Maine Salaried Employees Laws

April 11th 2024

Salaried employees are those who receive a predetermined fixed amount of compensation regularly, such as weekly or less frequently.

Maine has established laws and regulations that define the rights and responsibilities of both salaried employees and their employers.

This article aims to offer an overview of these regulations, covering topics like payment procedures, break and leave benefits, and the classification of employees as exempt or non-exempt.

This article covers:

Payment of Wages for Salaried Employees in Maine

In Maine, it is mandatory for employees to receive their wages within a 16-day interval. The payment schedule must remain consistent and any alterations must be communicated to the employee in advance.

Furthermore, on the designated payday or the following business day, employees should obtain their complete earned wages for a period of up to 8 days leading up to the payday. 

To keep track of pay periods and approvals, employers may often employ payroll hours tracking to avoid unpaid wages and ensure compliance with the law.

Salaried Employees Eligibility for Overtime for Maine

A salaried employee is not automatically non-eligible (exempt) from overtime in Maine. Both Maine state regulations and federal law employ a comprehensive three-pronged evaluation that goes beyond just a salary to ascertain whether an employee is exempt from the overtime provisions stipulated by the law.

These three interconnected criteria serve as the basis for determining the eligibility of employees for overtime exemption:

  • Firstly, the employee’s method of compensation is a key factor.
  • Secondly, the salary earned by the employee must surpass a specified salary threshold.
  • Lastly, the nature of the employee’s job duties must align with specific qualification tests.

Notably, different assessment criteria apply to various exemptions, such as those for administrative, professional, and executive roles. These qualifications help define the scope of responsibilities that could potentially warrant overtime exemption.

Fluctuating Workweek Overtime Pay Arrangements for Maine Salaried Employees

Salaried employees can also be eligible for overtime at a rate of 0.5x (half) of their hourly wage under the Fluctuating Workweek Method which provides a means to adhere to overtime regulations. The intent is for the employee’s salary to encompass all worked hours within the week at a regular rate.

Within a fluctuating workweek overtime pay agreement, the employer commits to paying the assured salary in weeks where the employee’s working hours fall short of 40. It’s important to note that the average hourly rate must not be lower than the prevailing State Minimum Wage rate.

For instance:

If in a given week, an employee’s salary amounts to $573.75 for 45 hours of work, equivalent to $12.75 per hour (meeting the State Minimum Wage requirement).

In this case, to cover overtime, half of the average hourly rate for hours beyond 40 for that week is calculated, resulting in $6.38 ($12.75 / 2).

This rate is then multiplied by the 5 overtime hours, yielding $31.90 in additional overtime pay. Consequently, the employee’s total gross wages for that week become $573.75 + $31.90 = $605.65.

However, when hours worked remain below 40, such as 38 hours, the guaranteed salary of $573.75 is still paid for the week, and no overtime compensation is applicable.

Considering the intricate nature of such calculations, various tools such as overtime compliance software or even time and attendance software come into play to simplify these calculations and reduce the margin for human error.

Exceptions to Overtime Exemptions for Maine Salaried Employees

Certain situations in Maine warrant exceptions to overtime regulations:

  • During instances of a declared public emergency by the Governor or when employees are engaged in critical public services like healthcare.
  • Salaried employees categorized as administrative, professional, or executive, earning a minimum of $816.35 per week.
  • Seasonal employees, medical interns, and those employed by businesses that temporarily close for yearly maintenance.

Learn more in detail about Maine Overtime Laws.

Violation of Salaried Employees Wages Payment in Maine

According to Maine Statutes (§621-A), employers found to be in violation of timely wage payment obligations could face penalties ranging from $100 to $500 for each instance of non-compliance. In cases of unpaid wages and health benefits, employers are held accountable to the affected employees for the owed amounts. 

Should a legal judgment favor the employee or employees in a lawsuit concerning unpaid wages or health benefits, the judgment encompasses not only the unpaid sums but also includes reasonable interest, legal expenses, and an additional sum equivalent to twice the unpaid wages as liquidated damages.

The avenue for seeking remedies in cases of unpaid wages is subject to certain conditions. If there is no genuine dispute regarding the owed wages, the employee can initiate remedies eight days after the due payment date. In cases where a bona fide dispute exists at the time of payment, the employee can seek remedies eight days after making a demand for the unpaid wages, provided the wages are genuinely due and remain unpaid.

The legal action pertaining to unpaid wages or health benefits can be initiated either by the affected employees themselves or by the U. S. Department of Labor. The Department of Labor also holds the authority to oversee the execution of judgments, recover these judgments on behalf of employees, and collect fines resulting from violations of these regulations. In situations where the Department of Labor commences an action for unpaid wages or health benefits, both this action and a civil forfeiture action can be consolidated into a single proceeding.

Male and Female Salaried Employees in Maine

Employers are prohibited from engaging in gender-based wage discrimination among employees within the same establishment. This means that an employer cannot pay any employee, in any occupation within the state, at a rate lower than the rate paid to an employee of the opposite sex for comparable work that involves similar skill, effort, and responsibility. Certain exceptions apply, such as differentials based on established seniority systems, merit increase systems, or shifts that don’t discriminate based on gender.

Employers are also not allowed to terminate or discriminate against an employee for taking actions to enforce such provisions.

Furthermore, the Department of Labor is mandated to provide an annual equal pay report to the legislative committee overseeing labor affairs, detailing the progress made within the state in adhering to this regulation. This annual report must be issued on Maine Equal Pay Day, as designated according to relevant regulations.

Leave Entitlements for Salaried Employees in Maine

Starting from January 1st, 2021, employees in Maine’s establishments with over 10 workers will have access to earned paid leave, accumulating at a rate of 1 hour per 40 worked, with a yearly cap of 40 hours. Family Medical Leave covers up to 10 weeks over 2 years for eligible employees in establishments with 15 or more staff, while jury duty leave is protected against retaliation.

Emergency Response Leave allows absence due to emergencies, Military members have paid and unpaid leave options, and Family Military Leave is available for eligible relationships to deployed personnel. Victims of Violence are also entitled to leave unless undue business hardship applies.

Break Entitlements for Salaried Employees in Maine

Maine workers are entitled to a minimum of half an hour of break time after working continuously for six hours. This break is typically paid unless an unpaid meal break is chosen by the employee, during which they must be relieved of all tasks.

Situations involving threats to property, life, public safety, or public health could lead to exceptions in break regulations. Additionally, smaller businesses with less than three employees at any given time or those with work patterns necessitating more frequent, shorter breaks due to the nature of their tasks are exempt from break requirements.

Deductions from Exempt Employees’ Salary in Maine

Employers in Maine can make deductions from the pay of salaried employees under certain circumstances. When salaried employees are absent from work for personal reasons, deductions can be made for full-day absences and specific examples are given for different scenarios. Deductions can also be made for full-day absences due to sickness or disability if the deduction follows a legitimate plan, policy, or practice providing compensation. This includes absences before the employee qualifies for benefits or after exhausting leave allowances. Deductions are permissible for safety rule violations of significant impact and for unpaid disciplinary suspensions due to workplace conduct violations, both within a framework of good faith and established policies applicable to all employees.

However, deductions cannot be made for absences related to jury duty, being a witness, or temporary military leave. Although, employers can offset certain amounts received by the employee in these instances.

Calculating breaks and automatic deductions are features available in time-clock software today that can assist employers in avoiding law violations when it comes to enforcing accurate payroll deductions.

Termination of Employment for Salaried Employees in Maine

In Maine, the concept of “employment-at-will” governs the employment relationship, allowing both employers and employees to terminate it at any time, with or without cause. This applies to the majority of employees unless otherwise specified in their contractual agreement.

Upon termination, employers are obligated to provide the final paycheck to the employee on the upcoming scheduled payday. The final paycheck can be reduced to cover overpayments, loans, or advances if the employee has given written consent. However, deductions for property damage or alleged debts require proper procedures. In the case of business sales, employers must settle employees’ final wages within two weeks post sale.

In situations where companies with over 100 employees close or relocate, they might offer severance pay to former staff. This is included in their last paycheck, calculated based on their tenure, granting one week’s pay per year worked and partial pay for incomplete years. The calculation initiates from the last complete month of employment.

Learn more about Maine Labor Laws through our detailed guide.

Important Cautionary Note

This content is provided for informational purposes only. While we make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information presented, we cannot guarantee that it is free of errors or omissions. Users are advised to independently verify any critical information and should not solely rely on the content provided.