What You Need to Know About Maine’s Minimum Wage

Nothing in this article constitutes legal advice. Please consult a tax attorney or tax professional if you have questions about minimum wage compliance.

As a small business owner in the Pine Tree State, we know you want to stay on top of recent increases to Maine’s minimum wage, and that’s why we put together this quick guide as a starting point.

What is the minimum wage in Maine?

The minimum wage in Maine is $12.15 per hour, which is $4.90 more than the federal minimum wage of $7.25. For tipped employees, employers can take a tip credit of up to $6.08 and must pay tipped employees a cash wage of $6.08 per hour. Note that an employee’s tips plus cash wage should equal at least $12.15.

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Will the minimum wage change in 2022?

As of January 1, 2022, the Maine minimum wage increase is at $12.75 per hour. The minimum wage for tipped employees starting January 1, 2022 is now $6.38, up from $6.08. For tipped employees, employers can take a tip credit of up to $6.38 and must pay tipped employees a cash wage of $6.38 per hour. An employee’s tips plus cash wage should equal at least $12.75.

How should small business owners prepare for minimum wage increases?

In 2016, Maine voters approved a measure to gradually increase the minimum wage in relation to the cost of living. On January 1, 2020, the minimum wage will increase to $12 per hour.

According to the legislation, on January 1, 2021, and each January 1 thereafter, the minimum hourly wage must be increased according to the increase in the cost of living.

Here are some other steps you can take to make sure your business is ready for the Maine minimum wage increase and more:

  • Reevaluate your staffing: Take a look at your hourly, weekly, and monthly sales to determine if your current staffing levels are appropriate. For example, perhaps you only need to hire temporary employees during your busy seasons instead of taking on more full-time regular staff.

  • Hire the best: Hiring the right people is always important, but doubly so when you operate a small business. So take your time and cast a wide net when recruiting new employees. Once you have your team in place, make employee retention a priority by offering employee benefits and a path to growth and development in order to make your business a more attractive place to work.

  • Upgrade your technology: When you avoid complicated, time-consuming aspects of management with tools like automatic payroll, you can spend more time focusing on issues like staffing and growing your business. Square Payroll software includes custom payroll features, which make running your unique business needs a breeze, and offers small business pricing, which helps you remain under budget.

    • Set yourself up for success: : One of the first steps when starting your own business and hiring employees is to get a free EIN (or Employer Identification Number), which you need for tax purposes to pay your employees. Square can help you get your EIN, as well as help navigate other business challenges with COVID-19 small business resources and more.

While these are helpful guidelines to follow, make sure your business is prepared and stays in compliance by discussing Maine minimum wage laws with your accountant and lawyer.