Maine Minimum Wage and Federal Overtime Changes Coming January 2020

A press release from the Maine Department of Labor.

For those employing respite staff or other health care workers, and for the workers themselves, this is important information.

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, December 11, 2019              
Media Contact: Jessica Picard, Maine Dept. of Labor, Jessica.l.picard@maine.gov

Maine Minimum Wage and Federal Overtime Changes Coming January 2020

AUGUSTA – The Maine Department of Labor (Department) is advising workers, job seekers and employers that changes in state and federal wage and overtime will occur simultaneously on January 1, 2020:Maine’s minimum wage rises from $11 to $12 per hour for most workers.

The state’s minimum salary for exemption from overtime eligibility—which is tied by statute to Maine’s minimum wage– rises from $33,000 to $36,000 per year. This translates to a minimum salary of $692.31 per week.

If workers are paid at least this amount, and the work they perform meets the duties test, they are exempt from the overtime pay requirement.

On this date, federal U.S. Department of Labor rules on overtime eligibility become effective. This means that the federal minimum salary for exemption from overtime eligibility rises from $23,660 to $35,568 per year for a full-time worker, which translates to a minimum salary of $684 per week.

As a result of these changes, Maine’s salary threshold for exemption from overtime eligibility will be higher than the federal level going forward. Employers will be required to pay the higher (state) rate, in addition to meeting the “duties test” as defined in federal statute, in order to meet the overtime exemption threshold.

“The Maine Department of Labor estimates that approximately 1,600 Maine workers will be newly eligible for overtime pay protection due to the changes as of January 1st,” Maine Department of Labor Commissioner Laura Fortman said.  “The Department’s responsibility is to enforce these laws and ensure that employers and workers are aware of coming changes so that they can be ready to meet the laws’ requirements.”

There are several requirements for exemption from overtime eligibility; the salary threshold is only one: 
… The employee must be paid on a salary basis, regularly receiving a pre-determined amount of compensation each pay period;
… The employee’s salary must exceed a certain salary threshold (as of 1/1/2020, state increases to $36,000 as described above);
… The employee’s job duties must clearly fall within the executive, administrative, or professional job categories as defined in federal statute.

There are slightly different tests for the administrative, professional and executive exemptions. 

The Department’s Bureau of Labor Standards is responsible for enforcing the state’s minimum wage and overtime statues and ensuring that both workers and employers understand and comply with the law.

Clarifying the requirements–especially for exemption from overtime eligibility– is important in order to avoid confusion among employers and workers alike which can lead to violations.

If you’re a worker who feels that your rights have been violated, or an employer who has questions or would like to know more about the Department’s free trainings, please call 207-623-7900, email mdol@maine.gov, or visit https://www.maine.gov/labor/bls/index.shtml.

For more information on overtime requirements, visit https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/WHD/legacy/files/whdfs23.pdf.


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