In February 2021, during the First Regular Session of the 130th Legislature, Representative Rachel Talbot Ross (D-Portland) introduced LD 607, An Act To Restore Overtime Protections for Maine Workers.
As originally drafted, the bill would annually raise the minimum salary that an employee who works in an executive, administrative, or professional capacity must earn in order to be exempt from the laws governing the minimum wage and overtime pay until it is $55,224 at the start of 2024.
The public hearing for the bill was held on March 22, 2021 in the Labor and Housing Committee. At the public hearing, the testimony was overwhelmingly negative. Only a few labor groups spoke in support while more than two dozen small business owners and industry groups—ranging from health care to tourism to manufacturing, including the RLDAM—spoke in forceful opposition to the bill.
The Labor and Housing Committee tabled LD 607 at a work session in April 2021. They never addressed it again before the legislature adjourned, sine die, so the bill was carried over to the Second Regular Session.
On January 19, 2022, the Labor and Housing Committee had another work session on the bill. At this work session, the committee voted along party lines to support an amendment that significantly increases the overtime payment salary threshold.
The current law for overtime payment threshold is 3,000 times the minimum wage. With Maine’s minimum wage at $12.75, the threshold is $38,250. The proposed law will increase the threshold so it is 3,500 times the minimum wage in 2023, 4,000 times the minimum wage in 2024, and 4,500 times the minimum wage in 2025.
Maine’s minimum wage is annually indexed but, assuming that it stayed at $12.75, the threshold in 2023 would be $44,625, in 2024 would be $51,000, and in 2025 would be $57,375.
However, with just modest minimum wage increases, the overtime salary threshold will likely be over $60,000 in 2025.
LD 607 remains in the Labor and Housing Committee. Once reported out, it will be debated in the House and Senate.
The RLDAM is a member of a large coalition of business associations working to defeat this legislation and the Mills Administration has indicated they have concerns with the amended version and would prefer a federal approach to the issue.