New Minimum Wage Goes Into Effect on January 7, 2017

On December 15, 2016, the Maine Department of Labor (MDOL) issued an advisory for employers addressing their legal obligations to workers related to the passage of changes to the state minimum wage via ballot initiative Question 4 on the November 8, 2016 ballot.

Among other things, the advisory provides that the new minimum wage of $9 per hour will go into effect on January 7, 2016. The advisory also provides that MDOL has adopted a time-limited non-enforcement policy. From January 7 – 31, the MDOL will not bring enforcement actions against any employer who fails to comply with the change in the tip credit or the minimum salary requirement for overtime-exempt workers. Employers are expected to follow the law and pay the minimum hourly wage of $9.

Note that, while MDOL may not bring enforcement actions during the non-enforcement period, employers may still be subject to a private right of action by an employee who believes she or he has been harmed by the employers’ actions. Such lawsuits may result in the award of back wages, treble damages, attorney’s fees and court costs to an affected worker. Employers should consult an attorney to have a more complete understanding of the interplay between this non-enforcement position and employees’ private right of action.

Read the Advisory