Being paid is supposed to be the easy part of your job. These days it's not so simple. You need to keep track of whether your job is exempt from state law or federal law, or whether you are covered by Portland's Minimum Wage and Overtime Act. Each of these laws offers a different base overtime rate, as well as different rules for when overtime pay is owed. And if it's hard for you to keep all these rules straight, it may be hard for your employer too! If you work in Maine, becoming familiar with Maine overtime laws could mean extra money in your paycheck.
Maine Overtime Law Summary
This chart highlights key provisions of overtime laws in Maine.
|State and Federal Statutes|
|Maine Overtime Rules||
|Filing a Wage Complaint|
Note: State laws are subject to change. It's important to verify the information you read about by conducting your own research or consulting with a Maine attorney.
Maine Overtime Laws
Overtime laws in Maine are a blend of federal, state and local laws. When any of these laws conflict by stating different rules, the law that gives the most benefits to the employee applies. Fortunately, these laws agree that "covered" employees must receive overtime pay of at least 1.5 times their regular rate of pay when working more than 40 hours in a workweek.
In Maine, the minimum salary requirement is $519.24 per week for exempting a worker from overtime (as of January 7, 2017). However, this is only one factor in determining whether a worker is exempt from overtime under federal or state law. The duties of each worker must be considered as part of this analysis. Failure to adhere to state and federal requirements-meeting the duties test and the weekly salary threshold-could result in violations of both federal and state law, or of one jurisdiction or the other depending on the discrepancies in the laws.
Who is Exempt from Overtime Laws
An employee not covered by a state or federal law is typically known as an "exempt" employee. For an employee to be considered exempt under federal law, they must meet certain tests regarding their job duties (not title) and be paid on a salary basis a wage not less than $455 per week (as of 2017).
Federal overtime rules frequently exempt executives, administrators, managers, commissioned sales people, and learned professionals such as doctors and lawyers. Maine recognizes a few additional types of exempt employees, such as sardine and perishable food processors.
Limits on Mandatory Overtime
Although federal law does not limit the number of hours an employee can be required to work each day or in a workweek, Maine does have such a law. In Maine, an employer may not require an employee to work more than 80 hours of overtime in any consecutive two-week period. There are exceptions, such as emergency, essential services, and salaried exempt employees; agricultural workers; and others.
Overtime Issues for Registered Nurses
Citing health and safety concerns, Maine placed a limit on the number of hours a registered nurse can work. A nurse who has worked 12 mandatory hours may not be disciplined for refusing to work additional hours and must be allowed at least 10 hours off following any such period. There are exceptions to this law.
City of Portland's Overtime Law
The City of Portland gave minimum wage workers a raise when it decided to increase its base pay rate higher than the state-required minimum wage. This increase in the minimum wage also means a higher overtime rate. For example, tipped employees in Maine generally receive $9.50 an hour for overtime pay, after their employer applies a $5 an hour tip credit. The overtime rate for tipped employees everywhere in Portland is $10.34 an hour (as of 9/17).
Talk to a Lawyer to Learn How Maine Overtime Laws Apply to You
You follow the rules at work, so it's reasonable for you to expect your employer to follow the rule for overtime pay. Some miscalculations are accidental. But if your boss denies your right to overtime pay, the law may be on your side. Contact an experienced employment attorney in Maine who can help you navigate the claim process and enforce your rights to lost wages and damages, if available.
Contact a qualified attorney.