Minimum Wage in Maine: Essential Facts and Updates for 2023

The minimum wage has been a crucial aspect of labor laws throughout the United States. In Maine, setting an appropriate minimum wage is essential for protecting worker rights while balancing the needs of employers and the overall economy. With annual cost-of-living adjustments based on the Consumer Price Index for the Northeast Region, Maine’s minimum wage laws have undergone several changes in recent years.

In 2021, Maine’s minimum wage was $12.15 per hour, providing employees a baseline income to support their livelihoods. This state-mandated minimum wage is subject to additional regulations in cities such as Bangor and Portland, where local ordinances may increase wage requirements. Furthermore, Maine’s minimum wage was adjusted to $12.75 per hour on January 1, 2022, and increased to $13.80 per hour since January 1, 2023.

Employers and employees must stay informed about their rights and responsibilities under Maine’s minimum wage laws. Dispute resolution, legal action, and appropriate record-keeping requirements are crucial to ensuring that workers are fairly compensated and that businesses comply with these wage regulations.

Key Takeaways

  • Maine’s minimum wage increased to $12.75 per hour in 2022 and $13.80 per hour since January 1, 2023
  • Local ordinances in cities like Bangor and Portland may impose additional minimum wage regulations.
  • Compliance with minimum wage laws in Maine requires diligent record-keeping and a clear understanding of employee rights and employer responsibilities.

Current Minimum Wage Rates

State Minimum Wage

The current minimum wage rate in Maine is $13.80 per hour. This applies to most employees in the state, excluding some specific exemptions such as tipped employees, certain student workers, and other exempt occupations. This rate is higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, reflecting Maine’s commitment to providing a more comfortable living wage for its workers.

Tip Wage and Direct Cash Wage

In Maine, service employees, such as those who work at restaurants and receive tips as part of their compensation, are subject to different minimum wage standards. Employers are required to pay tipped employees a direct cash wage of at least $6.39 per hour with the expectation that tips received will make up the remaining portion of the standard minimum wage, which brings their total earnings up to or beyond $13.80 per hour.

Tipped employees must be informed of their employers’ tip credit provisions in writing. It is important to note that the employer is legally obligated to make up the difference if the combined total of their direct cash wage and tips falls below the $13.80 per hour minimum.

In summary, the current minimum wage rates in Maine are as follows:

  • State Minimum Wage: $13.80 per hour for most employees
  • Tip Wage: Applies to service employees who receive tips as part of their compensation
  • Direct Cash Wage: At least $6.39 per hour for tipped employees, with additional tips making up the difference to reach the state minimum wage of $13.80 per hour.

Minimum Wage Laws and Regulations

Maine Department of Labor

In Maine, the minimum wage is regulated by state law and enforced by the Maine Department of Labor. The state’s minimum wage has seen consecutive increases in recent years. As of January 1, 2022, the minimum wage in Maine is $12.75 per hour. Employers must keep accurate records of hours worked and wages paid to all employees for at least three years. Employees and employers may seek legal advice or contact the Maine Department of Labor for questions about the law or specific situations.

Maine’s minimum wage law additionally addresses overtime pay. The overtime rate must be at least 1.5 times the employee’s regular hourly rate for all hours worked beyond 40. Some exemptions to the state minimum wage and overtime regulations exist and can be found in 26 MRS §663.3.

U.S. Department of Labor

At the federal level, the U.S. Department of Labor is responsible for enforcing minimum wage and overtime regulations by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). While Maine’s minimum wage is higher than the federally mandated minimum wage, employees in the state are still subject to the FLSA’s direct wage and overtime provisions if they are not covered by state law.

It is essential to note that some exemptions to the federal minimum wage may differ from those offered by the state of Maine. Moreover, the FLSA regulates the service employee minimum wage, known as the tip credit. Employees who receive tips can be paid a lower direct wage, provided that the combination of tips and the direct wage amounts to at least the federal or state minimum wage, whichever is higher.

Furthermore, salaried employees who meet specific criteria may be exempt from overtime pay. To be considered exempt, employees must meet the minimum salary threshold established by the FLSA and perform specific duties outlined in its criteria. The exemptions from overtime pay and the minimum salary threshold can be updated periodically by the federal government.

Determining Minimum Wage Eligibility

In Maine, the minimum wage is determined according to state regulations and local ordinance considerations. As of January 1, 2022, the minimum wage in Maine is $12.75 per hour, which increased to $13.80 per hour on January 1, 2023.

To determine minimum wage eligibility, one must consider the following factors:

  • Duties of each worker: Employers and employees should evaluate the job responsibilities and tasks each worker performs. Specific exemptions might apply to the state minimum wage, so it is essential to have a clear understanding of each worker’s role.
  • Salary threshold: To be ineligible for the minimum wage, workers must meet both the salary threshold and duties test. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets the salary threshold for exempt workers not subject to minimum wage and overtime.
  • Jurisdiction: The minimum wage may vary depending on whether the employee works in a location with a higher local minimum wage than the state minimum. Employers must ensure they comply with both state and local regulations.
  • Training: Certain training, internship, or apprenticeship programs may be exempt from meeting the minimum wage requirements. Employers should confirm their training programs align with state guidelines before exempting workers.
  • Exempting a worker: Employers should be cautious when exempting a worker from the minimum wage, as they must meet specific criteria. Some exempt workers include executive, administrative, professional, and outside sales employees, as long as they meet the salary and duties tests.

For service employees, like those who regularly receive more than $175 a month in tips, employers must pay a direct wage of at least $6.90 per hour in Maine since January 1, 2023. The employer must make up the difference if an employee’s direct wage and tips do not average the minimum wage.

Employers also have recordkeeping and poster requirements under federal, state, and municipal regulations. Typically, three sets of minimum wage posters must be posted and updated regularly. Employers should stay current on all regulation changes to comply with minimum wage requirements.

Cost of Living Adjustments

In Maine, the minimum wage rate surpasses the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. This change is in response to demands for a living wage that is fair to workers and considers the cost of living in the area.

MaineCare, the state’s Medicaid program, also increases reimbursement rates for certain services through a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) as directed by Maine P.L. 2021, ch. 639 and 22 MRSA Section 7402, as enacted by Maine P.L. 2021, ch. 398, Part A AAA. Specifically, the COLA will be effective from July 1, 2023, raising the reimbursement rates by 8.24% above the currently established rates.

To assess the cost of living, experts often refer to the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W), provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The CPI-W measures changes in the prices of goods and services that affect urban wage earners and clerical workers. It is a reliable benchmark for understanding cost-of-living trends and adjusting wages accordingly.

As the cost of living in Maine increases, the state’s approach to minimum wage rates and cost-of-living adjustments ensures workers maintain their purchasing power and can afford the essentials like housing, groceries, utilities, and other necessities.

By keeping track of the Bureau of Labor Statistics data and the CPI-W, Maine demonstrates its commitment to acknowledging the needs of its workers and adjusting wages accordingly, providing a higher quality of life for its residents.

Employment Benefits and Protections

Time Off and Breaks

In Maine, employees are entitled to certain time off and breaks. Employers must provide a 30-minute break for their employees if they work for more than 6 hours consecutively. This break is unpaid and should ideally be scheduled in the middle of the work period.

Regarding leave, Maine law requires employers to provide eligible employees with family medical leave for up to 10 weeks in 2 years. Additionally, employers may offer vacation pay as part of their benefits package, although it is not legally mandated.

Retirement and Insurance Benefits

Retirement and insurance benefits may be offered by employers in Maine, but they are not mandated by state law. Employers offering these benefits can offer their employees various options, such as 401(k) plans, pensions, and health insurance. Employees need to understand the specific benefits and eligibility requirements provided by their employer.

Local Minimum Wages in Maine

Maine has a statewide minimum wage increased to $13.80 per hour on January 1, 2023. This minimum wage applies to most workers; however, certain municipalities have implemented their own local minimum wage ordinances. These local regulations can create variations in minimum wage rates within the northeast region.

One example is the city of Portland. Effective January 1, 2016, Portland established a local minimum wage ordinance that may impose different rates and regulations on employers within the city limits. Employers with employees working in municipalities such as Portland or Bangor or any other municipality that has passed a local minimum wage ordinance should check with municipal officials for additional regulations.

Employees designated as service employees who receive tips have different wage requirements. As of January 1, 2022, the direct service wage in Maine cannot be less than $6.90 per hour. If the employee’s weekly wages and tips do not average at least the state minimum wage ($13.80 per hour), the employer must increase their direct service wage accordingly.

Regarding regulatory requirements, employers in Maine are still liable for all recordkeeping and poster requirements under federal, state, and municipal regulations. It is essential to be aware of the various minimum wage posters and updates needed for compliance with all relevant levels of regulation.

In conclusion, it is important for employers and employees operating in Maine to be aware of both statewide and local minimum wage ordinances, as they can differ significantly. Staying informed and adhering to regulations will help ensure compliance and protect the rights of all workers in the state.

Maine Compared to Other States

Maine’s minimum wage currently stands at $13.80 per hour for 2023, a substantial increase from the previous rate of $12.75. This increase of $1.05, or 8.2%, positions Maine’s minimum wage as one of the highest in the region. There are mixed results when comparing Maine to its neighboring states in New England.

Neighboring Vermont has a slightly lower minimum wage at $12.55 per hour. However, due to inflation, Vermont’s minimum wage is set to increase yearly. New Hampshire differs significantly, as its minimum wage follows the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour. Despite this, many employers in New Hampshire pay a higher rate, closer to those of the neighboring states.

Massachusetts boasts a higher minimum wage than Maine, at $14.25 per hour. The Massachusetts minimum wage will increase incrementally, reaching $15.00 per hour by 2023. Connecticut, another neighboring state, is also on a similar trajectory. Currently, its minimum wage is set at $13.00 per hour and is set to increase to $15.00 per hour by 2023.

Lastly, Rhode Island has a minimum wage of $12.25 per hour, with planned increases in the coming years. This places Rhode Island’s minimum wage below that of Maine but still higher than New Hampshire and Vermont.

In conclusion, Maine’s minimum wage of $13.80 per hour is among the higher rates in the New England region. Massachusetts and Connecticut have slightly higher rates and are set to reach $15.00 per hour by 2023, while Vermont, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island have lower minimum wages.

Issues with Enforcement and Compliance

Minimum Wage Violations

Enforcement of minimum wage laws in Maine is overseen by the Bureau of Labor Standards, which operates under Maine statute 26 MRS 664. Despite the oversight, there have been instances where some organizations have paid their workers less than the minimum wage. For example, a Maine nonprofit was found to have paid some of its workers with disabilities as little as $2 to $3 an hour. Such cases violate the Fair Labor Standards Act and raise concerns about the enforcement and compliance of the minimum wage laws in the state.

Standard minimum wage violations include incorrect deductions, missed payroll, and non-payment for overtime work. These can lead to worker’s rights cases being filed with the Wage and Hour Division, which handles workplace safety complaints, among other labor-related issues.

Penalties for Violations

When addressing minimum wage violations, instituting a “private right of action” clause can be employed. Under this regulation, workers who believe they have been underpaid can either take legal action or, more commonly, seek legal counsel and sue their employer for the lost wages.

Efforts to curtail non-compliance and improve enforcement measures could include:

  • Targeted labor inspections
  • Sanctions that act as a deterrent to non-compliance
  • Monitoring and responsible purchasing practices within global supply chains
  • Public employment programs that pay minimum wages

By addressing these concerns, Maine can strive to ensure that the enforcement and compliance of its minimum wage laws are effective and thorough, protecting workers’ rights and interests.

Dispute Resolution and Legal Action

In Maine, minimum wage disputes and legal actions may involve various entities such as state statutes, municipalities, public entities, and enforcement actions. The state statute sets the minimum wage, which is subject to change annually. For example, as of January 1, 2022, the minimum wage in Maine is $12.75 per hour.

Municipalities and public entities in Maine must abide by the state’s minimum wage regulations while also considering any specific ordinances enacted within their jurisdictions. In addition, these organizations must comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) on overtime rules and tip credits issues.

For disputes involving potential FLSA violations, employees may access resources like the overtime advisor calculating tool, which enables them to estimate the appropriate overtime compensation based on hours worked, tip credits, and other parameters. These tools help workers understand their rights under federal and state labor laws.

Regarding enforcement actions, Maine allows for a “private right of action” clause, which addresses the enforcement of municipal ordinances. If an employee believes they are underpaid, they can choose to take court action. They can also seek legal counsel and sue the employer for lost wages, attorney fees, court costs, and liquidated damages.

The Maine Labor Relations Board oversees collective bargaining and dispute resolution for public-sector employees and employers. It maintains a database of public-sector collective bargaining agreements. This resource assists labor organizations and employers during contract negotiations by providing access to contracts involving similarly situated parties.

In summary, state statutes, municipalities, public entities, enforcement actions, and various tools are significant in resolving minimum wage disputes and legal actions in Maine. Parties involved in such disputes should follow their rights and the applicable regulations to ensure fair treatment and compliance with the law.

Information and Record-Keeping Requirements

Poster and Notice Requirements

Maine employers must display posters and notices about minimum wage laws at their worksites. These posters should contain information about the current minimum wage rate of $13.80 per hour as of January 1, 2023, and any municipal minimum wage ordinances in effect, such as those in Portland and Bangor. Employers must stay current with minimum wage law changes and adjust their posters accordingly. Poster requirements help ensure employees are informed about their rights and wage rates.

Record Keeping for Employers

To comply with Maine’s wage and hour laws, employers must maintain accurate records of employee wages, hours worked, and other relevant information. These records should include details about pay rates, overtime pay, deductions, and tips received by service employees. Employers must also adhere to jurisdictional requirements for the state and municipalities where employees work.

In the event of a wage dispute or complaint, accurate record-keeping is essential for helping to establish compliance with wage and hour laws. Enforcement of these laws typically falls under Maine’s Department of Labor, but cases of potential violations of local minimum wage ordinances could be subject to the jurisdiction of municipal officials.

Employers must be aware of any headquarters or office requirements related to record keeping. Ensuring that all relevant records are accurate and up-to-date is crucial for avoiding potential violations and ensuring compliance with state and municipal wage and hour laws.

In summary, employers in Maine must display posters with information about minimum wage rates and comply with record-keeping requirements to ensure they adhere to state and municipal wage and hour laws. Accurate record-keeping and up-to-date poster displays can help employers remain confident and knowledgeable about their responsibilities and help maintain a clean and neutral environment for employees.

Special Provisions and Exemptions

Maine’s minimum wage laws contain various special provisions and exemptions tailored to accommodate different types of workers and employers. As of January 1, 2022, the minimum wage in Maine is $12.75 per hour. Different provisions and exemptions may apply to various entities, including severance pay, prevailing wages, women, minors, commissioner, and uniform minimum wage regulations.

The state’s minimum wage laws do not mandate severance pay, but employers may offer it at their discretion. Prevailing wage laws apply to public works projects, ensuring that construction workers are paid a rate determined by the labor commissioner. This guarantees that wages in public projects align with local industry standards.

By federal law, women and men must receive equal pay for equal work. The state of Maine is committed to eradicating any form of wage discrimination based on gender. Employers are required to comply with these provisions, ensuring that wage gaps are minimized.

Minors, particularly those aged 16 and 17, may be paid a training wage of $11.20 per hour during their first 90 days of employment. After 90 days, employers must pay them the standard Maine minimum wage.

The labor commissioner has the authority to issue regulations and guidelines related to the state’s minimum wage laws. These guidelines ensure that employers adhere to requirements, exemptions, and special provisions about wage payment.

Lastly, uniform minimum wage provisions in Maine ensure that all workers receive at least the statewide minimum wage. However, municipalities may pass local minimum wage ordinances subjecting employers in those areas to additional regulations.

Both employees and employers must remain knowledgeable about the special provisions and exemptions in Maine’s minimum wage laws. Compliance with these regulations contributes to a fair and compliant work environment for all involved parties.


Maine’s minimum wage laws have been evolving to ensure workers receive fair compensation. The state has implemented a yearly increase, with the minimum wage rising to $12.15 per hour in 2021 and then to $12.75 per hour starting January 1, 2022. This proactive approach aims to benefit many Mainers, including those working in various industries.

While state minimum wage laws are designed to protect workers, it’s also essential to be aware of federal laws. There may be instances where exemptions from the federal minimum wage differ from state regulations. Therefore, understanding both laws is vital for employers and employees.

Workers must report any discrepancies to the appropriate authorities in case of violations. Maine’s labor law enforcement ensures that businesses adhere to these regulations, providing a fair work environment for everyone involved.

In summary, Maine’s minimum wage laws provide financial benefits to workers and contribute to a thriving economy by promoting fair wages across industries. Employers and employees can foster harmonious and productive workplaces by staying informed about these laws and ensuring compliance.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the history of minimum wage in Maine?

The history of minimum wage in Maine dates back to the establishment of federal minimum wage laws in the United States. Over the years, Maine has consistently amended its minimum wage to keep pace with the cost of living and improve the livelihood of workers.

How much has the minimum wage increased in recent years?

In recent years, Maine has seen steady increases in its minimum wage. For instance, the minimum wage was $12.00 per hour in 2020. It was then raised to $12.15 per hour in 2021, and currently, as of 2023, the minimum wage in Maine is $13.80 per hour.

What is the minimum wage for tipped workers in 2023?

Employers are required to pay tipped employees a direct cash wage of at least $6.39 per hour with the expectation that tips received will make up the remaining portion of the standard minimum wage, which brings their total earnings up to or beyond $13.80 per hour.

How does Maine’s minimum wage compare to New Hampshire’s?

In comparison to New Hampshire, Maine’s minimum wage is higher. While Maine’s minimum wage is $13.80 per hour in 2023, the provided search results do not contain the exact figure for New Hampshire’s minimum wage in 2023. However, at least until 2021, New Hampshire followed the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.

What’s the minimum wage in Portland?

The search results do not provide specific details about Portland’s minimum wage figures. However, it should be noted that some cities and local governments can set their minimum wage levels, which can be higher than the state minimum wage.

Will the minimum wage reach $18 in Rockland by 2023?

The search results do not offer information on Rockland’s minimum wage or whether it will increase to $18 by 2023. As with the case of Portland, cities and local governments can set their minimum wage potentially higher than the state minimum wage.