Governor's Emergency Declaration Triggers Portland's Emergency Minimum Wage

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.

Please contact Jim Erwin or any Portland-based member of our Employment Group with questions or concerns.