Filing a Wage and Hour Claim - Maine
Under Maine law, an employer may not require an employee to work more than 40 hours in any one week unless one and one-half times the employee’s regular hourly rate is paid for all hours actually worked in excess of 40 hours in that week.
The following employees are exempt from Maine’s overtime requirement:
- Employees of hotels and motels
- Automobile mechanics, automobile parts clerks and automobile salesmen
- Public employees, except those employed by the executive or judicial branch of the State
- Employees of restaurants and other eating establishments
- Employees engaged in the canning, processing, preserving, freezing, drying, marketing, storing, packing for shipment or distribution of agricultural produce, meat and fish products, and perishable foods. There is an exception for individuals employed, directly or indirectly, for or at an egg processing facility that has over 300,000 laying birds must be paid overtime
- Some drivers or driver’s helpers who are not paid hourly
Unlike federal law, Maine places limits on mandatory overtime. Employers cannot require an employee to work more than 80 hours of overtime in any consecutive two-week period. Exempt workers include but are not limited to: those who perform essential public services; automobile workers; mariners; some agricultural workers; some salaried workers; and some seasonal employees. Nurses who work more than 12 consecutive hours must be given 10 consecutive hours off-duty immediately afterward.
The current minimum wage in Maine is $11.00 per hour, as of January 1, 2019. Employers can use tips and gratuities to reduce the minimum wage required to $5.50. Starting in 2021, the minimum wage will increase based on the consumer price index.
Portland has a minimum wage higher than the rest of the state of Maine. Bangor had a minimum wage law, but it was repealed once the state’s minimum wage became higher.
Portland, Maine has a minimum wage of $10.90 per hour as of July 1, 2018. Tipped workers must be paid at least $5.00 per hour, the same as other tipped workers in Maine. Exempt workers include taxi drivers, commercial fishermen, recreation camp employees, and some salaried employees.
In a business with three or more employees, employees must be given a break of at least 30 minutes for every six hours they work, with certain limited exceptions. An employee and employer may negotiate for more or less breaks, but both must agree (this should be put in writing). No coffee, bathroom, or smoking breaks are required.
The Maine Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division enforces state laws and investigates complaints pertaining to wage claims. An employee who is denied wages due can call 207-624-6400 (TTY: 1-800-794-1110) to talk with a wage and hour representative.
If you have a wage/hour complaint, do not delay in contacting the Wage and Hour Division or an attorney. There are strict time limits in which wage claims must be filed.
Employees can bring an action in court to recover unpaid wages, and attorneys’ fees and costs are recoverable, as well as liquidated damages in an additional equal amount of the unpaid wages.
Maine Department of Labor
Wage & Hour Division
45 State House Station
Augusta, Maine 04333-0045
Phone: (207) 623-7900