AUGUSTA – On Jan. 1, an estimated 52,900 hardworking Mainers received a wage increase thanks to the 2016 voter-approved minimum wage law, which increased the minimum wage from $12 per hour to $12.15 per hour in 2021. According to the Maine Center for Economic Policy, one out of every five Mainers will benefit from this increase, with an additional 67,100 workers earning slightly above minimum wage likely to experience a pay bump as well. This increase will help workers earning minimum wage or slightly above to make ends meet, put food on the table and heat their homes.
Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, and Sen. Joe Rafferty, D-Kennebunk, Senate Chair of the Legislature’s Labor and Housing Committee, released statements commemorating the anniversary of the pivotal wage law taking effect.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us what it means to be an essential worker. Maine grocery store clerks, custodians and delivery drivers have put in long hours, dealing with shortages of supplies, stressed-out consumers and new public health and safety measures. They’ve proven their worth over and over again, and more Mainers are seeing them for the heroes they are. If anyone deserves a raise, it’s them. At the very least, they deserve to earn a fair wage, one that covers basic necessities. Last week, as we celebrated the end of 2020, thousands of hardworking Mainers received a modest pay raise.
“Over the past year, Mainers have had to work harder just to make ends meet and provide their families in the middle of an unprecedented public health crisis. It’s why I’m proud to have fought to increase the minimum wage law for the state of Maine. Make no mistake, this is a step in the right direction, but we still have more work to do. I’ll keep fighting to make sure Maine workers get a fair shake and are able to rebuild their lives in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“Throughout my career, I’ve been an active member and leader of my union, including in contract negotiations. I know how important it is to make sure people receive a fair wage for their hard work, and have the time they need to take care of themselves and their family. Clearly, the people of Maine agree. For so many families across our state, every penny counts. With our current economic crisis, that’s true now more than ever. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the ability to take time off work to see a doctor, stay home with a sick loved one, or deal with any other emergency life throws out us, is absolutely vital. As chair of the Legislature’s Labor and Housing Committee, I’m eager to work on even more common sense measures that will help everyday Mainers.”