Donald F. Fontaine : Attorney at Law
Phone

97 India Street 
Portland, ME 04101 
dff@fontainelaw.com 


Maine Unpaid Wages

Overview

State laws provide a variety of legal protections of wages and other working conditions. These are separate and distinct from those rights protected by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.

Workers, therefore, should check both this section and the section called “Overtime Pay” in order to learn their rights. For example, some workers may be exempt from overtime pay under the FLSA (the federal law), but they may not be exempt under the state law. Or, vice-versa.

State Minimum Wage And Overtime Laws

Maine has a full statute, similar to the Fair Labor Standards Act covering Maine workers. However, in several respects the Maine statute is more favorable. Fontaine Law Office frequently enforces the State Act in preference to the Federal Act. For example, the Maine minimum wage is higher than the Federal minimum wage.

Moreover, there are several categories of Maine worker who are protected by the Maine overtime law, but who are exempt and unprotected by the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act. In addition, the overtime exemption for “White Collar Employees” [CLICK] under the Federal law is broader than under the Maine law, so that some white collar workers are eligible for overtime under the Maine law, but ineligible for overtime under the federal law.

Also, the Maine law is more favorable because it permits workers to claim six years of back minimum wage and overtime payments, whereas the federal law permits only two years in most cases.

Another example of the more favorable provisions of state law is that Maine law makes mandatory that the court award “liquidated damages” and attorney’s fees to the employee who is successful in court. “Liquidated Damages,” means an additional amount of money over and above the minimum wages or overtime wages that were unpaid. The amount is the same amount as the wages that were unpaid.

Timely Payment And Other Maine State Wage Protection Laws

Maine law also regulates not only how much must be paid an employee, but when it must be paid. Maine’s timely payment of wages law requires that workers be paid all the wages they earn to within eight days of the payment date, and that the interval between paydays cannot exceed sixteen days. Such a law is necessary because of the behavior of some employers who do not pay their employees regularly, especially those working on commissions.

Donald F. Fontaine was in the forefront of the rewriting of this law to cover all employees in the State of Maine when previously it only covered certain occupations. Five class actions were filed. Legislative hearings were held, and the law was changed. See In Re Wage Payment Litigation, 2000 ME 162; 759 A2d 217.

Other wage protection laws that exist in Maine are the severance pay law, the unfair agreements law, the law protecting employees’ vacation wages, access to personnel files, written statement for the reasons for termination, and the prevailing wage law for employees working under State contracts.

The Law Office of Donald F. Fontaine is among a select group of law firms in the United States with broad expertise in wage protection law for the benefit of employees and really the only law office in Maine with this broad expertise. We coordinate daily with similar law firms all over the United States.



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