Portland’s hazard pay wage won’t take effect until Jan. 1

July 6, 2021 GMT

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The Maine supreme court on Tuesday upheld a judge’s decision that an $18-per-hour emergency minimum wage increase in Portland does not go into effect until next year.

The court agreed with a Superior Court judge who validated the time-and-a-half hazard pay provision that was part of a minimum wage referendum approved by Portland voters in November. But the judge ruled that the change does not take effect until Jan. 1, 2022.

The Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce contended lifting the minimum wage from $12 to $18 during the pandemic would hurt businesses that are already struggling.

The provision for extra wages during a declared emergency like the pandemic was included in a minimum wage proposal that will increase that rate from $12 to $15 an hour by 2025.

It was approved by more than 60% of voters in a local referendum in November.