How the Raise the Wage Act Will Decrease Worker Poverty and Increase Small Business Success in the Maine Restaurant Industry
Although the state minimum wage is $12.15 in Maine, tipped workers in the state are still subject to a subminimum wage of $6.08 an hour. Tipped workers in Maine, who are disproportionately women and people of color, live in poverty and rely on food stamps at about twice the rate of all other workers in the state. 1 Raising the wage to $15 an hour by 2025 and phasing out the subminimum wage for tipped workers by 2026 would reduce Maine’s poverty rate by more than half and lift thousands of workers and their families out of poverty, while also allowing restaurant employers to build back better.
This report studies how restaurant workers in Maine would be impacted by the Raise the Wage Act. It also profiles small businesses who believe the act is essential to the restaurant industry’s recovery post-pandemic and provides data on how small business restaurants have been impacted by COVID-19, comparing Maine to states that have eliminated the subminimum wage for workers and examining the common argument from organizations such as the National Restaurant Association (NRA) that raising wages for workers leads to worse outcomes for small businesses.