As of January 1, 2020, the minimum wage for the state of Maine will rise to $12 per hour. Tipped employees or those that receive direct cash compensation will see an increase from $5.50 per hour to $6 her hour, and salaried employees will see a minimum salary level increase to $36,000 (if exempt).

Maine constituents voted to increase the state’s minimum wage on a ballot measure in the 2016 election. The goal was to move the existing minimum wage from $7.50 per hour to $12 per hour by the year 2020. As we approach January 1, 2020, this will take effect for all businesses in the State.

City Ordinances

City council members from the city of Portland voted on its own minimum wage ordinance in 2015. Employers must pay their employees the state minimum wage whenever the city of Portland’s current wage is lower than the state’s minimum. This is required by the city of Portland’s minimum wage ordinance.

Portland’s minimum wage is currently higher ($11.11 per hour) than the state’s minimum wage of $11 per hour. However, as of January 1, 2020, the city of Portland will be enforcing the state of Maine’s minimum wage of $12 per hour.

Salary Increase

Since Maine voters raised the minimum wage, the salary requirements must also reflect the change. The state of Maine will increase its minimum salary requirements for exempt employees on January 1, 2020. The Maine statute regarding salary requirements is based on the state’s minimum wage and is therefore subject to change when the minimum wage changes.

With the minimum wage for hourly employees rising to $12 per hour on January 1, 2020, the salary for exempt employees will rise to $36,000 per year or approximately $692.30 per week. If an exempt employee’s compensation (when converted to an annual rate) is below 3,000 times the State’s minimum hourly wage, their salary must be increased.

Federal Wages

When the state or city’s minimum wage is higher than the federal wage, employers must pay their employees the higher amount. Currently, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour for non-exempt employees, markedly lower than the $12 per hour minimum wage that Maine will enforce on January 1, 2020. Maine’s salary increase for exempt employees also exceeds the recently announced minimum federal salary requirements of $35,568 or $684 per week.

For more information on wage increases, the current minimum wage, and other labor laws visit