Yesterday, Maine Governor Janet Mills preemptively declared a state of emergency because of the approaching storm, known as Hurricane Lee.
While the storm’s projected impacts on Portland are uncertain, there is a clear and immediate financial impact on Portland employers – any employer with employees working in Portland must now pay those employees Portland’s so-called “hazard pay” minimum wage.
This minimum wage adds a 50% premium to the current minimum wage of $14 per hour. Therefore, starting yesterday (Sept. 14) and continuing until the day after the state of emergency is removed, the minimum wage for these employees is $21 per hour. For service workers, the tipped minimum wage is $10.50.
This emergency declaration is highly likely to be short-lived, but employers with employees subject to the emergency minimum wage should make sure to pay it to avoid potential liability for treble (triple) damages.