Maine state law (26 M.R.S.A. §664) requires the Maine Department of Labor to increase the state minimum wage on an annual basis, based upon increases, if any, in the cost of living. The Department of Labor is to determine each increase based upon Northeast Region cost of living index data reported by the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. On September 23, 2021, the Maine Department of Labor announced the minimum wage that will take effect on January 1, 2022 will increase from $12.15 per hour to $12.75 per hour, representing a 4.9% increase.
Notably, Maine’s minimum salary for exempt, white collar employees is directly tied to the State’s minimum wage. In order to fall under one of the white collar exemptions under Maine law, the salaried employee must receive a salary, when annualized, of no less than 3,000 times the minimum wage. Accordingly, the minimum salary in Maine will increase from an annual salary of $36,450 to $38,250.00, or $735.59 a week. Please note the State’s minimum salary is higher than the federal minimum salary and, therefore, Maine employers must comply with the State’s higher number. Also note that in addition to satisfying the minimum salary, an employee must also satisfy the job responsibilities requirement to fall under one of the white collar overtime exemptions.
The new “tip wage”, or service employee minimum wage, will rise to $6.38 per hour in 2022. This means that service employees must receive at least a direct cash wage of $6.38 per hour from the employer and their total pay, including tips, must amount to at least $12.75 per hour when combined at the end of the week.
For nearly sixty years, The Bennett Law Firm has been a leader in helping management navigate wage and hour issues while staying ahead of changes in policy. For questions or for more information on this issue, please contact Peter Bennett (pbennett@