making the workplace more age inclusive from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH): https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/newsroom/feature/older-workers.html
Preparing and Searching for Work
There are many employment-related workshops available, including virtually. For example, check out “Searching for Work : Age 55+ With or Without Health & Physical Restriction” by Workforce Solutions: https://www.mainecareercenter.com/employment/workshops.shtml
Disability affects everyone, and in different ways. Maybe as you have gotten older, your sight or hearing have changed, making work a bit more difficult. The Maine Department of Labor’s Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS) offers programs through the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR), the Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired (DBVI), and the Division for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing & Late Deafened (DHHLD).
Vocational Rehabilitation Program (VR) provides help to youth and adults who have physical, mental, or emotional disabilities to find, keep and advance in employment, including individualized career planning, training, work experiences and supportive services: https://www.maine.gov/rehab/dvr/
Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired (DBVI) provides help to individuals of all ages with visual impairments, including vocational assessment, individual counseling, independent travel skills, and other training, equipment, and follow-up services to support successful employment: https://www.maine.gov/rehab/dbvi/index.shtml
The Division for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing & Late Deafened (DHHLD) provides services and resources, including a comprehensive resource guide, information, advocacy, referrals, Deaf identification cards, vehicle placards, and a discount on in-state TTY calls: https://www.maine.gov/rehab/dod/index.shtml
CareerCenter staff provide no-cost customized services to help someone find a job that interests them and help them get the skills they need to be successful. All services are available both online and in-person, with locations across the state. You can get help with career exploration, resume development, interview tips and practice, or connect with training and other opportunities to reach your career goals. Check out the CareerCenter Resource Guide: https://www.maine.gov/labor/careerctr/docs/2021/JobSeekerGuide.pdf
Visit the CareerCenter website, www.mainecareercenter.gov. There are many resources available online, and you can live-chat with one of our staff. You can also call (207)-623-7981 or email MaineDOL.CareerCenter@maine.gov for more information on workshops, job fairs, and other opportunities you may be interested in.
Maine CareerCenters: Connect with a Veteran’s Representative, and get help with finding a new job, obtaining new skills, and getting access to other state or federal resources. Veterans and eligible spouses are given priority over non-veterans for receiving employment, training, and placement services. The Maine Department of Labor Veterans Employment Team Facebook page offers connections to resources, announcements, videos, and more: https://www.facebook.com/MaineDOLVET/
The Maine Hire-A-Vet Campaign provides support for the hiring of veterans through a network of state and federal agencies, resources and nonprofits, education on military language and culture, recruiting and hiring assistance, as well as recognition for the hiring and advancement of veterans and military family members. It holds a variety of hiring and employment events every year: https://www.mainecareercenter.com/mhav/
You can browse thousands of job openings and upload your resume for no-cost on the Maine JobLink: https://joblink.maine.gov/.
Maine CareerCenters are constantly hosting hiring events in collaboration with employers throughout the state! Find one near you: https://www.mainecareercenter.com/employment/hiringevents/
Unemployment Insurance is a temporary partial-wage replacement that is paid for through employer taxes. It allows job seekers to have some financial stability while they figure out their next career step.
To be eligible for unemployment, you need to meet the following requirements:
- You lost your job through no fault of your own
- You must be actively seeking work
- You must be able and available to work
- You must have enough work history and earnings in the past approximately 18 months to be “Monetarily eligible”.
We encourage everyone who thinks they may be eligible to apply.
Find more information here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/
Create an account and apply here: https://reemployme.maine.gov
Have questions? Contact unemployment at 1-800-593-7660.
The Maine Department of Labor’s Center for Workforce Research and Information (CWRI) provides research and analysis of employment data to support job growth. This information can be helpful when looking at career paths and training needs. For example, based on Job Outlook to 2030, CWRI has highlighted a number of occupations considered "in-demand" by expected employment opportunities from average annual job openings between 2020 and 2030. High demand means the occupation is expected to have at least 20 openings per year between 2020 and 2030, and high wage indicates a median wage above the $20.65 per hour / $42,950 per year median wage of all Maine occupations in 2021. Wages have been updated with 2022 estimates where available. View here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/data/oes/hwid.html
Registered apprenticeship is an industry-driven, high-quality career pathway where employers can develop and prepare their future workforce, and individuals can count on receiving four things: paid on the job work experience, related classroom instruction, alignment of training with skills standards, and a nationally recognized, portable credential.
We like to use the phrase “learn while you earn” when describing the mutual benefits of this program. Apprenticeship is a way for workers to receive the training and support they need to be successful in a new career, while earning a wage, and for employers to play a direct role in training their workforce for jobs of today and tomorrow. For more information, visit: https://www.maine.gov/labor/jobs_training/apprenticeship/
The Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) is a grant administered by the United States Department of Labor that provides work-training opportunities for low income persons aged 55 or older. More information: https://www.maine.gov/dhhs/oads/get-support/older-adults-disabilities/older-adult-services/scsep
It is unlawful employment discrimination, except when based on a bona fide occupational qualification, for any employer to fail or refuse to hire or otherwise discriminate against any applicant for employment because of race or color, sex, sexual orientation or gender identity, physical or mental disability, religion, age, ancestry, national origin or familial status. The full law can be found here: https://legislature.maine.gov/legis/statutes/5/title5sec4572.html
You can get Social Security retirement benefits and work at the same time. However, if you are younger than full retirement age and make more than the yearly earnings limit, the benefit will be reduced. Starting with the month you reach full retirement age, your benefits would not be reduced no matter how much you earn. For more information click here.You can also return to work while receiving Social Security disability benefits. For more information click here.
On the Job
Minimum Wage: Effective January 1, 2024, the minimum wage in Maine is $14.15 per hour. More info: https://www.maine.gov/labor/docs/2023/posters/minimumwage2023_English.pdf
Overtime: Unless specifically exempted, employees must receive overtime pay for hours worked in excess of 40 in a workweek at a rate not less than time and one and one-half their regular rate of pay. Employers have the right to allow or deny overtime, but if overtime is worked, it must be paid in accordance with state requirements. Compensatory or “comp” time cannot be used by private sector employers, although private-sector employers can allow employees to flex their time within the workweek (but not the pay period if the pay period is longer than a seven day cycle in the workweek).
Salaried Workers: Exempt Versus Non-Exempt Guide: https://www.maine.gov/labor/docs/2021/laborlaws/Salaried%20Workers%20Guidance%20rev%2009.27.2021.pdf
Break Time: In the absence of a collective bargaining agreement or other written employer-employee agreement providing otherwise, an employee, as defined in section 663, may be employed or permitted to work for no more than 6 consecutive hours at one time unless the employee is given the opportunity to take at least 30 consecutive minutes of rest time, except in cases of emergency in which there is danger to property, life, public safety or public health. This rest time may be used by the employee as unpaid mealtime, but only if the employee is completely relieved of duty.
1. Small business. This section does not apply to any place of employment where:
A. Fewer than 3 employees are on duty at any one time; and
B. The nature of the work done by the employee allows the employee frequent paid breaks of a shorter duration during the employee's work day.
Earned Paid Leave: In 2021, the most progressive paid leave policy in the country went into effect in Maine. ‘An Act Authorizing Earned Employee Leave’ guarantees earned time off, for whatever reason, for employees who work for a business with more than 10 employees. Employees accrue 1 hour of Earned Paid Leave for every 40 hours worked, up to 40 hours in a defined year. More information and FAQs: www.maine.gov/labor/labor_laws/earnedpaidleave/
State Family Medical Leave: Maine’s Family Medical Leave laws apply to an employee that has worked for the same employer for at least 12 consecutive months. The employee would be entitled to up to 10 workweeks of job-protected unpaid Family Medical Leave in any two years. However, employers with fewer than 15 employees employed at a permanent work site are exempt. Employers may provide paid leave at their discretion.
Federal Family Medical Leave Act: The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons with continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave. Federal law (FMLA) applies to businesses with 50 or more employees and provides up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave. More information: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/fmla
Equal Pay Law: Are you being paid less than an employee of the opposite sex for performing comparable work? If so, ask yourself the following questions: Does the other employee’s job have comparable requirements relating to skill, effort, and responsibility? Does the other employee have similar training, education or experience relating to the jobs performed? Does your employer prohibit you from talking about your wages with your coworkers? If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, you may want to file an Equal Pay Complaint. The Maine Department of Labor has a printable complaint form which you may access here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/labor_laws/publications/epcomplaintform.pdf
If you have questions or think your rights have been violated, please contact MDOL’s Wage & Hour Division at 207-623-7900 or email@example.com.
The Maine Department of Labor’s Workplace Safety and Health Division and SafetyWorks! Training Institute specializes in practical solutions to help make workplaces safer and healthier.
To browse and sign up for safety classes, visit https://www.safetyworksmaine.gov/
We want your workplace to be as safe and healthy as possible. Please email SafetyWorks! if there's anything we can do to help you.