January 30, 2023

Volume XIII, Number 30


January 27, 2023

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Portland Minimum Wage to Increase to $19.50 on January 1

Portland City Council Declines to Repeal State of Emergency, Triggering Hazard Wage Effective 1/1/2022

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.

Mayor: [email protected]

District 1: [email protected]

District 2: [email protected]

District 3: [email protected]

District 4: [email protected]

District 5: [email protected]

District 6: [email protected]

District 7: [email protected]

District 8: [email protected]

A map of the Council districts is available here (Council districts are color-coded with a key near the bottom left).

©2023 Pierce Atwood LLP. All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 362

About this Author

James Erwin Employment Lawyer Pierce Atwood Law Firm

Jim Erwin leads Pierce Atwood's Employment Group. He has extensive state and federal litigation experience in a wide range of substantive areas at the trial, appellate, administrative and arbitration levels. His practice involves the defense at agencies and in court of all types of employment claims, including sex, race, religious and national origin discrimination; sexual and racial harassment; disability discrimination under the ADA; FMLA; retaliation and whistleblower claims; restrictive covenant and trade secrets enforcement; wage-hour claims and class actions; defamation; and labor...

(207) 791-1237
Elizabeth Frazier Govt Relations Attorney Pierce Atwood Law Firm

Elizabeth Frazier focuses her practice on government relations, dividing her time between Pierce Atwood’s Portland and Augusta, Maine offices.

A native of Maine, Elizabeth grew up around her family’s small business, working on all aspects of business growth and management. She has an intimate understanding of the realities and requirements of running a business in Maine.

Additionally, she has worked in government and politics throughout her career. In 2008, Elizabeth worked as a grass roots coordinator for Obama for President in New Hampshire. Elizabeth then followed her...