Senator Scott Cyrway Seeks to Establish Alternative Minimum Wage for Minors

Contact:
Krysta West
Communications Director
Senate Republican Office
(207) 287-1505
krysta.west@legislature.maine.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

AUGUSTA – State Senator Scott Cyrway (R-Kennebec) has sponsored LD 991, “An Act To Establish a Minimum Wage for Minors,” to prevent teenagers from being priced out of the market by mandatory minimum wage increases.

If enacted, LD 991 would establish a minimum hour wage for minors at 75 percent of the regular minimum wage.

“When I was growing up, I worked on the family farm and also had a paper route for the Sunday Telegram,” said Sen. Cyrway. “These jobs helped shape who I would eventually become by teaching me the meaning of hard work and responsibility. Although I ultimately didn’t end up on a farm, I gained skills and interests that led me to pursue a degree in Agriculture from the University of Maine.

“It’s my fear that under the new minimum wage law, that will result in a 60 percent increase over the next few years until it reaches $12.00 in 2020, teenagers will no longer have the opportunities that I had when I was their age.

“While the increase will undoubtedly give a number of low-skill workers a raise, it is also likely to price teenagers with no previous work experience or skills out of the market, as employers will be less likely to take a risk on training them. If an employer has a choice between a 16-year-old who has never held a job before at $12 or an adult with references and skills for $14 an hour, they will chose the adult every single time. Unless action is taken, this will force teenagers to compete with adults for low-skill jobs that have typically been filled by teenagers.

“As young people begin to work, build skills and references, it becomes easier to find a job. But, artificially high wages will make it even more challenging for teenagers to find work at a time in their lives when it’s so important to learn life skills that can only happen on the job. That’s why I’ve sponsored this legislation.

LD 991 has been referred to the Committee on Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development for consideration.

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