AUGUSTA — The Maine Department of Labor is advising workers, job seekers and employers that changes in state and federal wage and overtime will occur simultaneously on Jan. 1:

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.

Worker who feel their rights have been violated, or employers who have questions or would like to know more about the Department’s free trainings, call 207-623-7900, email [email protected], 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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