Testimony: Minimum Wage Waivers for the Chronically Unemployed


Testimony in Support of LD 841: “An Act to Permit a Short-term Waiver from the Minimum Wage
for Chronically Unemployed Individuals”

Senator Tipping, Representative Roeder, and the distinguished members of the Committee on Labor and Housing, my name is Nick Murray and I serve as director of policy for Maine Policy Institute. We are a free market think tank, a nonpartisan, non-profit organization that advocates for individual liberty and economic freedom in Maine. Thank you for the opportunity to testify on LD 841.

We commend Rep. Walker for this creative idea to help workers who have been unable to land a job recently, because they may be under-skilled or under-qualified to be paid the state minimum wage. Minimum wage may indeed be too high for these workers to match their skills and experience at the time of hiring.

LD 841 provides many safeguards for the worker, not only to allow retention of public benefits upon taking work under this provision, but ensures that they will only be earning sub-minimum pay for as long as their most recent unemployed stint.

It is also important to remember that this provision would only concern those who truly cannot get a job at the current minimum wage. Eligible participants must have been without work for at least the last two years. 

LD 841 truly focuses on the workers in need of a leg up. Please deem it “Ought To Pass” and provide these workers a step stool to the wage ladder. Thank you for your time and consideration.