Maine Labor Laws 2024 | Wage and Hour Laws in Maine


Maine Labor Laws

Maine labor laws, including Maine labor laws 2024, impact the daily lives of employees and employers in Maine. Residents of Maine have many questions that affect them every day regarding Maine labor laws from minimum wage rates, overtime, wage payments, vacation and sick leave, child labor, meal and rest breaks, and more.

In addition to Maine labor laws, employer must also comply with federal labor laws such as the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), and many other federal laws. And when federal laws are different from state Maine labor laws, usually companies must comply with the law that provides their workers the best protection.

Below we provide comprehensive information and resources regarding your more pressing Maine labor law questions to help you answer the question and help you make the right decision about you and your employment.



Minimum Wage

The current minimum wage in Maine is $12.75. If the federal minimum wage is higher than the state’s, Maine must increase its minimum wage. Additionally, the total minimum wage will increase yearly, consistent with the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers.

For tipped workers, the minimum wage is $6.38. Employers must notify employees they will be paid tipped wage rates before they begin working. Also, employees must be paid the standard minimum wage rate when combining tips and tipped wages.

In instances where employees make less than the standard minimum wage, employers must cover the difference. When employees receive tips, they are considered their property and cannot be shared with employers.Visit our Maine minimum wage information page to learn more about minimum wage in Maine.

Related topic covered on other pages include:


Overtime

Maine labor laws require employers to pay employees overtime at a rate of 1½ time their regular rate when they work more than 40 hours in a workweek, unless otherwise exempt. ME Statute 26.664. See FLSA: Overtime for more information regarding overtime requirements.


Prevailing Wages

Under certain circumstances, employers in Maine may be required to pay residents wage rates established by the federal or state prevailing wage rates and rules. The prevailing wage rates may be different from the state’s standard minimum wage rates. Employees may be eligible for prevailing wages if they work on federal or state government or government-funded construction projects or perform certain federal or state government services. See the Maine Prevailing Wages, Davis-Bacon and Related Acts, McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act (SCA), and Walsh-Healey Public Contracts Act (PCA) for more information about prevailing wages.


Meals and Breaks

Maine labor laws require employers to give employees the opportunity to take an unpaid rest break of thirty (30) consecutive minutes after six (6) hours worked except:

  • in cases of emergency where there is danger of property, life, public safety or public health; or
  • if:
    • fewer than three (3) employees are on duty at any one time; and
    • the nature of the work done by the employees allows the employee frequent paid breaks of a shorter duration during the employee’s work day.

ME Statute 26:601.

Maine does not have any laws requiring employers to provide rest breaks to employees. However, based on the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, if an employer chooses to provide rest breaks to employees lasting less than twenty (20) minutes, the rest breaks must be paid. DOL: Breaks and Meal Periods.


Nursing Mother Breaks

Maine labor laws require employers to allow employees who are nursing mothers to use paid break or meal time or provide adequate unpaid break time each day for the employees to express breast milk for up to three (3) years following childbirth. Employers must make reasonable efforts to provide clean rooms or other locations, other than bathrooms, where they employees may express breast milk in privacy. Employers may not discriminate against employees who choose to express breast milk in the workplace. ME Statute 26:604


Vacation Leave

Maine employers with 10+ employees could be required to pay employees for paid leave. Starting January 1, 2023, employers will have to pay employees for accrued and unused vacation. This applies to employees who stop working for the employer, regardless of the reason.

Employers who don’t fall into Maine’s vacation leave policies aren’t required to offer paid or unpaid vacation benefits. If employers decide to provide said benefits, they must follow the terms set in employment contracts and established policies.

A few other notable points about vacation leave in Maine include:

  • Employers must pay accrued vacation if a policy or contract requires it.
  • Employers can establish a policy disqualifying employees from paid vacation leave if they fail specific requirements.
  • Employers can set policies that deny payment for accrued vacation upon employment termination.
  • Employers can cap the amount of accrued vacation employees are entitled to.

Visit our Maine vacation leave information page to learn more about vacation leave in Maine.


Sick Leave

There isn’t a specific law requiring Maine employers to provide employees with paid or unpaid sick leave. Employers within Maine’s earned paid leave law could be required to allow employees to take sick leave.

Employers could also be required to offer unpaid sick leave via the Family and Medical Leave Act.Visit our Maine sick leave information page to learn more about sick leave in Maine.


Holiday Leave

There aren’t any laws in Maine that require private employers to provide unpaid or paid holiday leave. Private employers can also require employees to work on holidays without being offered premium pay. When employees’ hours fall into overtime, employers will be required to provide a premium wage.

Employers who create paid or unpaid holiday leave policies must comply with said terms. Also, they must follow any terms established in employment contracts for holiday leave.

Visit our Maine holiday leave information page to learn more about holiday leave in Maine.


Jury Duty Leave

In Maine, employers aren’t obligated to pay employees for attending a jury summons. Additionally, they cannot threaten, penalize, or terminate employees for serving on a jury.

Visit our Maine jury duty leave page to learn more about jury duty leave in Maine.


Voting Leave

Maine employers are not required to offer their employees paid or unpaid time off to vote.

Visit our Maine voting leave page to learn more about voting leave in Maine.


Severance Pay

Maine labor laws do not generally require employers to provide employees with severance pay. Typically, if an employer chooses to provide severance benefits, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract.

However, if an employer closes or relocates an industrial or commercial facility that has employed 100 or more employees in the preceding 12 months, it must pay severance to each affect employee. The severance for each employee must be paid at a rate of one week’s pay for each year the employee was employed at the facility. ME Statute 26:625-B.


Unemployment

Residents of Maine could receive unemployment benefits while searching for another job. That said, residents must meet specific eligibility requirements to receive benefits, which include:

  • Applicants must have lost their job through no fault of their own.
  • Applicants must be actively seeking work while receiving unemployment benefits.
  • Applicants must be continually available and able to work.
  • Applicants must have enough earnings and work history in the past 18 months to qualify.
  • Applicants must have earned at least $1,968.00 in two calendar quarters and $5,904.00 in the total base period.

Visit Maine’s unemployment information page to learn more about unemployment benefits in Maine.


Other Maine Labor Laws Topics and Resources

There are several other Maine labor laws governing the employers and their workplaces. Below are those topics and resources:

  • Maine child labor laws for children 17 years of age and younger including topics including work during school hours and summer hours, school days and non-school days, summer days of employment (usually June 1 to Labor Day), hour restrictions, work permits, and hazardous occupations.
  • The Maine Human Rights Commission enforces the Maine Human Rights Act and protects employees workplace civil rights and against discrimination and retaliation. Employees are also protected by federal discrimination laws enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The state and federal discrimination laws offer employees protections and violations based on the following:
Disability (a mental or physical impairment)Sex, including sexual harassmentGender expressionNational Origin
RaceSexual orientationReligionAncestry
CreedGender identityAge (40+)Pregnancy, childbirth, and related conditions
ColorGenetic informationMarital statusGenetic predisposition
WhistleblowerPrior workers’ compensation claim
  • Maine labor laws regarding wage payment laws including covering frequency and manner of wage payments, regular paydays, payday, pay periods, deductions, direct deposit and payroll cards, wage statement, record keeping, final paychecks, and notice requirements.
  • Maine labor laws regarding minimum wage and overtime exemptions covering non-exempt employees and exempt employees.
  • Maine labor law regarding hours worked including rest breaks, meal breaks, on-call, waiting, travel, sleeping, and meeting times.
  • The Maine Department of Labor Safety Works! program helps employer comply with laws and regulations regarding workplace safety and health. Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) which covers federal workplace safety and health requirements.
  • Active duty employees, including those in the national guard, and veterans may also be eligible for military leave under the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA).
  • The Maine Workers’ Compensation Board manages workers’ compensation in Maine and worker compensation insurance claims and enforcement. Employees who are injured on the job may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits that minimizes the financial impact on the employee.
  • Under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, employers in Maine are required to provide 60-day advanced notice to any employees that may be impacted by a business closing or mass layoff if 50 or more employees will be impacted.
  • If Maine employers provide employees health insurance benefits, they must comply with the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) that provides health coverage protections to employees under certain circumstances such as voluntary or involuntary job loss, reduction in the hours worked, transition between jobs, death, divorce, and other life events.
  • Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, employers must provide applicants and employees prior notice before conducting background checks involving credit reports. Other rules and limitation may also apply.

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