Maine's Minimum wage goes up for nearly 171,000 January 1,2020

By Ramona du Houx

Workers with low wages will receive a paycheck boost totaling nearly $158 million in 2020, thanks to a minimum wage increase scheduled to take place on January 1, 2020.
 
More than one in four Maine workers is expected to receive a boost to their paychecks this year as a result of the minimum wage increase to $12 per hour.
 
“When workers with low incomes have more money in their pockets, the entire economy benefits,” said James Myall, a policy analyst at the Maine Center for Economic Policy. “Workers in low-paying jobs tend to spend any increased income on the basics — things like food, clothing, child care, or utilities. That kind of consumer spending goes right back into the local economy, supporting local jobs and spurring further growth.”
 

Maine's Former Gov. John Baldacci and his brother Joe serve up spaghetti at one of their dinners to raise awareness about the minimum wage in 2017. Photo by Ramona du Houx

The minimum wage will increase from $11 per hour to $12 per hour on January 1. The minimum wage for tipped workers will increase by 50 cents, from $5.50 per hour to $6 per hour. After 2020, the minimum wage will increase proportionately with inflation, so that low-wage workers can keep up with the cost of living.

  • Roughly 17 percent of all workers in the state — about  102,900 Mainers — who currently earn less than $12 per hour will benefit directly from the minimum wage increase on January 1, according to state wage analysis conducted by the Economic Policy Institute, or EPI. Those Mainers’ average wage increase adds up to about $1,266 for year-round workers. All told, these low-wage workers will take home $130 million more in wages in 2020.
     
  • Roughly 11 percent of workers in the state — about 68,000 Mainers — will benefit indirectly from the minimum wage increase over the course of 2020, according to EPI. Their raises will come as employers boost pay for workers whose hourly wage was already at or just above the new $12 minimum. Those workers are forecasted to take home an additional $28 million next year.
MECEP’s prior research on Maine’s minimum wage increases points to a number of benefits, including reductions in the number of children living in poverty and larger earnings for low-wage workers.