The voter-approved minimum wage increase takes effect tomorrow, increasing wages for 74,000 Mainers. Nearly 30,000 additional Maine workers are expected to receive a raise this year as employers adjust their pay scales to compensate workers earning wages near the new minimum.
The new law increases the minimum wage from $7.50 to $9.00 an hour this year and will increase the minimum wage by a dollar each year until it reaches $12 in 2020. For years after 2020, the minimum wage will be tied to inflation.
Of the 103,000 Mainers expected to receive a raise from the increased minimum wage in 2017:
- Six out of seven are 20 years or older
- More than half have educational attainment beyond high school
- One in five support at least one child
- Nearly half live in or near poverty
- More than half work full-time
Maine last increased the state minimum wage in 2009. The cost of basics like groceries, housing, and health care have all increased, but wages haven’t kept up. This means important facets of economic security like savings, retirement, and homeownership have slipped further out of reach as care givers, line cooks, cashiers, and workers in other low wage industries are spending larger portions of their income just to afford the basics.
A $9 minimum wage means 103,000 Mainers will receive $1,300 increase in annual wages on average. That’s roughly a hundred dollars a month that will help Mainers provide for themselves and their families, pay off their debts, and save for college, unexpected expenses, and a secure retirement.
Once the minimum wage reaches $12/hr in 2020, one in three working Mainers will receive a raise. Annual wages for these workers will increase by $3,500 on average. When Mainers are able to make investments in their health and education that make them more productive workers our workforce gets stronger and demand for goods increase as more Mainers are able to afford to spend money in their communities.