The Fair Labor Standards Act is a federal law that all American states must adhere to. This code sets regulations for standard labor issues including overtime and minimum wage. All states have to adhere to the FLSA and other federal labor laws, but they can set their own state laws to increase the minimum wage and add other legal supplements.
Part-time vs. Full-time
What constitutes full time employment vs. part time employment in Maine is determined by individual employers. Many employers offer benefits for part time employees, but they are not required to offer these benefits, and some only offer benefits to full-time employees.
Currently, the minimum wage is set at $9.00, but it is scheduled to increase every year. On January 1, 2021 the minimum wage will increase each year to match the requirements for a living wage in the State of Maine. But until 2021, the minimum wage increase is projected to look as follows:
|January 1, 2018||$10.00|
|January 1, 2019||$11.00|
|January 1, 2020||$12.00|
For employees who earn tips, such as servers, the minimum wage is $5.00. But employers must be sure that employees are receiving the minimum wage when they combine their current wage and tips. This means that employers have no rights to tips that employees earn and will face a fine/penalty if they try to take a share.
Employers are required to pay employees an overtime rate of 1 ½ of their regular rate if they work more than 40 hours a week, unless they are considered an exempt employee. An exempt employee includes, but not limited to: mariners (sailors), public employees, and those who work in agriculture or packing of food products.
The Maine Department of Health helps Maine citizens get connected to health insurance benefits if they are not covered by their employer. All American citizens are legally required to obtain a health insurance plan or they will have to pay a federal tax penalty. This is mandated by the Affordable Care Act.
The Main Human Rights Act supplements federal civil rights laws prohibiting discrimination in the workplace based on personal characteristics. It prohibits discrimination based on:
- National Origin;
- Mental/Physical disability; or
- Sexual Orientation
Under Maine State law, employers are not required to provide:
- Vacation benefits (paid or unpaid);
- Sick leave (paid or unpaid);
- Holiday leave (paid or unpaid);
- Jury duty leave (paid);
- Voting leave (paid or unpaid); and
- Bereavement leave (paid or unpaid).
While employers in Maine are free to offer paid or unpaid leave for any of the categories above, they are not legally required to provide it. They are legally required to give employees time off for jury duty, but it does not need to be paid. Also, due to the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and employers are required to grant unpaid leave for any employee who qualifies for federal medical leave.
Where Can You Find the Right Lawyer?
If you believe you have been discriminated against unfairly, or your employer has violated any state or federal labor law, contact a Maine employment lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your case.