On Monday, December 20, the Portland City Council voted to postpone action to repeal the current municipal state of emergency related to COVID-19. This failure to act will trigger a $19.50 hourly minimum wage within the city of Portland effective January 1, 2022.
Specifically, the Council’s lack of action means that the municipal state of emergency will continue to be in effect on January 1, 2022. That is the day the Maine Supreme Judicial Court ruled that Portland’s hazard wage ordinance takes effect. Under this ordinance, employers with any employees and a place of business located in the city are required to pay employees 1.5 times the standard minimum wage during any state, city, or county declared state of emergency.
Simultaneously, Portland’s minimum hourly wage will increase from the current state-mandated wage of $12.15 to $13 (increasing annually thereafter until it reaches $15.00 in 2024). Together, the annual increase and the hazard wage will create a $19.50 hourly minimum wage in Portland effective January 1, 2022.
The hazard wage will remain in effect until the Council repeals the state of emergency. At their meeting on December 20, Councilor April Fournier moved to table discussion of a repeal of the state of emergency until January 3, 2022. Only Mayor Kate Snyder and Councilors Tae Chong and Mark Dion voted against the tabling motion, and the matter was tabled until the January 3 meeting, which will be held virtually and begin at 5:00 p.m.
Portland employers who oppose the implementation of the hazard wage have until January 3 to contact members of the Council and urge their repeal of the state of emergency. Contact information for the councilors is listed below.
District 1: firstname.lastname@example.org
District 2: email@example.com
District 3: firstname.lastname@example.org
District 4: email@example.com
District 5: firstname.lastname@example.org
District 6: email@example.com
District 7: firstname.lastname@example.org
District 8: email@example.com
A map of the Council districts is available here (Council districts are color-coded with a key near the bottom left).