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Maine Equal Pay/Comparable Worth: What you need to know

The Maine Equal Pay Law prohibits employers from discriminating against employees in the same establishment on the basis of sex by paying wages to any employee in any occupation in the state at a rate less than the rate it pays any employee of the opposite sex for comparable work on jobs requiring comparable skill, effort, and responsibility (ME Rev. Stat. Tit. 26 Sec. 628). The law applies to public employers and all private employers regardless of size.
Under the Law, it is unlawful for an employer to:
• Reduce any employee's wage rate in order to comply with the Law.
• Require or permit any person, as a condition of obtaining or keeping a job, to work without monetary compensation or to agree to return part of their compensation to the employer.
• Discharge or discriminate against any employee for invoking or assisting in any manner in the enforcement of the Law.
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Right to discuss wages. Under the Law, employers may not prohibit an employee from disclosing information about his or her own wages or from inquiring about another employee's wages if the purpose is to enforce rights granted under the Law.
As long as the following systems or circumstances do not discriminate on the basis of gender, an employer may apply different rates of pay when based on:
• Established seniority systems (preference to workers based on years of service);
• Merit increase systems (established, bona fide, uniform, and objective systems that reward an employee with promotion, pay increases, or other advantages on the basis of competence); or
• Differences in the shift or time of the day worked (ME Admin. Rules 12-170-012).
An "Equal Pay Self-Audit Tool" for employers and an equal pay ...

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