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Minimum Wage: 5 Facts About Maine's Minimum Wage

By    |   Saturday, 14 Nov 2015 07:52 PM

Maine’s first attempt at a minimum wage law had to do with the fish-packing industry, and wasn’t entirely successful, according to the state government's website.

Here are five facts about the minimum wage in the Pine Tree State:

1. Packing Fish
Public Law 289 had to do with women and minors in the fish-packing business and was passed in 1937, setting the minimum wage at 33 cents an hour, according to Maine.gov. However, the first attempt to enforce the law – a lawsuit against fish packer Calvin Stinson, was twice struck down by courts, citing lack of jurisdiction.

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2. Uniform Wage
Maine’s first statewide minimum wage was established in October 1959 at $1 an hour, with a few occupations exempt, Maine.gov said. By 1974, it was $2 an hour, and since then has increased, either by independent state action or keeping up with the federal minimum wage, 22 times. As of June 2015, it’s $7.50 an hour, 25 cents higher than the federal minimum.

3. Livable Wage
Maine has attempted and repeatedly failed to tie the minimum wage to the cost of living, according to Maine.gov. The most recent attempt began in 2005 with the creation of a commission to determine what is a “livable” wage in Maine and, eventually, determine the cost to taxpayers of supporting state residents who made less-than-livable wages. The requirement for an annual report was cut in half in 2009 and eliminated in 2011.

4. Stacking Up
According to the Living Wage Calculator developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the living wage for a family of two working adults supporting two children in Maine would be $14.74 an hour for each adult, with $5 an hour being considered a “poverty wage.” If only one adult is working, a livable wage would be $23.48 an hour, with $11 an hour being a “poverty wage.”

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5. Tips
A service employee can’t be required to share tips with the employer and any pooling of tips must be voluntary, under a state law which went into effect in 2007. That includes tips automatically added to the bill or charged to a credit card, under another law which took effect in 2011, according to Maine.gov.

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Maine's first attempt at a minimum wage law had to do with the fish-packing industry, and wasn't entirely successful, according to the state government's website.
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2015-52-14
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