In Maine, a Minimum Wage Law With a Surprise Inside

In the process of raising their local minimum wage above the statewide minimum, the City Council of Portland, Maine, inadvertently gave tipped workers a huge boost.

A staff member at The Grill Room in Portland seats patrons on July 7.

Photographer: Carl D. Walsh/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

On July 6, the City Council of Portland, Maine, voted 6 to 3 to establish a local minimum wage of $10.10, a $2.60 increase over the statewide minimum. The next day, the mayor and several council members said they’d made a mistake. The law, which they thought would let restaurants and other businesses keep paying tipped employees $3.75 an hour, actually gave such workers a giant raise—to $6.35 an hour.

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