Maine Department of Labor is advising workers, job seekers and employers that changes in state and federal wage and overtime regulations will occur on January 1.

Maine’s minimum wage will increase from $11 to $12 per hour for most workers. The minimum salary for exemption from overtime eligibility — which is tied by statute to Maine’s minimum wage — will rise from $33,000 to $36,000 per year, or $692.31 per week. If workers are paid at least that amount and the work they perform meets the duties test, they are exempt from the overtime pay requirement.

The federal minimum salary for exemption from overtime eligibility will increase from $23,660 to $35,568 per year for a full-time worker, or $684 per week.

As a result of these changes, Maine’s salary threshold for exemption from overtime eligibility will be higher than the federal level. Employers will be required to pay the higher (state) rate, in addition to meeting the “duties test” as defined in federal statute, in order to meet the overtime exemption threshold.

There are several requirements for exemption from overtime eligibility besides the salary threshold:

• The employee must be paid on a salary basis, regularly receiving a predetermined amount of compensation each pay period;

• The employee’s salary must exceed $36,000, as described above;

• The employee’s job duties must clearly fall within the executive, administrative or professional job categories as defined in federal statute. There are slightly different tests for the administrative, professional and executive exemptions.

Maine’s Bureau of Labor Standards is responsible for enforcing the state’s minimum wage and overtime statutes and ensuring that both workers and employers understand and comply with the law. Clarifying the requirements — especially for exemption from overtime eligibility — is important in order to avoid confusion among employers and workers alike, which can lead to violations.

Workers who feel their rights have been violated and employers who have questions or would like to know more about the department’s free trainings may call 623-7900, email mdol@maine.gov, or visit maine.gov/labor.