More than 40 organizations joined in strong opposition to making Maine’s overtime threshold one of the highest in the nation
LD 402 would devastate Maine’s economy and employers, hindering job growth and new opportunities
On Wednesday, March 11, more than 40 organizations representing thousands of Maine employers joined together in strong opposition to LD 402, An Act To Restore Overtime Protections for Maine Workers, proposed legislation that would make Maine’s overtime threshold one of the highest in the nation – and the highest in New England. LD 402 and any artificial increase in Maine’s overtime threshold would hinder job growth and new opportunities in Maine and undermine essential goals in the 10-year economic growth plan for Maine recently announced by Governor Janet Mills.
According to the Legislature’s website, as of March 17, 2020, LD 402 was carried over, in the same posture, to any special session of the 129th Legislature pursuant to Joint Order SP 788. At the end of session, a draft amendment was supposed to be under consideration by the Joint Standing Committee on Labor and Housing before the session ended abruptly due to the pandemic. It proposed to raise the minimum yearly salary threshold for overtime pay to over $57,000. This is a 58% increase over the current level and 140% over the salary threshold when the increases began, with annual adjustments beginning in 2023. These figures are based on a two-percent annual increase to the minimum wage (national CPI rate assumed by the Maine Consensus Economic Forecasting Commission).
Currently Maine is one of only six states that set their own salary thresholds above the federal level for overtime payment. Maine’s existing overtime law, in combination with the minimum wage that will be indexed for inflation beginning in January 2021, already sets a salary threshold that increases each year as the indexed minimum wage increases. Despite the new salary threshold established last year by federal Department of Labor rulemaking, Maine’s overtime threshold for 2020 is higher. Maine’s threshold is already set to increase automatically in 2021, 2022, 2023 and beyond as the state minimum wage increases.
“LD 402 would create new barriers and seriously undermine economic growth and new opportunities in Maine in many ways, including incentivizing existing and prospective employers to look elsewhere to grow and locate their businesses and jobs,” said Maine State Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President Peter Gore.
“Thousands of Maine employers, especially small businesses and nonprofits that are already struggling with other higher wage expenses, will be among the hardest hit by these costly increases in the overtime salary threshold,” said NFIB Maine State Director David Clough.
“LD 402 would result in a straight-up loss of jobs, not to mention the unforeseen consequences that will occur including poor morale, lost productivity, and a move to more part-time employees,” said Greg Dugal of HospitalityMaine.
“The impact of LD 402 on businesses and their employees and families would be harsh, if not devastating, and is the exact opposite of what Maine’s economy and people need,” said Curtis Picard, president and CEO of the Retail Association of Maine.
The list of organizations strongly opposed to LD 402 in any form are the Maine State Chamber of Commerce; NFIB Maine; HospitalityMaine; the Retail Association of Maine; Associated General Contractors of Maine; Associated Builders & Contractors of Maine; the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce; Golf Maine; the Home Care & Hospice Alliance of Maine; the Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce; the Lewiston-Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce; the Maine Ambulance Association; the Maine Association of Broadcasters; the Maine Association for Community Service Providers; the Maine Association of Insurance Companies; the Maine Auto Dealers Association; the Maine Bankers Association; Maine Beer & Wine Distributors; the Maine Campground Owners Association; the Maine Energy Marketers Association; the Maine Farm Bureau Association; the Maine Forest Products Council; the Maine Grocers & Food Producers Association; the Maine Health Care Association; the Maine Hospital Association; the Maine Independent Colleges Association; the Maine Insurance Agents Association; the Maine Jobs Council; the Maine Motor Transport Association; the Maine School Boards Association; the Maine School Superintendents Association; the Maine Staffing Association; the Maine State Golf Association; the Maine Tourism Association; the Maine Youth Camping Association; the Manufacturers Association of Maine; the Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce; Pathways of Maine; the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce; the Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce; the Retail Lumber Dealers Association of Maine; Ski Maine Association; and, the Skowhegan Regional Chamber of Commerce.