Paper Trails

2024 Maine employment law changes

In recent years, employment laws across the United States have been evolving at a rapid pace. A striking statistic from the National Conference of State Legislatures shows that in 2022 alone, over 10,00 employment law bills were proposed across various states, underscoring the nature of this legal area. As we move into 2024, employers in Maine must stay informed about the significant changes to federal and state employment laws to ensure compliance.   In this article, what are the changes to Maine employment law in 2024?  We will also cover some updates to federal legislation.  By the time you finish reading, you should feel comfortable with the topics that your business needs to be aware of in order to keep your business on track and in line.

What are the changes to Maine employment laws in 2024?

2024 brings several pivotal changes to Maine’s employment laws, increasing the current requirements for employers. Understanding these changes is crucial for employers to adapt their policies and practices accordingly.  Continue reading below for an overview of each topic.

Minimum Wage

Maine’s minimum wage has increased in 2024, continuing the trend of annual adjustments based on the cost of living. This change not only affects non-exempt workers but also has implications for exempt and tipped employees.  Non-exempt workers in the state must earn a minimum of $14.15 per hour.  For those workers in Portland and Rockland, the minimum wage is $15 per hour due to local ordinances in place.  Tipped employees must earn a minimum of $7.08 per hour when the FICA tip credit is taken by employers.  Finally, exempt workers must earn a minimum of $816.35 a week, or $42,450.20 a year.  These minimums are key to calculating correct wages, as well as calculating (blended)overtime wages.

Maine Retirement Savings Program

A significant introduction in 2024 is MERIT, the Maine Retirement Investment Trust. This state-facilitated program aims to provide retirement savings options for workers who do not have access to such plans through their employer.  Private employers in Maine must either offer a tax-qualifying employer-sponsored retirement plan or enroll their eligible employees in the state-run ROTA IRA program.  Employers with 15 or more employees must enroll in this program by April 30th, 2024 and those with 5-14 employees must enroll by June 30th, 2024.  Full details of the program can be found here.

Limitations on Captive Audience Meetings

2024 sees the implementation of new restrictions on captive audience meetings.  This means that employers cannot take, or threaten to take, any adverse action against an employee for declining to attend or participate in an employer-sponsored meeting that expresses the employer’s opinion on religious or political matters. These limitations are designed to protect employee rights and ensure a balanced work environment.

Expansion of Pay Equity Law to Cover Race

Maine’s pay equity law, traditionally focusing on gender, is expanding to cover racial disparities. This change mandates equal pay for equal work across all races, a significant step towards combatting wage discrimination.  Employers should look at employees in the same establishment who are doing comparable work that requires similar skill, effort, and responsibility, and ensure that any pay differences have an allowable explanation. Allowable explanations could include seniority, merit, and shift or time of day worked.

Maine Severance Pay

Changes in Maine’s severance pay regulations have also taken effect. The new legislation expands the type of employers subject to its severance pay law.  The updated law removes the phrase “industrial or commercial” from current law, expanding the law to cover any employer that owns a facility which has employed at least 100 individuals in the preceding 12-month period.  If your business has 100 or more employees in the preceding 12-month period, and closes, relocates, or experiences mass layoffs, you now must pay severance to the affected employees, no matter your industry.

What are federal employment law changes for 2024?

In addition to state-specific changes, there are a few federal employment law alterations taking effect in 2024, impacting employers and employees nationwide.  Let’s take a look:

Proposed Salary Increase for Exempt Workers

There’s a proposed increase in the salary threshold for exempt workers, which could significantly affect overtime eligibility and compensation structures.  This proposed rule change seeks to raise the federal salary threshold to $1,059 per week, or $55,068 annually.  Should this rule go into effect, the new threshold would be greater than Maine’s threshold, making the federal threshold the one businesses must follow.  Additionally, the minimum would be evaluated at least every three years and changed based on available wage data.  Stay tuned for more as we hear more about this proposed bill.

IRS Contribution Limits

Changes to IRS contribution limits for retirement and health savings accounts will impact both employers’ benefits offerings and employees’ financial planning.  While not as dramatic as last year’s increases, the limits for many retirement accounts have increased.  You can read about these limits here.

OSHA’s Rule Expanding Submission Requirements for Injury and Illness Data

OSHA’s expanded requirements for submitting workplace injury and illness data emphasize the increasing importance of workplace safety and transparency. Establishments with 100 or more employees in certain high-hazard industries, which includes agriculture, manufacturing, entertainment, construction and more, must submit information from their Form 300-Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses, and Form 301-Injury and Illness Incident Report to OSHA once a year. These submissions are in addition to submission of Form 300A-Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses.

Child Labor Laws

Finally, there have been some changes to the way child labor laws are dealt with.  These protections for young workers, ensuring their safety and proper compensation, are being cracked down on.  New procedures for assessing Civil Money Penalties in nonserious and noninjury child labor cases mean harsher penalties for violations.  Each violation, not employee, now carries penalties of up to $15,000!  You can read more about the federal changes here.


For employers in Maine, staying on top of these changes to employment laws critical for compliance. By understanding and implementing these 2024 law changes, Maine employers can continue to build productive, lawful, and harmonious work environments.  Contact our team here for help navigate these, and other, challenges.